Antimicrobial medicine: An ant species treats nestmates with infected wounds via a substance produced in glands in their backs

Matable ants (Megaponera Analyst) in sub-Saharan Africa to apply an antimicrobial to littermates whose limbs were lost while raiding termite nests

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May 12, 2022

An ant applying medical treatment to another ant with an injured leg

An ant applying medical treatment to another ant with an injured leg

Erik Frank/University of Würzburg

An African ant is the only known species, besides humans, that seems to diagnose and treat infected wounds with antimicrobial drugs.

Matable ants (Megaponera Analyst) are relatively large insects found in sub-Saharan Africa that raid termite nests for food. This is risky because termite nests are defended by soldiers who can bite the ants and tear off their limbs in up to a fifth of the time.

Erik Frank of the University of Würzburg in Germany was previously …

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