What Are Ants?

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Ants are creatures we encounter in our lives daily, yet we don’t pay them attention and

ignore, and sometimes what is worse, we kill them thoughtlessly. What we need to realise is

that ants have a whole world of their own—a world that can be much more fascinating than

ours.

Ants have evolved in this planet almost 130 million years ago. They are termed as

“superorganisms”, which means that a large collective of ants work together as a single entity

to carry on the work of the colony. A single ant cannot survive on its own; it needs to be a

part of a larger colony to survive (a lot like humans in a way). A typical colony of the ants is

also a very complex phenomena; each colony usually consists of a queen, the workers and

the
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Thus,

ants have a very specialized structure of labour.

Aside from their superorganism way of functioning together, ants can also communicate

using chemicals called “pheromones”, which they can intercept and interpret using their

antennae. They also “hear” using their feet to sense vibrations. . Ants are also very special in

that they can carry three times the size of their weight—we have all seen a procession of ants

carrying food at some point in our lives. They can also carry a hundred times their own

weight while dangling.

Ants carry out many different kinds of work, from building nests in trees, underground, and

in houses to raiding other ants’ colonies and stealing their larvae and eggs to make into slaves

or food (a practice called “dulosis”). In fact, some species of ants have birds, reptiles and

even small mammals as their source of food. So there are much more to ants than we think,

they are not as simple or tame as they are perceived to be.

Ants can be a destructive species. For example, the red fire ant has a painful sting that
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