ANTS

 

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While there is much obsession with finding life in outer space, there are about one million different kinds of denizens of the animal world that breathe without lungs or gills, yet all have the same three body sections, six legs and antennae. I'm sure that up close, their appearance will outdo any special effect space alien.  Ants are just one kind of these.

 

  A Typical Ant Nest  
Worker ant scouts
returning to nest
Worker ant
digging
 
Ant Larvae look
like grubs. They
are shown in the
center of this ant
colony. Each ant
larva will grow to
become a full
grown ant.
 
  Egg laying Queen
 

The ant larvae hatch from the ant eggs.

A close-up view of the central priority of the colony: the egg-laying Queen

The typical ant colony is usually centered around one or more egg-laying "queens". The smaller worker ants care for the queen and her eggs.

 

The smaller male ants and the larger queen ants all have wings. The male's life-span is short. Only the queen begins a new colony. 

A typical queen ant will usually fly to a new location to start a new colony by herself. She will not need to fly any more, so she sheds her wings. 

Record Ant Feats

With their combined weight greater than the combined weight of all humans, ants are the most numerous type of animal.

Strong in relation to their size, ants can carry 10 to 20 times their body weight.   They work in teams to move extremely heavy things.

Ant brains are largest amongst insects.  Mushroom shaped brain appendages have function similar to the gray-matter of human brains.

It has been estimated that an ant's brain may have the same processing power as a Macintosh II computer.

ANTJOBS

What happens when ants are painted with color dots?

 

Colored dots painted on the backs of ants according to the type of work they are observed doing show that ants have specific jobs.

 

So yellow dotted ants would concentrate on cleaning. Teams of green dotted ants forage outward for food. Orange dotted ants would take care of the young.

 

After a few days or weeks, the ants may change their jobs as they take on new skills.

Sometimes when a catastrophe occurs, the ants respond by quickly adapting their duties to overcome the problem.

Ant jobs that seem more human than insect

BOTH ANTS & HUMANS SHARE THESE ENDEAVORS

  
  

LIVESTOCK FARMING

herd aphids and "milk" them for nectar-like food
  

CULTIVATION

growing underground gardens for food

  
CHILDCARE
feeding young and providing intensive nursery care
  
EDUCATION
teaching younger ants the tricks of the trade
  
CLIMATE CONTROL
maintaining a strict  77o F. for developing ants
 
CAREER SPECIALIZATION
changing & learning new careers
 
CIVIC DUTIES
responding with massive group projects
  
ARMED FORCES
raising an army of specialized soldier ants
  
SECURITY
warding off other ants, insects and animals
  
EARTH MOVERS

move at least as much soil as earthworms

  
SOCIAL PLANNING
maintain ratio of workers, soldiers and reproductives
  
ENGINEERING
tunnel from two directions and meet exactly midway 
  
COMMUNICATIONS

complex tactile and chemical communication system

 
FLOOD CONTROL

incorporate water traps to keep out rain
 

   SANITATION
some ants process waste material so that it safely decomposes
 

LIMITED FREE WILL
inter-relationships more symbiotic than coercive


 

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