Songbirds apply ants to their feathers during anting behavior, possibly as a method of reducing feather parasites. We tested polar and nonpolar ant secretions and pure formic acid for bactericidal and fungicidal effects on microbial ectoparasites of feathers. Microbial inhibition trials were run with the bacteria Bacillus licheniformis (strains OWU 138B and OWU 1432B) and B. subtilis; and with the fungi Chaetomium globosum, Penicillium chrysogenum, and Trichoderma viride. Ant chemicals were derived from Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Pheidole dentata, Aphaenogaster rudis, Crematogaster lineolata, and Lasius flavus worker-caste ants. Although pure formic acid strongly inhibited all bacteria and fungal hyphae tested, concentrations of formic acid found in the bodies of formicine ants did not. Neither hexane ant-chemical extracts nor ant suspensions in deionized water inhibited the microbial species. Consequently, the hypothesis that birds apply ants to control feather parasites was not supported.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.