Bug Blog

Insect Corruption

Insect Corruption – Teeny Tiny Panama Papers

The recent leek of the Panama Papers served to remind humans all over the world that corruption does exist, and there are plenty of cheaters out there trying to get ahead without actually working for it. Well, the insect community has its own cheaters; corrupt ants and bees that don’t follow the rules, and cause other insects to suffer because of it.

Ants seem to be the very model of a cooperative society, with every ant working together at their specific duty for the greater good of the colony. However, a study in 2008 on leaf-cutter ants revealed some very uncooperative behavior going on inside the seemingly harmonious colony. Previously researchers believed that all ant larvae are born containing the same chance of possibly developing into a queen ant if fed the proper diet. Instead, the researchers found that after studying the DNA of all the ants, there appeared to be certain male ants, whose offspring had a greater chance of developing into a queen. They had a developed a “royal” gene that gave their offspring an advantage and, as the gene is very rare, cheated most of the other ants out of their chance to be queen.

Did you know that cheaters existed outside the human race? What do you think of that?