Do queens in their founding stage need oxygen?

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IndoAnts
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:05 am
Location: Indonesia

Do queens in their founding stage need oxygen?

Post: # 39847Post IndoAnts
Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:54 pm

Hi! I just wanted to know if a queen ant could survive a place without oxygen while undergoing the founding process.Well specifically a lasius niger queen in a test tube setup with the most minimal oxygen for 24 hours(and with a few eggs).
Appreciate any help I could get(and sorry for my bad English)

JackieB
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:20 pm
Location: Aurora, Colorado

Re: Do queens in their founding stage need oxygen?

Post: # 39927Post JackieB
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:28 pm

Long story short, yes. But because I love biology I excluded way too much info below. You can skip it but it may be cool.

They are using oxygen for sure, however (and I say all of this as a seasoned biologist but novice antkeeper) there are a few things to consider:

1) All eukaryotes use oxygen. In our cells, as well as ants', there are tiny structures called mitochondria. This is the powerhouse for the organism's energy needs. The currency of energy for living creatures is a molecule called ATP. While ATP can be made in a few ways, the most per sugar molecule is made in mitochondria with oxygen. Through a pretty awesome process called The Electron Transport Chain, mitochondria pump out ATP. However, this process requires oxygen to complete. It gets turned into water by excepting a hydrogen molecule. If you stop producing ATP, your dead. In fact, fun side fact, that is why dead bodies get stiff for a time.
But how much ATP (and thus oxygen) needed depends on...
2) Activity level. When you run or even think a lot you burn more energy (20% minimum, of the energy we produce goes to our massive human brains). Queen ants are mainly the ovary of their superorganism, so they do have that activity, but she isn't forging or digging. One reason we breath faster and harder when we are active is we are trying to pull in more oxygen and blow off more carbon dioxide because we are using more ATP. So, while colony founding, the queen is active but not super active.

3) Some oxygen is defusing through a cotton ball.

4) Insects breathe through a process know as diffusion through a series of openings in their sides. Unlike humans, ants dont have lungs. The percentage of oxygen in the air dictates a lot about how large a bug can get because the oxygen flows through these little openings all along her side and is delivered to her tissues. She doesn't have a circulatory system the way we do. But luckily she is super tiny. Plus insects will pump their gasters to force more air in to their bodies if need be (or in some cases to make noises, ants actually make a bunch of sounds that we can't hear).

There is a good amount of oxygen in the test tube for her. She'll be fine. Once the colony makes tunnels, they instinctively build a ventilation system. They will take advantage of hot air rising and cold air sinking and make sure they have fresh air going in and out. Bees beat their wings to cool off their hives and also to move air through, ants have to make vents but their good at it. How much carbon dioxide they tolerate is also different than us. Even some mammals can tolerate low oxygen/high CO2 environments. Naked mole rats were able to survive in a low oxygen environment that had killed mice in a matter of minutes. Naked mole rats also live in underground tunnels eusocially like ants. So, it is safe to assume that the evolutionary advantage of not needing to much oxygen is good for that life style.

That was a super long answer, sorry.

IndoAnts
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:05 am
Location: Indonesia

Re: Do queens in their founding stage need oxygen?

Post: # 49037Post IndoAnts
Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:05 am

Wow, thanks a lot for that super long answer!

Boomdale
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:49 am
Location: Tennessee

Re: Do queens in their founding stage need oxygen?

Post: # 49110Post Boomdale
Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:34 am

Thanks for the information JackieB! I honestly had no idea ants did not have lungs, I just assumed they did lol.
Nylanderia Sp.
Pheidole Sp.

Founding - Cremagastor & Solonopsis Invicta

Puncarlol
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:35 pm
Location: Bogota
Contact:

Re: Do queens in their founding stage need oxygen?

Post: # 50207Post Puncarlol
Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:28 pm

JackieB wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:28 pm
Long story short, yes. But because I love biology I excluded way too much info below. You can skip it but it may be cool.

They are using oxygen for sure, however (and I say all of this as a seasoned biologist but novice antkeeper) there are a few things to consider:

1) All eukaryotes use oxygen. In our cells, as well as ants', there are tiny structures called mitochondria. This is the powerhouse for the organism's energy needs. The currency of energy for living creatures is a molecule called ATP. While ATP can be made in a few ways, the most per sugar molecule is made in mitochondria with oxygen. Through a pretty awesome process called The Electron Transport Chain, mitochondria pump out ATP. However, this process requires oxygen to complete. It gets turned into water by excepting a hydrogen molecule. If you stop producing ATP, your dead. In fact, fun side fact, that is why dead bodies get stiff for a time.
But how much ATP (and thus oxygen) needed depends on...
2) Activity level. When you run or even think a lot you burn more energy (20% minimum, of the energy we produce goes to our massive human brains). Queen ants are mainly the ovary of their superorganism, so they do have that activity, but she isn't forging or digging. One reason we breath faster and harder when we are active is we are trying to pull in more oxygen and blow off more carbon dioxide because we are using more ATP. So, while colony founding, the queen is active but not super active.

3) Some oxygen is defusing through a cotton ball.

4) Insects breathe through a process know as diffusion through a series of openings in their sides. Unlike humans, ants dont have lungs. The percentage of oxygen in the air dictates a lot about how large a bug can get because the oxygen flows through these little openings all along her side and is delivered to her tissues. She doesn't have a circulatory system the way we do. But luckily she is super tiny. Plus insects will pump their gasters to force more air in to their bodies if need be (or in some cases to make noises, ants actually make a bunch of sounds that we can't hear).

There is a good amount of oxygen in the test tube for her. She'll be fine. Once the colony makes tunnels, they instinctively build a ventilation system. They will take advantage of hot air rising and cold air sinking and make sure they have fresh air going in and out. Bees beat their wings to cool off their hives and also to move air through, ants have to make vents but their good at it. How much carbon dioxide they tolerate is also different than us. Even some mammals can tolerate low oxygen/high CO2 environments. Naked mole rats were able to survive in a low oxygen environment that had killed mice in a matter of minutes. Naked mole rats also live in underground tunnels eusocially like ants. So, it is safe to assume that the evolutionary advantage of not needing to much oxygen is good for that life style.

That was a super long answer, sorry.
Nicelt explained! I love learning a little about ants everyday. Much appreciated info.
Crematogaster Ampla x2
Ectatomma Ruidom
Pheidole Reclusi
Dorymyrmex Insanus
Odontomachus Erythrocephalus

All in founding stage ;)

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