Article Correctness Is Author's Responsibility: Melting properties determine biological functions of cuticular hydrocarbon layer of ants

(Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz) The bodies of ants are covered with wax-like substances known as cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) that serve communication as well as protection against desiccation. While recognition of other ants requires the CHC layer to be not too solid, desiccation protection requires it to be as solid as possible. To resolve this conflict between the needs of communication and waterproofing, this layer is composed of CHCs with special physical properties, as biologists have now discovered.