A for ant


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A for ant

  1. 1. Imagine yourself the size of an ant
  2. 2.  Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae.  Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago.  Today, more than 12,000 species are classified with upper estimates of about 14,000 species.
  3. 3. Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Hymenoptera Suborder: Apocrita Superfamily: Vespoidea Family: Formicidae
  4. 4. Colonies  Ants are common social insects.  They always live in colonies (a colony is a group of related ants);  some colonies have millions of ants in them.  Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands.  Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems.
  5. 5. Each ant colony consists of the following:  Queen - The queen begins her life with wings, which she uses while mating. After mating with a male ant (or many males), she flies to her nesting area. She then loses her wings and spends her life laying eggs.  Workers - Workers are the many sterile (non-reproducing), wingless female worker ants who are the daughters of the queen. These workers collect food and feed members of the colony, defend the colony, and enlarge the nest. Most of the ants in a colony are workers.  Soldiers - Soldiers are large workers (sterile females) who defend the colony and often raid other colonies, capturing slaves.  Males - Males are small ants that have wings. They fly from the colony to mate with a queen. They die soon afterwards. Ants exhibit complex behavior; some ants build intricate nests, some are fierce warriors, some collect and store seeds (harvester ants), some capture slaves, and some farm fungi (leaf-cutter ants).
  6. 6. Males and females have 4 wings. Females lose their wings when they mate
  7. 7. Characteristics and duties of queen ants  Largest individuals in colony  Are the only females that reproduce  Locate nest site  Lay eggs  Assist workers in feeding and grooming larvae  Some ant species have only one queen per colony; others such as Argentine ants may have several
  8. 8. Ant Life Cycle
  9. 9. Ant Life Cycle The life cycle of the ant consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Fertilized eggs produce female ants (queens, workers, or soldiers); unfertilized eggs produce male ants. Egg: Ant eggs are oval shaped and tiny (they are on the order of 1 mm long, but the queen's egg is many times larger). Larva: The worm-like larvae have no eyes and no legs; they eat food regurgitated by adult ants. The larvae molt (shed their skin) many times as they increase in size. Pupa: After reaching a certain size, the larva spins a silk-like cocoon around itself (against a solid object, like the wall of the chamber) and pupates. During this time the body metamorphoses (changes) into its adult form. Adult: The pupa emerges as an adult. The entire life cycle usually lasts from 6 to 10 weeks. Some queens can live over 15 years, and some workers can live for up to 7 years.
  10. 10. Anatomy of an Ant
  11. 11. Anatomy of an Ant
  12. 12.  Ants, like all insects, have jointed legs, three body parts (the head, thorax and abdomen), a pair of antennae, and a hard exoskeleton.  The exoskeleton is made up of a material that is very similar to our fingernails.  Ants range in color from yellow to brown to red to black.  Some ants have a stinger and some can even inject poisonous acid from the stinger (the stinger is at the tip of the abdomen, the rear body segment).  Ants can also bite using their jaws (mandibles).  Ants range in size from about 0.08 inch (2 mm) to up to about 1 inch (25 mm) long. Anatomy of an Ant
  13. 13. Leaf-cutter ant
  14. 14. Leaf-cutter ant  Leafcutter ants are social insects found in warmer regions of the Americas.  They cultivate (grow) their own food, a type of fungus, in underground gardens.  Leafcutter ants travel in long lines far into the forest, in search of leaves; they leave a scent along the trail so they can find their way back home.  They use their sharp mandibles (jaws) to cut leaves from plants, and then carry the large pieces of leaves over their back.  A leafcutter ant can carry almost ten times its own weight.  The leafcutter ants carry the leaf pieces back to their underground nests where the leaves are chewed into a pulp.  The decaying pulp is stored with ant feces and fungus spores, and strands of fungus eventually grow on the decomposing pulp.  This fungus is the crop that these ants eat; the ants do not eat the leaves.
  15. 15. Anatomy of Leaf-cutter ant
  16. 16.  Ants, like all insects, have jointed legs, three body parts (the head, thorax and abdomen), a pair of antennae, and a hard exoskeleton.  The exoskeleton is made up of a material that is very similar to our fingernails.  Leafcutters are large ants that have long legs.  The worker leafcutter ant ranges from about .1 to .5 inch long.  The males are .5 inch long.  The queen may be over 1 inch long.  Leafcutter ants range in color from orange to brown to red to black. Leaf-cutter ant
  17. 17. Ants have compound eyes (Lots of little eyes working together)