Some Facts About Ants

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Ants are some of the most fascinating living things on the planet. They are like humans in many ways. Their social organization is perhaps less complex, but much more finely tuned and efficient for all its superficial simplicity. They are surprisingly intelligent and powerful, especially when they act as a massive superorganism. Ants have been shown to solve problems that most living things can't, and they can take down prey much stronger than the individual when they work together.  There is much that humans know about ants, but there is still more that we could still learn about them, and in doing so, learn about ourselves.

One thing that many people may not know about ants is that they are quite closely to bees, wasps, and hornets. This can be quite readily apparent if one has ever seen a wingless wasp. There is even a species of wasp known as the velvet ant that is so called because it is indistinguishable from an ant. Nevertheless, mimicry is rampant in nature, as we can see from the velvet ant. Many animals have evolved through natural selection to look like ants, because most predators avoid them as much as possible due to their aggressive nature and tendency to hold poison and venom. There is even a spider species that has evolved to look like a particularly aggressive species of ant known as the weaver ant. 

Ants are distributed all over the world, likely due to their incredible adaptability. They have managed to entrench themselves onto every continent but Antarctica, a place so inhospitable even that most adaptable species, humans, has declined to live there except for research purposes. Ants are perhaps most successful in areas with a large food supply, as this allows them to expand exponentially. When writing about ants and their adaptability it is important to mention that it is mostly due to their amazing organizational skills that they have been able to adapt to so many areas across the world.

An ant colony is a well-oiled machine, containing thousands of workers and soldiers, as well as one or more queen (depending on the species). Also depending on the species, workers and soldiers may be subdivided into different types. There may be a type of soldier bred specifically to guard the queen, one designed to watch the entrances of the hive, one bred to guard the all-important hatchery, and many more. Workers, for their part, are often bred in ways depending on the type of food a colony eats. Leaf-cutter ants, for example, often have many different castes of workers, grouped by sizes. One type of worker has massive jaws to cut leaves, one is strong and carries the leaf fragment back to the nest, and one is tiny and light, and uses this advantage by resting on top of the leaf to guide it back to the nest. Studying information about ants has given many scientists insight on the ways evolution altered these insects through the years.

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Dan Thaler has 1 articles online

Dan Thaler is an  undergrad history student at Ramapo College of New Jersey

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Some Facts About Ants

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This article was published on 2012/03/26
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