Ants are one of the pests we usually encounter, whether in our business or homes. Scientists and entomologists continue to study these little insects with many species that reach more than 10,000 across the world. Do you think ants are exciting creatures? Well, check these 10 facts about them that will surely boggle your mind.
1. Ants already exist even during the era of dinosaurs
Research by Florida and Harvard State Universities showed that the ants first emerged about 130 million years ago during the Cretaceous Era! They survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary (k / T extinction) which killed both the dinosaurs and the ice age as well.
2. Ants don’t have lungs
Ants can’t accommodate a respiratory system as complex as ours due to their small body size. However, they have their own to breathe that will transport oxygen all throughout their bodies.
Ants breathe through the series of holes situated on their sides which are called spiracles. These spiracles help in distributing oxygen to almost all the cells of their bodies. With the ants’ movements, the circulation of oxygen becomes easier and so is the release of carbon dioxide.
3. Ants have extraordinary strength
Ants are like superman with their incredible strength. They are so strong that they can even carry things that are 10 to 50 times of their body weight. The amount of weight these little creatures can lift still depends on the specie they belong to. An Asian weaver ant can carry something that is 100 times its own mass.
The reason behind this ridiculous strength is their small size, crazy isn’t it? Compared to animals with greater built, the muscles of ants have a bigger cross-sectional area in proportion to the size of their bodies according to Arizona State University’s reports. This is the reason why ants can make more force.
4. Ants possess two stomachs
Yes, you’ve read it correctly, ants have two stomachs. This doesn’t mean that they’re greedy; in fact, this just shows how generous they are! One stomach is for their consumption; to hold the foods they intake. The second stomach is for the preservation of food to share with their neighboring ants.
This method is called trophallaxis and facilitates the highly productive functioning of the ant colony. This enables the ants that are foraging for food to feed others that stay behind to attend the responsibilities of the nest and the queen.
5. Ants don’t have ears
Ants don’t have ears unlike other pests but that doesn’t make them deaf.
Through vibrations, ants can hear and use these as alarm signals or whenever they search for food. They pick these ground vibrations in their subgenual organ situated below their knees.
6. There are a lot of ants in the world
In every one human is a million of ants in the world which makes ”a lot” an understatement. Ants have conquered almost all the continents with at least native species in each except Arctic, Antarctica and some islands. Ted Schultz, who is an entomologist, says that the presence of ant in the world is ”arguably the greatest success story in the history of terrestrial metazoa.”
7. Ants are technically farmers
Maybe, you are already wondering how, but this is true. Besides humans, ants are also one of the creatures that farm other living creatures.
As well when we raise sheep, cows, chicken, fish and pigs to get a supply of food, the ants would do the same with other creatures. The most frequent case is with aphids. Ants must secure aphids from their natural predators and will provide shelter for them from frequent rain storms through their nest. In return, aphids will provide them continuous honeydew supply.
8. Some ants are asexual
Some ants in Amazon reproduce through cloning rather than the natural way of production. There are no male ants in some colonies because the queen ants clone themselves to produce daughters genetically.
9. Ants make slaves
This might sound unfamiliar and weird, but yes, this is true. Polyergus lucidus are ant species that are well-known for their notorious ability to enslave ants. These ants invade nearby ant colonies, they are notoriously known for capturing and forcing its inhabitants to do extensive labor for them.
Slave-making ants are skilled in invading a single species, or a community of similar species that are closely relative to them. The ants that were captured would operate in the invaders’ territory as if it was their old colony, while slave-making workers would focus instead on furnishing their labor power.
10. Ants are swimmers
Well, not all of the ants are swimmers, but some species of ants can definitely swim. Haven’t perfected the breaststroke or butterfly yet, but by having their own style of doggy paddle, they can stay underwater, and can even float for lengthy stretches.
Ants are, to put it clearly, excellent survivors. They can not only keep their breath under the water for a prolonged period of time, but they can also amazingly create lifeboats for flood protection. If fire ants do so, it can be extremely harmful.