Ants are social insects that live in colonies being some of the most successful
of insects. Ant colonies include one or more queens, workers, eggs, larvae and
pupae. The worker ants maintain their developed structures known as
"nests". Nests protect the ants against their enemies, some protection
against extremes of weather, and are often placed close to water and food
sources. Some ant species nest in the ground, many times under concrete or
slabs. Some species will be found in wood such as fence posts, dead logs, and
hollow trees or within structures. Ants are formed with a head, a thorax, or
mid-section, and an abdomen connected to the thorax by a very short, narrow
stalk. On their heads are mouths and mouthparts which are used to carry food or
for defense. They have two compound eyes that are used to detect movement, and
several single eyes, which are for the purpose of detecting light. Ants have two
stomachs. They have a single stomach and a crop stomach. The single stomach is
used to store food for the ant to digest. The crop stomach is more interesting;
it contains food that the ant serves to the rest of the colony in times of need.

In the event an ant is starving, it walks up to another ant and signs with its
antennae "I'm hungry. Give me some food". The ant receiving the sign
regurgitates some food for the starving ant to eat. Yum. Some ants also have
stingers for defense purposes, or, on rare occasions, there is some which can
spray a poison from the end of their abdomens. Ants can grow from
point-zero-eight inches to an astounding two inches. Ants may seem small and
insignificant, but consider this: The combined weight of all the ants on Earth
probably equals the combined weight of all the people on Earth. Since the planet
supports nearly 6 billion humans, imagine the astronomical number of ants! More
than 8,800 species of ants have been identified, but scientists estimate that
more than 20,000 ant species exist. An ant's small size makes it difficult to


Warner T. Johnson. 1995. Insects that Feed on Trees and Shrubs. 2nd ed.

Jackson, N.J. P123 Randall J. Schuh. 1997. True Bugs of the World. John Wiley.

N.J. P96

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