Generally, Ants are cool creatures. They have existed since the time of the dinosaurs and still can now be found on every continent. They live in colonies which can be hundreds in number where everyone plays a specific role. They build nests with multiple underground chambers and tunnels. They are very industrious, persistently looking for food. They can also be risky, with the harvester ant largely considered to be the most poisonous insect and the bulldog ant being responsible for several deaths in Australia.
In multiple ways, ants can outplay, outwit and outlast humans. Their complex, cooperative societies typically help them to thrive and survive in conditions which would challenge the individual. Ant’s societies have communications between individuals, division of labor, and the ability to provide solutions to complex problems.
These parallels with human societies have always been a great inspiration and subject of study. Though ants are frustrating when they get in your room or when you are having a picnic, ants do provide some assistance in our environment. They are social insects that mean they live in large groups or colonies. Based on the species, ant colonies can comprise of million ants.
And did you know they can be very strange, too? Here are 12 interesting facts about ants which might convince you they are superior to us!
- Ants are capable of carrying things 50 times their body weight with their mandibles. Ants often use their diminutive size to their advantage.
- Some ant species defend plants in exchange for shelter and food.
- Soldier ants normally use their heads to close the entrances to their nests and provide protection from intruders.
- Certain species of ants are homeless. Not all ant species often build nests. A group of almost 200 species known as army ants have two unique phases of their life: stationary and nomad. During the nomad phase of the colony, the ants always travel all day, attacking insects and other colonies they encounter for food. The only time they cease traveling is during the colony’s stationary phase when the queen lays eggs and the entire colony waits for them to hatch.
- Sometimes, ants tend or herd insects of other species such as leafhoppers or aphids.
- Long ago, ants lived with the dinosaurs.
- Ants began farming long before human beings.
- Ants often flow scent trails created by scout ants to gather their food.
- The total biomass of all the ants on earth is approximately equal to the total mass of all the human beings on Earth.
- Ants do not have ears. Instead of hearing through the auditory canals, they “hear” by any feeling vibrations in the ground. Special sensors on their knees and feet assist ants to interpret signals from their surroundings. Additionally, they use the hairs on their body and their antennae to feel around while searching for food.
- Queen ants have wings that they shed when they build a new nest.
- When ants fight, it is often to the death!