Ants are insects that live in nest communities. The habitat of this species is in mounds created at the ground level, underground, in plants or trees, or in wood structures. Plant matter and soil are usually used to create their homes. They usually carry twigs and leaves back to their nest.
Ants belong to the family of Formicidae, along with other types of related bees and wasps. Ants are those species that evolved from their ancestors, known as a vespoid wasp, in the specific period called the Cretaceous period.
There are a lot of 22000 ant species in the world. Ants can be easily identified with their geniculate antennae and the unique node-like structure that develops their slender waists.
The colonies of ants are known as superorganisms, as the ants generally work as a unified entity and work collectively to support their colony. So, today we will learn some amazing facts about this amazing creature known as ants.
Facts About Ants
They Live In Colonies Or Groups:
Ants are insects, meaning they live in large colonies or groups. In colder regions, ants usually become inactive during the winter months.
In contrast, these insects remain active in warmer climates and temperatures. Some ants can even swim, and some can build underwater colonies as well.
They Have Existed For Millions Of Years:
Some species of ants have existed for about 100 million years. Ants survived a serious mass extinction event called Cretaceous-Tertiary.
This mass extinction event wiped out many dinosaurs and even several other prehistoric animal species around 65 million years ago. Thus, you can say that ants are the oldest insect species in the world.
They Are Not Dummies:
One tiny can have about 250,000 brain cells, and hence, a colony of 40000 ants collectively has a similar number of the brain of brain cells as a human being.
They Are Almost All Over the World:
Ants are insects, and there are more than 12000 species of ants on the planet. Also, Ants can be found literally everywhere.
Unless you live in Antarctica, Artic, or the few inhospitable islands on the planet, you will likely have a minimum of one ant species to deal with. Hawaiians must handle at least 50 known ant species.
They Have Two Stomachs:
Ants have six legs and can run almost 300 meters per hour. Moreover, ants usually have two stomachs. One is used to store food they eat themselves, and the other is to store food they can share with other ants.
The total weight of all ants on the planet is almost the same as that of all human beings in the world. However, ants can lift up to 50 times their own body weight.
There Are Three Classes Of Ants:
Ants live in colonies. There they have a queen who lays eggs, male ants who mate with the queen, and female worker ants who perform all the tasks of the colony.
Some ants even care and farm for insects, such as aphids, for their sweet honeydew excretions. Moreover, the queen ant can live for almost 30 years, whereas the average lifespan of a worker ant is just one year.
They Have Strong Jaws:
The leafcutter ant can carry leaves that are almost 50 times their own weight. Some ants can even use their powerful jaws as strong weapons.
The muscles of the ants are thicker relative to the remaining of their body mass, and hence, they can carry a huge amount of weight, despite being such small in size.
They Are Extremely Organized:
Ants can recognize their nestmates and can even attack ants from different colonies. However, these insects are extremely organized and work together to find food and build nests.
They Travel in Groups:
The ant species, known as army ants, is one of the most feared ants on the planet. As these ants travel in large groups or swarms, they can strip an area of all its living creatures in just a few hours.
Moreover, the Argentine ant is one of the world’s most invasive species of ants and has taken over various areas where it has been introduced.
They Have Symbiotic Relationships with Plants:
Some ants have even developed a symbiotic relationship with some specific plants, where they can protect the plant from predators, and in return, that plant will offer them shelter and food as per their needs.
They Can Create Bridges and Rafts:
Ants can make rafts and bridges by holding onto each other’s bodies. Also, they can carry their wounded back to their nests for treatment if necessary.
They Can Camouflage:
Some ants can camouflage themselves, which can help them blend in with their surroundings. Some can even have the ability to fly, like the fire ant and also the carpenter ant.
They Have Developed A Nervous System:
Ants have a remarkably developed nervous system, and some scientists even believe that they are capable of basic forms of memory and learning.
Moreover, the driver ant is one of the largest ants on the planet, and it can grow almost 2.5 centimeters in length.
They Have A Strong Sense Of Smell:
Ants have a highly developed sense of smell and can detect chemical cues from other species of ants from several meters of distance.
Some ants even have the ability to sting, like the bullet ant, which has one of the most painful stings on the planet. This bullet ant is the biggest ant in the world, as these can grow almost 1.6 inches, and these are found in the Panama jungle.
They Are Vital For The Ecosystem:
Ants can use rudimentary tools like sand to create holes in their nests. In addition, ants are very important to the ecosystem as they assist in controlling the population of other insects and can help distribute seeds.
They Have Special Abilities:
Some ants have developed the ability to spray formic acid as one of their defense mechanisms. In contrast, some ant species have developed the ability to glide through the air by using their bodies as wings.
They Are Good Medicinal Ingredients:
Ants have been used in traditional medicine for many years in multiple cultures, as this species is believed to have healing qualities or properties.
They Have Unique Qualities:
The ant species known as the trap-jaw ant has one of the fastest movements in the animal kingdom. These ants can close their jaws at a speed of around 145 km/h.
However, another ant species, known as the weaver ant, is well-known for its ability to sew multiple leaves together, which they use to create nests.
They Are Usually Omnivores:
Most species of ants are omnivores, meaning they eat seeds, nectar, insects, or fungus; however, army ants are certain ants that feed on birds, reptiles, or even small mammals.
They Can Feel the Vibration:
Ants don’t have any ears. They can hear by feeling vibrations on the ground. Moreover, these insects do not have lungs and can breathe through their skin.
They Are Enslavers:
Ants are literally enslavers. Sometimes they kidnap ants from various other colonies and force them to perform their tasks.
Also, the soldier works as a good soldier for their queen. They use their big heads to block entrances and can stop intruders from entering the nest.
Male Ants Can Fly:
Male ants have wings, and sometimes they fly in swarms to find mates. Also, once a queen ant has mated, her wings usually fall off.
They Love A Moist Environment:
Ants usually thrive in moist and tropical ecosystems and also can surpass the combined biomass of mammals and wild birds. Their remarkable success in so many environments can be attributed to their capability to tap resources, modify habitats, and also the ability to defend themselves successfully.
Their long-term co-evolution with various other species has resulted in commensal, mimetic, mutualistic, and parasitic relationships.
They Are Literally Everywhere:
Ants occupy vast ecological niches and exploit numerous food resources like indirect or direct herbivores, scavengers, or even predators.
Though most species of ants are omnivores generalists, some are even specialist feeders.
They Have Unique Body Parts:
Ants are very different in morphology than other insects. They have geniculate or elbowed antennae, a node-like petiole, and metapleural glands. The head, metasoma, and mesosome are an ant’s three distinct body parts.
They Have An Exoskeleton:
Similar to other arthropods, ants also have an exoskeleton. It is an external covering that offers a protective casing around the ant’s body and also a point of attachment for muscles.
Insects do not have any lungs; hence, oxygen and carbon-di-oxide can pass through their exoskeletons through tiny valves known as spiracles.
Thus, ants are definitely one of the most wonderful and interesting insects on our planet. At the end of this article, we learned 26 amazing facts about this interesting insect, ants. To know some more interesting facts, you can visit our website.
Ants are social insects that have adapted to various habitats and play important roles in ecosystems as predators, decomposers, and seed dispersers.
Ants have complex social structures, with specialized roles for different colony members, including workers, soldiers, and reproductive individuals.
Some ant species are considered pests, causing damage to crops and buildings, while others have cultural and medicinal significance for humans.
Studying ants can provide valuable insights into social behavior, ecology, and the coevolution of insects and plants.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.