The mandible mechanism of the ant genus Anochetus (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) and the possible evolution of trap-jaws

Wulfila Gronenberg, Birgit Ehmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ants of the genus Anochetus are able to close their mandibles extremely rapidly when specialized trigger hairs contact a prey object. This so-called trap-jaw strike takes less than 2.5 ms and the entire reflex can be performed within 5 ms. The trap-jaw design is based on a catapult mechanism composed of a large slow closer and a small fast trigger muscle. The reflex is controlled by giant sensory and motor neurons and is very similar to that described for the ant Odontomachus. We discuss the similarities and differences between the two genera and propose a sequence of steps that may have led to the evolution of trap-jaws.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalZoology
Volume99
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Fast muscle fibers
  • Morphology
  • Sensory-motor reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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