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Facts stranger than fiction.. 11

Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous period, about 140 million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified.[5][6] They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists.

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ABOUT ANTS

Ants are common insects, but they have some unique capabilities. More than 10,000 known ant species occur around the world. They are especially prevalent in tropical forests, where they may be up to half of all the insects living in some locations.

Ants vs. Termites

Ants look much like termites, and the two are often confused—especially by nervous homeowners. However, ants have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, which termites do not. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and powerful jaws. These insects belong to the order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps and bees.

Social Behavior

Enthusiastically social insects, ants typically live in structured nest communities that may be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. Carpenter ants nest in wood and can be destructive to buildings. Some species, such as army ants, defy the norm and do not have permanent homes, instead seeking out food for their enormous colonies during periods of migration.

Ant communities are headed by a queen or queens, whose function in life is to lay thousands of eggs that will ensure the survival of the colony. Workers (the ants typically seen by humans) are wingless females that never reproduce, but instead forage for food, care for the queen’s offspring, work on the nest, protect the community, and perform many other duties.

Male ants often have only one role—mating with the queen. After they have performed this function, they may die.

Diet

Ants communicate and cooperate by using chemicals that can alert others to danger or lead them to a promising food source. They typically eat nectar, seeds, fungus, or insects. However, some species have diets that are more unusual. Army ants may prey on reptiles, birds, or even small mammals.

Unusual Ant Species

One Amazon species (Allomerus decemarticulatus) cooperatively builds extensive traps from plant fiber. These traps have many holes and, when an insect steps on one, hundreds of ants inside use the openings to seize it with their jaws.

Another species, the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), is capable of forming so-called supercolonies that house multiple queens. On Australia’s Christmas Island, the accidental introduction of yellow crazy ants in the early 20th century has led to a destructive infestation. The ants are a significant threat to the island’s endemic population of red crabs, which are displaced by the ants from their burrows or killed as they pass through ant nest sites during the crabs’ large-scale annual migration from the forest to the coast.

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Ant, (family Formicidae), any of approximately 10,000 species of insects (order Hymenoptera) that are social in habit and live together in organized colonies. Ants occur worldwide but are especially common in hot climates. They range in size from about 2 to 25 mm (about 0.08 to 1 inch). Their colour is usually yellow, brown, red, or black. A few genera (e.g., Pheidole of North America) have a metallic lustre.

black carpenter ant
black carpenter antBlack carpenter ant (Camponotus Typically, an ant has a large head and a slender, oval abdomen joined to the thorax, or midsection, by a small waist. In all ants there are either one or two finlike extensions running across the thin waist region. The antennae are always elbowed. There are two sets of jaws: the outer pair is used for carrying objects such as food and for digging, and the inner pair is used for chewing. Some species have a powerful sting at the tip of the abdomen.pennsylvanicus).Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.There are generally three castes, or classes, within a colony: queens, males, and workers. Some species live in the nests of other species as parasites. In these species the parasite larvae are given food and nourishment by the host workers. Wheeleriella santschii is a parasite in the nests of Monomorium salomonis, the most common ant of northern Africa.Most ants live in nests, which may be located in the ground or under a rock or built above ground and made of twigs, sand, or gravel. Carpenter ants (Camponotus) are large black ants common in North America that live in old logs and timbers. Some species live in trees or in the hollow stems of weeds. Tailor, or weaver, ants, found in the tropics of Africa (e.g., Tetramorium), make nests of leaves and similar materials held together with silk secreted by the larvae. Dolichoderus, a genus of ants that are found worldwide, glues together bits of animal feces for its nest. The widely distributed pharaoh ant (Monomarium pharaonis), a small yellowish insect, builds its nest either in houses, when found in cool climates, or outdoors, when it occurs in warm climates.Army ants, of the subfamily Dorylinae, are nomadic and notorious for the destruction of plant and animal life in their path. The army ants of tropical America (Eciton), for example, travel in columns, eating insects and other invertebrates along the way. Periodically, the colony rests for several days while the queen lays her eggs. As the colony travels, the growing larvae are carried along by the workers. Habits of the African driver ant (Dorylus) are similar.
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Shobha Iyer View All →

Always be Happy; always wear a Smile, Not because Life is full of reasons to Smile, but because your Smile itself maybe a reason for many others to Smile ;The Greatest Thing In Life Is Love And The Second Is Laughter..

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