Which molecules do ants detect for sweet stuff?

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I find it strange the ants are attracted to general sweet stuff that contain sugar, but they don't touch anything with artificial sweeteners like saccharine and aspartame.

Any particular molecules the ants can detect?




  1. The ants have taste receptors for sucrose (the chemical that makes up table sugar), but not for the artificial sweeteners.  They don't respond to the artificial sweeteners simply because they cannot taste them, not because they "know" it is less healthy for them or because of intelligence.  We taste sugar as sweet, because sucrose molecules bind to specific sites on our tongue that then send a signal to the brain saying "that's sweet".  Artificial sweeteners work for us (and I would guess for other mammals) because they can bind to the same sites on our tongues.  Ants taste sugar similarly to us with their mouths

    and sometimes antennae, but the chemicals in artificial sweeteners do not bind to their tasting organs.

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