Fascinating Facts About Ants
Ants belong to Formicidae family, which also include sawflies, bees, and wasps. Research shows that ants evolved from a wasp-like insect about 99 million years ago. They are social insects, living in a large group of a colony where there is a Queen, the males, and the female workers. Their division of labor is quite extensive. Despite having no ears, ants are very cooperative and well-coordinated to accomplish their work individually and as a colony. They communicate with each other by feeling the vibrations on the ground through their feet.
The Queen is the only one that can lay eggs. The male ants’ role is to mate the future queen; they may die after performing this duty. At the same time, female workers also act as soldiers, as they defend the queen, attack enemy’s colony to conquer more nesting place, gather or kill food. Ants may look like simple creatures but they are actually complex species. They even attack and raid other colonies to steal eggs and become their ant-slaves when hatched.
With these characteristics, ants are a kind of fascinating insect. There are many interesting facts about ants and we will give you a closer look at a few of their entertaining features.
The total population of all ants is more than the population of humans on earth.
Scientists estimate that there are 10 quadrillion ants across the Earth. Among these are the 12,000 species of ants that have been identified and known to exist.
Antarctica is the only continent that is considered an ant-free area.
Ants have traveled nearly everywhere on Earth. The little critters’ hives are literally swarming across the planet. They usually live in the tropical regions and have established themselves in at least 50 countries throughout the world.
Ants can carry 20 times their own body weight.
To better illustrate this fact, here is an example: if an 8-year-old human is as strong as an ant, she can pick up and carry a car by hand. Ants' muscles are thicker than that of humans, or even those of larger animals. This helps them gain more power to carry large and heavy objects.
Ants use a unique kind of compass.
Ants leave scent trail called pheromones when foraging or when they are away seeking for food. They use these chemical traces to identify where they have been and to find their way back to their colony. Studies show that they also use pheromones for better communication with their fellows.
Ants have short life span.
The oldest queen ant lifespan ever recorded is 30 years, the longest of any insects. However, worker ants live 1-2 years while drone males usually survive a few weeks after mating with the queen.
Ants are as old as dinosaurs.
Biologists believe that ants evolved in the early Cretaceous period. This makes the ants way older than humanity. In 1966, a group of scientist found the oldest known ant fossil in Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey. The fossil remains are those of a primitive and extinct ant species called Sphercomyrma freyi that lived in the Cretaceous period.
A 2.4 inches long ant exists.
Fortunately, this species no longer exists and is rather fossilized today. Titanomyrma giganteum is a genus prehistoric giant ant and the largest ant ever recorded with approximately 6 inches wingspan.
Ants have pretty interesting characteristics, right? They may look tiny, but they are not boring. They may be relatively small in size but they can outwit and outplay humans in a way that can affect human’s daily lives. Their huge population is sometimes uncontrollable, especially in residential and commercial areas. For this cases, it is better to get a help from a professional pest control expert.
For some more interesting information about ants, please refer to this link.
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