Ants are Fascinating Creatures!
Have you ever taken the time to watch a colony of ants during the day? They are constantly on the go and approach their work very seriously. They are methodical and highly organized.
Many people are only interested in eradicating ants from their property, but ants are actually interesting creatures which can be both fun and educational to watch.
Read on to learn more about these fascinating insects. You might never look at ants in the same way again!
What about you?
Have you ever watched ants?
Facts About Ants
- Ants can be found all over the world (with the exception on Antartica). There are over 12,000 known species of ants.
- Ants are very social and live in colonies. A single ant colony can have over one million ants in it!
- They may be small, but ants are very strong and can lift up to twenty times their own body weight.
- These insects have large heads, a distincitve narrow waist, and elbowed antennae.
- Of all of the insects, ants have one of the longest life spans. Some queen ants can live from seven to fifteen years but they have been known to live up to 30 years! However, the average life span of a worker ant is 45 - 60 days.
- Once a queen dies, the colony will usually die out within a few months as the queens aren't replaced.
- Scientists have determined that ants were around during the mid-Cretaceous period, meaning ants were alive when dinosaurs walked the earth.
- When an ant discoveres a food source, it will leave a scented trail of pheromones for the other ants to follow to the food source.
- It is believed that ants are the smartest of all the insects. Of all creatures, the ants brain is the largest in proportion to their body.
- Ants sometimes battle with other ants. They will fight to the death.
- Ants don't sleep.
- Many people assume that all ants are either black or red, but there are some species which are green, brown, yellow, blue, or purple!
- Ants have six legs.
-The eyes of then ant are compound eyes, meaning they have many small lenses attached together.
-The queen ant has wings which she sheds after her nuptial flight. The nuptial flight occurs when a young, virgin queen takes flight along with a few male ants. They mate during flight and the fertilized queen lands and begins a new colony.
- The queen is much larger than the male she breeds with.
- During the life of a colony, it can send out literally millions of virgin queen ants. Most will not be successful in starting a new colony as they will be killed by predators or will fail at raising their first brood.
-- The worker ants are wingless females. These ants, the ones which are usually seen, forage for food, work on the nest, protect the nest, and care for the young.
- The only job of the male ant is to mate with the queen. After he has served his purpose, he ususally dies.
- Ants can be good for the environment. The add nutrients back into the soil and aerate the soil when they dig their homes.
- The ants use their antennae for both feeling and smelling.
Did you know.....
- Ants belong to the family Formicidae and the order Hymenoptera.
- They rely on a wide range of food resources. They can be predatory, scavengers, and some are herbivores.
- Ants make their homes underground, in mounds above ground, and some make their homes in trees.
- Army ants do not have permanent homes.
- These creatures have two stomachs. One stomach holds food for themselves while the other stomach holds food for other ants.
- Some ants raise other insects for food. Ants and humans are the only species which raise other creatures for this purpose.
- Some ants also cultivate fungi.
- Some ants can swim, and some can survive underwater for up to 24 hours.
- The largest ant ever discovered was the fossilized speciman of the now extinct Titanomyrma giganteum. This specimen was approximately 2.4 inches long with a wingspan of six inches!
- Ants sometimes capture ants of another species and make them work as slaves.
- Because a colony of ants will work together as one unit, they are referred to as a "superorganism".
- A scientist who studies ants is called a myrmecologist.