What is special about ants?
Ants are social insects of the family Formicate and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified.
They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist. An ant’s brain is about 0.01% of its body weight. The average lifespan for an ant worker ranges from 3 months to a year, but some queens live up to 15 years. Ants can remember the scent of other ants from their colony and will follow it to find food or water. Ants have a brain about 0.01% of their body weight and contain more than 250,000 neurons.
Some important Characteristics of Ants
- Ants are social insects that live in colonies.
- Unlike termites, ants do not eat wood.
- Termites have a caste system with three different types of workers.
- The queen ant is the only female in the territory, and she lays eggs continuously throughout her life span.
- They feed on nectar, honeydew, insects, and other arthropods that they capture.
- Worker ants do all of the work in a colony, including caring for larvae and building tunnels.
- Soldiers protect the territory from intruders by using their long mandibles to bite or spray formic acid at enemies.
- They have a large head adorned with articulated antennae.
- Ants differ from termites by their appearance.
- They live in organized communities underground.
- Different species of ants live in different habitats.
- The smallest size of an ant is the size of a pinhead.
Common ant species
There are over 12,000 species of ants in the world. They can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and they live almost everywhere humans do. Ants have been around for over 100 million years! That’s a long time to figure out what works best in their environment. And that means we can learn a lot from them about how to make our homes more efficient and sustainable too.
Do you know how ants communicate?
Ants use chemical signals called pheromones to communicate with each other, which is how they find their way back home after being lost and alert fellow ants to danger such as enemy attacks or predators nearby. They also have a wide range of smells that help them identify friends from foe and mark trails for others to follow. When an ant finds food, it will leave a trail of chemicals, so the rest of the colony knows where to go. If another ant comes across this trail, it will follow it until it reaches the food source, then lay down its trail so that more ants can find the food too.
Do you know how ants hear the voice?
Ants have a unique way of hearing. They can sense vibrations from the ground and air, allowing them to feel sound waves in their environment. The antennae are used for balance and touch, but they also help ants sense vibrations in their surroundings. Scientists have found that ants use their antennae as a radar system to detect movement within their vicinity.
The caste system of Ants:
Ants have a caste system where each caste has a specific role in the colony. The caste system among ants is determined by the type of work an ant performs. There are three main types of castes: queens, workers, and soldiers.
What is Queen Ant?
The queen ant is the most significant and most crucial caste in an ant colony. She lays eggs that become new ants. She can live for up to 30 years or more, during which she may apply millions of eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae which grow up to be worker ants or soldier ants, depending on what they eat as larvae.
What is Soldiers Ant?
Soldier ants are a type of ant known for their aggressive behavior. They got their name because of their habit of marching in a straight line, like soldiers. The main job that soldier’s ants perform is to protect the colony from intruders. Soldier ants have a stinger that is connected to a venom gland. They use their stingers to kill other insects and small animals. When they attack larger prey, they will clamp down on it with their powerful jaws and sting it repeatedly.
What Workers ants?
Workers are responsible for foraging for food, taking care of the young, and maintaining the nest. Soldiers defend the colony from enemies. Workers do all the work around the colony and makeup 95% of an ant’s population.