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Australia Science

Spider Spins Ant-Repellent Silk 42

bazzalunatic writes "The common golden orb web spider wards off ants from attacking it on its web by spinning an ant repellent (pyrrolidine alkaloid) into its silk. It could be used to develop a new insect repellent for humans. 'This study is among the first to show animals incorporating a chemical defence as a response to the threat of predation,' says Professor Mark Elgar of the University of Melbourne."
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Spider Spins Ant-Repellent Silk

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  • First animal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:31AM (#38173632)

    Apparently the researcher has never heard of stink bugs, or skunks. As far as I can tell, they also have "a chemical defence as a response to the threat of predation."

    Perhaps the researcher meant to refer specifically to spiders, or that the ant-repellant was the first example of chemical use to PREVENT predation, not respond to an individual threat.

  • Re:First animal? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:19AM (#38173930)
    Perhaps he's meaning this is one of the few cases of pro-active protection. Skunks, stink bugs, squids etc... use chemicals to defend themselves as a fire off at the last second defense, rather then a lace your home with it type of protection.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"