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Necrophobic behaviour of ants afflicted with oleic acid

What happens when you put oleic acid on all the ants in a colony?


Natasha Gonzalez, Arianna Santos


Stefan Valdez, Grace Avecilla, Ashley Pirovano

Project Period:




These experiments are to bring to light some of the necrophobic behaviors of ants when oleic acid is involved. There is not much research or specifics on ants and their reactions to oleic acid. Our question was: how would the ants react if oleic acid was applied to the entire colony? Our hypothesis was that all the ants would try to kill each other or dump each other in the ‘graveyard’. But to answer that research question we had to answer others first. This experiment is built on previous studies that had no specifications and only vague definitions. As a result, we needed to conduct a preliminary study to determine how much volume and concentration of oleic acid an ant can carry on its back. Then we conducted our main experiment and found there was no change in behavior when all ants were covered in oleic acid.

This page was originally developed by BioBus Summer 2021 Jr. Scientist William Rhee.

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