Ants (Latin Formicclassae) are a family of social insects from the superfamily Formicoclassea of the Hymenoptera order. Belong to the number of the most common insects, are of particular interest to the complex organization of the community. The science of ants is called myrmecology.
Ants live in large colonies in anthills. The structure of these dwellings includes the aboveground part and the underground nest. The moving head of ants is equipped with gnawing jaws. On the head are complex eyes and antennae. Female and male have webbed wings. Some species of ants have a developed stump located at the end of the abdomen.
Digestion of ants is extra-intestinal, this means that the working ants digest food with their digestive enzymes, and the resulting gruel in goiter is taken to the anthill where it is fed by larvae and males.
Working ants make up the bulk among the inhabitants of the anthill. Generally, workers’ ants are underdeveloped females. These ants take care of eggs, take care of cocoons, etc. Larger and stronger ants are soldiers. They can be observed at each inlet in an anthill. Their ants obscure their bodies. Inhabitants of an anthill eat eighteen thousand insects per day and thus protect the forest in an area of 0.2 hectares.
All ants are hardworking.
Several erroneous judgments. It turns out that only about 80% of these insects are really hardworking. The rest do not participate in public work. How can I explain this? Probably, their advanced age, and maybe even ordinary laziness, is affecting them.
Ants are social animals.
Their life in an anthill is strictly regulated. Each ant performs a certain role, which either changes over time, or remains in its original form. Ants store seeds of plants in specially created for this storage. After the rains, they can even take them out to dry. Very few ant species can live without a collective.
Ants developed their own punishment system.
If an ant-forager who collects food returns several times in a row with “empty hands”, then he is killed! Thus, not having brought food to the anthill, he himself becomes a fodder.
Ants take care of their relatives who have been mutilated.
If an ant has lost its ability to work as a result of injury, other ants are taking great care of it.
To understand each other, ants use a special language.
He is far from being human. “Communicate” ants through the release of chemicals, as well as using postures and body movements. For example, after the return of foragers, the remaining ants bend down and begin to rotate their heads, thus asking for food. And if the ant feels the smell of a “stranger”, he opens his jaw and lifts his head up, while still striking a tree. It is interesting that old ants know more movements, with which they perfectly understand each other. And the “language” of the young is somewhat meager.
Ants have a well-developed instinct for imitation.
Younger ants can very easily learn something, copying with pleasure what more experienced ants do. And any ant, having learned to do something, can in this plan enlighten its younger comrades. Thus, experience will be passed on from generation to generation.
Ants can skillfully navigate the terrain.
For a long time it was believed that they do this with the help of their special enzymes. However, it was proved that the ants find their way home because they consider their steps! It turns out that ants are able to measure the distance to their goal.
Ants keep “livestock”.
Ants like to enjoy sweet secretions of aphids, and very often take care of it: they protect themselves from enemies, put them on fresh shoots of plants, even for the winter can pick up aphids in their homes. Sometimes, however, ants eat and the aphids themselves.
Ants can skillfully build traps.
They cut the fibers of a herbaceous plant – they weave a cocoon. In its walls ants make a large number of holes. In them they thrust their heads and there they wait for prey. By the way, a cocoon can accommodate hundreds of individuals. When an insect sits on the cocoon, the ants attack it with the aid of their relatives, they paralyze the prey. For the durability of a cocoon ants are often smeared with a mold of fungus.
Ants have a well developed sense of time.
If every day at a certain time near the aft road put up a feeder, then the ants, remembering this fact, will be on time. If you stop helping them to look for food, then the ants, in any case, will come back to the feeder place for about a week at the exact time.
The ants have an excellent memory.
For example, foragers know their hunting ground very, very well. If their path is obscured by some labyrinth, then the ants will sooner or later find a way out of it, and the road will be remembered.
Soon after fertilization, the male dies.
And the females begin to bite off their wings and look for a place for the nest. The first time she lays not more than ten eggs. Larvae receive food in the form of secretions of the salivary glands. Nutrients are formed by the supply of fat and musculature of the wings.
Ants lay eggs like all insects.
Not exactly. The egg is deposited in an underdeveloped state. The amount of nutrients in it is reduced to a minimum (in contrast to the eggs of many insects). The additional nutrients the embryo receives are due to the fact that worker ants constantly lick the egg. Nutrients of saliva penetrate through its shell. In addition, saliva, which has bactericidal properties, destroys the surface of the egg spores harmful mold.
Among the ants, there is one species that has completely converted to reproduction in the non-sexual way.
It’s about the Amazonian ants. Their colonies include only females, which are exact copies of the queen. These ants (in fact, clones) are not capable of sexual reproduction, since an important part of their reproductive system has degenerated.
After the winter, the ants bring heat to themselves.
In order to warm up the anthill in the spring (because the thermal conductivity of its walls is so small), these insects bring heat to themselves inside their home. This occurs as follows: when an anthill becomes free of snow, its inhabitants warm their body with solar heat (its temperature rises by 10-15 degrees). Returning to a cold anthill, thousands of ants quickly raise its temperature.
Ants are capable of “meanness.”
This conclusion was made by D. Gordon after observing two species of ants. They live in the desert of New Mexico. Eat these ants equally – in their diet included seeds of plants. But that’s interesting: one species of ants led a nocturnal life, and the other – was active from morning to noon. So the ants of the first species blocked the entrances and exits of the competitors’ nests before harvesting food; The latter spent so much time necessary for the food reserve to open roads.
Ants are long-livers.
Naturally, among insects. The queens of some species can survive to 20 years, the same ants work up to 7 years.