How an organism interacts can cover a variety of different subtopics, such as: the organism’s symbiotic relationship, if it provides food (directly or indirectly) for other organisms, how the organism obtains its own food, where it is placed on the food web, if it serves as a host to other organisms, and if it can be used by humans or if it has effects on humans.  The interactions of different organisms can play a huge role on the environment.  These alone can decide whether a species can survive in the shared environment.  Inversely, they can decide whether that organism survives, as well.


As I mentioned in the Adaptations page, Cataglyphis bombycina has a very unique and intelligent way to retrieve food for the nest.  The colony sends out scout ants to check the area to make sure that it is clear of predators and to monitor the temperature.  Once these scouts decide that the area is safe, they secrete multiple pheromones such as citronellol, citral, and a few others.  These pheromones that are secreted by the ant’s mandibular glands indicate to the rest of the nest that it is all safe.  Suddenly, ants start to bolt out of the nest in an explosive manner knowing that they have limited time due to the life-threatening effects from the midday sun (Wehner and Wehner 2011).  Since C. bombycina comes out to find food during the middle of the day when it is the hottest and all the other animals are protected by their shelter (Holden 1995; Myers 2013), it is considered to be a scavenger.  As scavengers, these ants feed on the corpses of other insects that have fallen to the powerful sun (Holden 1995).  However, just because the ants hunt when there is no other animals around does not mean that they do not have a predator.

Symbiotic Relationship

As aforementioned, C. bombycina is a scavenger that only makes an appearance above ground when all the other animals have taken shelter.  This behavior hinders these ants from making relationships with other organisms.  It may even prevent it from becoming a host for other organisms.  Other than the sun, the main threat to the survival of these ants is Acanthodactylus dumerili, otherwise known as the Fringe-toed Lizard.  This desert lizard is known to frequently burrow and take shelter very close to the nests of C. bombycina (Marsh, Wehner, and Wehner 1992).  Since this ant eats other heterotrophs and falls prey to other animals, we can conclude that C. bombycina is either a secondary or tertiary consumer in the food web.  This depends on what the insects, which these ants feed on, consume.


Considering that C. bombycina lives in the Sahara Desert and very few humans choose to live there, if any at all, it is rare that we come into contact with this species.  This being the case, there is little information on whether this organism has any effect on humans or if it provides any uses that we may benefit from.  However, the heat shock proteins and the use of them by C. bombycina may provide a way for us to learn more about genes and how they regulate the body’s “thermometer” (Holden 1995).

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