Insects are one of the most abundant animal groups on our planet. The number of insects on the planet is mind-boggling. For each human being on Earth, there are over 200 million insects. Of all the insect groups, one species that we are all familiar with are the ants. Some ant species are dangerous to humans. The amazing facts about ants can be inspiring and a great learning experience.
There are many species of ants found all over the world andhappen to be a fairly common sight almost everywhere. It is entirely possiblethat you might be having a few of them in your house right now.
As simple as these creatures may seem, the reality is thatants have one of the most complex societies on the planet. In addition to this,there is a lot more to them which we haven’t understood yet.
From what we know, given in the list below are ten amazingfacts about ants.
10. All Ants Live in a Societal-Organization
Ants are quite interesting and hardworking. Ants live incolonies or societies just like us.
A single queen ant, several worker ants, and some maledrones make up the ant colony. They all have different roles to play. The mainresponsibility of the queen ant is to lay as many eggs as possible for thecolony. The work of male drones is to fertilize the queen. The worker ants arethe powerhouse of the colony who keep the colony up and running. The workersacquire resources, fight against predators and so on.
9. Leafcutter Ants are known to Farm Fungi
Leafcutter ants, found in the tropical rainforests of central and South America, are one of the most unique of all ant species. There are over 45 species of leafcutter ants in the world.
They get their name because of their activity, which iscutting leaves. The workers spend all day in the forests, cutting the leaves oftrees, which they then take back to their colony.
The leaves are used as food to cultivate fungi, which peopleconsume as food. These ants are able to lift 20 times their body weight and cancut through human skins. After human beings, they are the most complex animalsocieties on the planet.
8. The Ants That You See Working are Females
As already mentioned in the previous fact, the working antsyou often see are female ants. The queen lays several eggs. Most of these eggsturn into female ants. But these are not really fertile females that can layeggs. On the contrary, they are the ones that continuously work the entire dayfor the queen, for the benefit of the hive.
The working female ants also feed the baby ants or thelarvae. They also help in keeping the colony clean from trashes. This patternof working female ants is seen in other insects such as wasps and bees.
7. Honeypot Ants are Edible and Taste Very Sweet
Honeypot ant is a type of ant species which has a sweet taste, just like honey.
The exact source of the sweetness is a sweet sugar-basedsecretion that some of them produce in their abdomen. Some of the workers arefed a great deal of food by the other ants, which then digest the food toproduce a sugary substance, which is stored in their abdomen.
With the passage of time, their abdomens swell with thissubstance and serve as a source of food for the rest of the colony.
They are often eaten by members of indigenous tribes, whoseek it for their sweet taste.
6. Ants Leave a Trail of Chemicals for Other Ants to Follow
If you have ever seen how ants move, it is always in afairly straightforward manner.
There is a reason for it. Rather than the ants following oneanother based on what they see, they do so with the help of smell. The averageant goes about moving from one place to another, based on a scent (pheromones)trail left behind by the abdomens of other ants. This is the reason we see antsmoving in a queue following each other.
According to a new study, the chemical pheromones producedby ants are from the microbiome in their abdomen. This discovery is from thebiologists of the University of São Paulo in Brazil. The biologistsfound that Serratia marcescens (a type of bacteria) living in theabdomen of leafcutter ants are responsible for the pheromones.
5. Ants Communicate With Each Other by Rubbing Their Antennae
Antennae of ants act as information receptors as well as atransmitter using which they communicate. It acts as two-way communication. Thisis one of the ways ants communicate with each. They rub their antennae againsteach other to transfer information.
By rubbing their antennae with each other, information suchas the location of food, resources, and predators are passed on. Ants also usethe antennae to feel, touch and smell.
This is why you often see ants touching each other’s headwhen they move about. You also get to see them touching their food beforelifting.
4. Ants Have the Ability to Lift Many Times Their Own Weight
Ants may seem like they are weak, but that isn’t true. Theyhave superhero capabilities.
On the contrary, they have a great deal of strength. Infact, an ant has the ability to lift objects many times their own strength. Theexact figure may range from 20 to 200 times, depending on the species. Someants such as the American field ants are extremely capable enough to withstandpressures of over 5,000 times than their body weight.
They are astounding weight lifters and inspiration for humansto develop mechanical systems to mimic the ants’ weight lifting power. It canbe studied to develop future robots and space machines to lift weights on Earthand space respectively.
3. Ants Are Void of Lungs and Ears
Due to the tiny size of ants, a complex respiratory systemcan’t fit inside their body. But, they have a different respiratory mechanismwhich is used to draw and circulate oxygen to their body. Ants have extremelytiny holes all over their body which lets them draw oxygen, circulate to otherparts of the body and release carbon dioxide. Ants have something called asspiracles on the sides of their body. These spiracles are interconnected viatubes which takes oxygen to other parts of the body.
Similarly, ants don’t have ears to listen like humans. Thisdoesn’t mean ants can’t hear any sound. They have a special organ below theirknees to receive vibrations which in-turn helps them listen. In short, ants pickvibrations from the surrounding to listen.
2. Ant Are Found Almost Everywhere on Earth Except Few
Ants are one of the most populated insects on our planet. But, there are some exceptions on Earth where ants do not exist. Except for Antarctica, ants are found on all the continents on Earth. Native ants do not exist in Greenland, certain parts of Polynesia, Iceland, and the Hawaiian Islands.
With the free movement of humans throughout the world,invasive species of ants have colonized certain parts of the world where theydidn’t exist before.
Ranging from small to large, this is one variety of insectthat has successfully colonized almost every single part of the planet.
1. Ants Are One of the Longest Living Insects on the Planet
As small as they may be, ants are also one of the mostlong-lived of all insects.
While the lifespan of individual species may vary, the factis that the ants, in general, can live for a very long time.
The black garden ant, for example, is known to stay alive for as long as 15 years. At the same time, however, there are few ant species that aren’t as long-lived as the black garden ants. For example, the pharaoh ant is one such ant species which is a short-lived species. Its exact lifespan may be as short as a few months and nothing more.
But the fact is that in comparison to other varieties ofinsects, the ants, in general, happen to be one of the most long-lived.
In all, the ant may seem like a small and insignificantcreature, but it happens to be one of the most wonderful of nature’s creation.
By reading the points mentioned above, as well as otherslike it, know that there is much to be understood and learned about the littlerant.
From lifestyle to diet and habitat to society, the ants arehumble and are one kind of insects that is second to none.