20 Things you didn’t know about ants
Since you were a child on the playground singing about putting ants down that cute guy’s/girl’s pants to make them do the boogey dance, the mystic ant has been a bug of interest. Other than the common known things about ants such as ruining picnics, stealing sugar, and building mounds, here are a few facts to help you better know this common insect:
1) Ants can form rafts as they join together in a massive floating body.
2) Ants as a colony can behave as a liquid or solid. – leading to scientific research
3) Ants can carry 50 times their own body weight. I feel good about lifting half my weight.
4) Ants herd Aphids for survival.
5) Ants hung around with the dinosaurs in the cretaceous period – one fossil ant was 2.4 inches long. This means they survived a mass extinction event.
6) Fungus farming ants began agricultural ventures about 50 million years before humans
7) Slave Making ants raid neighboring colonies and steal eggs or larvae in a practice known as “dulosis”. The ant-napped young are then either eaten or put to work.
8) Ants behave as a superorganism. This superorganism acts like a single body the way all of our organs function together. They are able to do this because their method of communication coordinates them seamlessly.
9) Ants talk through chemicals called pheromones for specific messages.
10) It estimated that the total number of ants alive in the world at any one time is high as ten quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000).
11) Ants are believed to contribute up to 25% of the total biomass weight of land-based animals. There are about 1 million ants per person.
12) Bullet ants have the most painful sting of any insect, but the Australian jack jumper ant’s sting is fatal to humans.
13)The M. smithii queen ant reproduces asexually making all offspring clones of the queen and an all female species.
14) Some ants sleep seven hours a day.
15) Army ants are homeless. They live life in 2 phases: nomad and stationary. As nomads, they travel all day and attack other colonies and insects they encounter for food. They temporarily nest at night and then move on. Stationary phase occurs when the queen lays eggs and they wait for them to hatch. During this time they make a nest out of their own bodies to protect the queen, food, and eggs.
16) Ants have 250,000 brain cells to the human 10,000 million making 40,000 ants collectively equivalent to the human brain.
17) Each of the ant’s two eyes are made of many smaller eyes.
18) Ants have two stomachs: one for them and one to feed others.
19) The queen licks the eggs to make them hatch.
20) Zombie ants occur when a species of fungus that infects ants and takes control of their bodies. The fungus finds its way underneath the ant’s exoskeleton and begins to consume soft tissue and causes the ant to leave its colony. The ant then finds a leaf, bites it with a “death grip,” and dies. A few days later, the fungus releases spores to infect more ants. Some ant species have learned to recognize infected colony mates and will carry them far away to protect the rest of the colony.