Functional morphology and efficiency of the antenna cleaner in Camponotus rufifemurants
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Contamination of body surfaces can negatively affect many physiological functions. Insects have evolved different adaptations for removing contamination, including surfaces that allow passive self-cleaning and structures for active cleaning. Here, we study the function of the antenna cleaner in Camponotus rufifemurants, a clamp-like structure consisting of a notch on the basitarsus facing a spur on the tibia, both bearing cuticular ‘combs’ and ‘brushes’. The ants clamp one antenna tightly between notch and spur, pull it through, and subsequently clean the antenna cleaner itself with the mouthparts.
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