Why Do Ants Have a Smell?
ants have a sophisticated smelling system, and they are capable of detecting most types of substances. This ability is important to their survival.
ants use scent to communicate with other ants, send alarm signals, and identify members of their colony. Some ants even use pheromones to leave scent trails to food sources. These signals can tell a colony if it’s safe to scavenge for food or if a predator is nearby.
When a colony member dies, the ant produces an odor that signals to other ants in the colony that it’s time to go after the dead body. This is called the necromone. The queen of the colony releases the smell in the hopes that other colony members will follow her lead.
The ant’s olfactory system includes three classes of receptors. They include odorant receptors, gustatory receptors, and ionotropic glutamate receptors. These receptors help the ant to pick up the odor of food, and recognize caste members.
The ant’s ability to smell is primarily centered in the antennae. The antennae are covered with special cells called sensilla. The cells produce odor-binding proteins that enter the nervous system through a pore in the sensilla.
Ants are also very good at detecting nonvolatile chemicals. These chemicals do not easily evaporate, and are likely evolved for ants that live in close quarters.
The ant’s ability to sense an odor is a good reason for them to forage for food, which is a key factor in their survival.