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  • Strategy

Squeezing larvae provides glue: weaver ants


Weaver ant nest held by larval silk / Ryan Brookes / LicenseCC-by-nc-nd - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

Weaver ants glue their nests together using silk squeezed from their larvae.

"Another insect tool user is the weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina), which makes nests by rolling up leaves and then gluing the sides together with silk. Although it is the adult ants that do this, only the larvae produce silk, so how is the process of leaf gluing achieved? In fact, the adults carry larvae in their jaws and squeeze them gently so that the larvae secrete a drop of silk on one end of the leaf edges. The ants then carry the larvae along the entire length of the leaf edges, squeezing as they go, using the larvae like living bottles of glue, until the edges of the leaves are stuck together from end to end." (Shuker 2001:191)

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About the inspiring organism
Oecophylla smaragdina
Oecophylla smaragdina (Fabricius, 1775)
Common name: weaver ant

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Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

IUCN Red List Status: Unknown

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Biological adhesives for use in building materials, manufacturing, coatings, and paints.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Building, manufacturing, painting

Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p.
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Sutherland TD; Weisman S; Trueman HE; Sriskantha A; Trueman JWH; Haritos VS. 2007. Conservation of essential design features in coiled coil silks. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 24(11): 2424-2432.
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