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Re: Interesting crow behavior!/Dino Anting?

Ants, as well as bees and wasps, have formic acid in their stinging apparatus,
in addition to other toxins. (Formica = ant in Greek). The birds could simply
letting the ants sting or could be crushing the ants to place the formic acid
on specific
locations on their bodies. It is unlikely that they are ingesting the formic
acid and
exuding it through their skins, since it is very reactive.
Tom Holtz has already replied about other species and suggested Caudipteryx
anting as a topic for paleoartists. Ants did exist in the Cretaceous (NJ amber)

as did other formic acid-bearing species. However, those ants were very
and probably did not have the level of development of the social structure that

we associate with modern ants. I do not know what the earliest ant nest fossil
(Anyone?) I have a copy of Wilson's big book but don't have time now to refer
it. I'll send later with more information if it looks interesting.
Dr. Leonard might want to put an anting episode in his novel.
-Gus Derkits

John Bois wrote:

> On Tue, 15 Jun 1999 gejd@concentric.net wrote:
> > It may not be primarily insectivory. This type of behavior is used to get
> > the formic acid that the ants emit as a delousing agent.
> > -Gus Derkits
> This is amazing.  Do you mean they eat the ants and exude the formic acid
> somehow from their skin?  Or do they rub their feathers with the ant's
> exudate?