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Life of ants

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Ants have inhabited the Earth for many millions of years, even long before the first humans appeared. These insects are familiar to each of us - some of us have encountered them more than once. Have you ever observed their behavior? At first glance, all ants seem the same, but this is far from true. Currently, scientists have identified more than 14 species of ants in the world. Most of the different species of ants live in the tropics, but their range extends to the forest-tundra. Almost everywhere, with the exception of Antarctica, you can find these amazing insects.

How does the life of ants work?

Walking through the forest, park, or even in the yard, we often come across anthills. If you pay attention, you can see lively activity inside them: ants are rushing somewhere, carrying burdens and greeting each other when they meet.

Anthill device

The usual anthills that we see in the forest are built by forest ants from various materials: pine needles, wood, leaves, even small pebbles. But don't think that all this is just rushing back and forth randomly. Inside this complex engineering structure there are different compartments: rooms for working ants, chambers for queen ants, separate places for food and waste, as well as nurseries where the larvae are fed.

Social Life of Ants

Ants are social insects that live in families. Inside an anthill there can be either several dozen individuals or several million. Due to the large number of inhabitants, anthills have many entrances and exits, all of which are guarded by vigilant guards from the invasion of uninvited guests.

Habitat Diversity

In nature, ants adapt to various environmental conditions - they live in the soil, in stumps, on trees, among stones. In deserts, ants can dig nests up to 4 meters deep. There are also domestic ants that easily find convenient places for nests.

Intelligence and Society Structure

Ants have the largest brains among insects. Although there is debate among scientists regarding their level of intelligence, these insects can definitely coordinate their actions through communication and team up to solve complex problems that a single ant cannot solve.

Unique Roles in Society

An ant colony has a complex hierarchical structure, where each ant has its own role and responsibilities. Working individuals are engaged in various important tasks - collecting food, building a nest, cleaning up garbage and caring for offspring.

Special Characteristics and Threats

Within every profession there is a choice. For example, there are scouts, foragers, soldiers, shepherds and nannies. Some ants are forced to parasitize other anthills, creating temporary social connections.

Some species of ants play a key role in the ecosystem, improving water exchange in the soil and accelerating the process of humus of plant residues. However, some species can cause damage to agriculture and become carriers of infections.

Ants are amazing creatures whose contribution to nature is important and meaningful. Therefore, it is important to take care of anthills in order to preserve this unique insect in our world.

Appearance of ants

Ants are insects belonging to the order Hymenoptera. Their body is divided into three parts: head, chest and abdomen. Between these parts of the body there are peculiar stalks that make the ants dexterous and mobile. Their head is usually larger than the body and is equipped with powerful mandibles used for breaking down food and defense. Some species of ants have a social stomach in the esophagus, where food is collected, which they share with other individuals or feed their larvae. This way of eating is amazing!

The antennae of ants serve for smell and touch, but they are also a kind of language of communication. Ants secrete pheromones, chemical signals that they pick up on the antennae of other insects. These pheromones leave trails on the ground that serve as routes to food and back to the anthill. In this way, ants recognize their fellows and identify their “strangers.”

In everyday life, we usually see worker ants that do not have wings from birth. Females look similar to workers, but are much larger. Males have a small head, bulging eyes, long antennae and an elongated abdomen. They also have wings that allow them to leave the nest during mating season. After fertilization, the males die, and the females shed their wings and begin to build a nest where they lay eggs. But before the ant reaches its adult form, it goes through two intermediate stages - the larva and the pupa.

In some species of ants, females are able to feed their offspring for almost a year, while remaining without food. When the larvae grow up, they themselves take on the responsibility of building a nest and feeding the whole family.

Life of ants in a formicarium

Let's start with a definition. What is a formicarium? This is an artificially created anthill. Why is it needed, you ask. Observing the life of ants is an extremely fascinating process, and formicariums make this observation simple and convenient. With their help, you can not only study the entire life cycle of an ant family, but also observe the behavior of individual ants. The duration and quality of life of such an ant farm and the ants themselves largely depend on human intervention.

 

To provide ideal conditions for life and reproduction, it is not enough to simply pour sand and place ants there. It is necessary to create a system of labyrinths and dark rooms. In addition, it is important to maintain natural environmental conditions: the soil must be sufficiently moist, the ants must be protected from external stress, and food and water must be provided. In this case, you will need to provide them with proteins and carbohydrates.

The lifespan of an artificial ant colony largely depends on the depth of our knowledge about ants.

What may be useful for you to know

Ants appeared about 130 million years ago, at the same time as dinosaurs, but unlike the latter, they survived. The length of ants varies from 1 to 33 mm, but females are always larger and can reach five centimeters. Regular worker ants live 3-5 years, while females can live up to 20 years or even more. The viability of females plays an important role, determining the survival of the entire ant community.

In Russia, ants are affectionately called “murashi”. There are species of ants that some peoples eat. In South America, large ants are fried and even specially grown for making bread. In Mexico, ant eggs are served as a kind of caviar, in India, seasonings are prepared from ants, and in Thailand, ants are added to salads. Ants are part of the food culture of the Australian Aborigines.

Ants often become characters in folklore and literary works. Many novels have been dedicated to ants. French writer Bernard Verber wrote three novels: The Ants, The Day of the Ant and The Revolution of the Ants, in which ants play a key role. In these works, two social worlds are intricately intertwined - the world of social insects and the world of man. By reading these novels you will be able to feel what it is like to be an ant!

The Incredible Lives of Ants | Attenborough: Life in the Undergrowth | BBC Earth

Frequently asked Questions?

How do ants live in winter?

In cold weather, ants move to the depths of the anthill, to winter quarters, where it is warmer. Here the colony spends the entire winter in a state of rest, similar to hibernation.

How do ants perceive the world around them?

Ants perceive the world around them in the ultraviolet spectrum, but they also have partial color vision. They can distinguish between purple and blue colors easily, but they see yellow and green worse, and red is perceived as black.

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