Questions & Answers

Which of the following acids is present in the sting of an ant?
(A) Oxalic acid
(B) Succinic acid
(C) Tartaric acid
(D) Formic acid

Answer Verified Verified
Hint: To answer this question you should know the answer for this question is also the simplest carboxylic acid. Now you might have an idea about the answer.

Complete step by step answer:
> The acid produced by ants is called formic acid. The name comes from the Latin word for ant, which is “formica”. Chemically, it is a simple carboxylic acid.
The most common species of black ant delivers a small amount of formic acid through its jaws as it bites. Formic acid is also found in stinging nettles and the bites and stings of other insects.
> The formic acid present in an ant sting is also known as methanoic acid. The chemical formula of formic acid is HCOOH.
Therefore, the correct answer is option D.
Let’s know sources of other acids given in the options -
- Oxalic acid - Oxalic acid is an organic compound found in many plants. These include leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, cocoa, nuts and seeds
- Succinic Acid - Succinic acid (butanedioic acid) is a dicarboxylic acid that occurs naturally in plant and animal tissues. The chemical is also known as “Spirit of Amber.”
- Tartaric acid - Tartaric acid naturally occurs in plants like grapes, apricots, apples, bananas, avocados and tamarinds. It is added in foods giving a sour taste and serving as an antioxidant.

Note: To get relief from formic acid that is injected by an ant, one should apply any available basic salt, e.g., baking soda ($NaHCO_{ 3 }$) or soap on it. As baking soda is alkaline in nature, it neutralises it and forms salt.