This Ant Stinks

8:09 minutes

odorous ant
An odorous house ant (“Tapinoma sessile”) queen with a worker. Photo by Adrian Smith

Entomologist Clint Penick had an ant-related axe to grind. He had long heard that the “odorous house ant” (Tapinoma sessile) reeked of rotten coconut. However, when he caught scent of this puny household pest, he detected a different stench: blue cheese. With the help of fellow entomologist and post-doctoral researcher Adrian Smith, he set out to prove the actual smell of this ant’s putrid perfume. The results of their research were published in the American Entomologist this week.

Segment Guests

Clint Penick

Clint Penick is a post-doctoral fellow at the department of biological sciences at NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith is a post-doctoral researcher of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and host of the Age of Discovery podcast in Urbana, Illinois.

Meet the Producer

About Becky Fogel

Becky Fogel is a newscast host and producer at Texas Standard, a daily news show broadcast by KUT in Austin, Texas. She was formerly Science Friday’s production assistant.

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