In the treetops of Borneo lives a rare ant species called Colobopsis explodens. They don’t have big jaws and can’t sting. But they can go boom.

When these ants are under attack, they raise up their butts as a warning. But if that doesn’t work, things get gnarly. They bite down on their enemy, angle their butts close, and flex so hard that their abdomens burst open.

This explosion unleashes a toxic, sticky, yellow secretion that smells like curry. Their bodies are made up of glandular sacs filled with this fluid that entangles and eventually poisons their enemy.

This explosive act of self-sacrifice protects the rest of the colony of thousands. Researchers have recently determined that there are at least 15 species of these explosive insects.


So let’s just hope one doesn’t show up at your next picnic.

Artwork by Ivan Ehlers

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