In the structure of the ant's body, there are three components covered with a chitinous envelope: the head and the chest and abdomen connected by a thin waist. The eyes, consisting of a set of lenses, can distinguish the movement, but do not give a clear image. In the upper part of the head there are 3 more simple eyes. Ants move with six thin legs, armed with claws, allowing the insect to climb up. Segmental-arranged antennae, located on the head, are the organs of touch and allow you to capture odors, air currents and vibration of the soil.
The smell plays an important role in the life of ants: using smell, ants distinguish members of their community from other insects, learn about the location of food, give an alarm or call for assistance. Ants are protected from their enemies by applying formic acid or poison, which are produced by special glands. For defense also used the powerful mandibles of the ant, allowing the wound of the enemy.
The size of ants and the structure of the insect depend on the species, as well as the status occupied in the colony, and ranges from 1 mm to 3 cm. In some species, the females are the largest individuals, in others the size of the females does not exceed the size of working individuals. Females have wings that fall away after the mating season. The color of ants can be completely different, ranging from red, yellow, black and brown, and ending with green and bluish colors.
Types of ants, names and photos.
Today, about 13,000 species of ants have been studied and described, of which about 300 live in Russia. These insects are difficult to classify. This is due to the fact that there are twin species and numerous hybrids that are difficult to distinguish by their appearance.
The most interesting are the following types of ants:
Black garden ant (black lazy) (lat. Lasius niger) - the most common species of ants, whose representatives are found in abundance in Portugal and the United Kingdom, in central Russia and in the Far Eastern region, up to Ulaanbaatar. Working individuals have a body length of up to 4.5 mm, males grow to 5.5 mm, females from 7.5 to 11 mm. The black or dark brown body of the garden ant is covered with frequent short hairs. Black ants build nests in the ground, under stones and in rotten wood. The main food of the ant is the sweet pad released by the aphids; in this connection, the insects cause serious harm to agricultural land, planting and protecting the main food source, the aphid. The species is distinguished by a record life span of the uterus, which reaches almost 30 years.
Red Mira(lat. Myrmica rubra) - species of ants, common in Europe, the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. Reddish females grow to 6 mm in length, male ant black, up to 5 mm long. Red ants build their homes in the ground, under stones and fallen trees.
Small forest ant (forest golofinny ant) (lat. Formica polyctena) lives in the forests of the temperate climate zone throughout northern Eurasia - from Spain, Belgium and Germany to Russia, Finland and Sweden. Forest ants have a body length of 7 to 14 mm, red-brown color, red cheeks and black belly. The anthill of forest ants has a height of up to 2 meters and consists of branches and needles. This species of ants has the status of endangered and is listed in the Red Books of many European countries, and in some regions it belongs to the category of rare animals.
Pharaoh ant (brownie, ship) (lat. Monomorium pharaonis) originally from Egypt, gradually settled in all five continents. Working individuals are yellow in color, have no wings and grow no more than 2 mm in length. Males of ants are winged, almost black, with a body length of 3-3.5 mm. The females are yellow-brown in color, up to 4.5 mm long, originally winged, but after mating, the working ants bite off their wings. Pharaoh ants live in dark, damp places, building anthills within one residential structure in piers, foundations, behind baseboards, interior decoration and even in wardrobes and household appliances.
Dinoponera giant (giant ant) (lat. Dinoponera gigantea) - It is the largest ant in the world, it grows up to 33 mm in length and has a black torso color. The giant ant lives exclusively in the moist forests and savannas of South America, where it is called the giant Amazonian or Dinosaur ant. A distinctive feature of the species are winged males and the complete absence of queens. Their role is performed by capable of fertilization working individuals - females. The dwellings of giant ants are located underground at a depth of 40 cm, and can accommodate the entire small family, consisting of 20-30 individuals.
Asian ant tailor(lat. Oecophylla smaragdina) found in the tropical and subtropical zones in the territories of Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and South India. Representatives of this species of ants are colored bright green with beige limbs and a red-orange belly. The length of the working individuals does not exceed 8 mm, the males grow to 10 mm, the uterus up to 13 mm. The Asian ants-tailors settle their homes in the trees, fastening the foliage with the arachnoid secretions of their larvae, for which they were called “tailors”. A colony of up to half a million individuals can be located immediately on a dozen trees. Ants larvae and pupae are used as feed for poultry, in traditional and traditional medicine, as well as in the national cuisine of India and Thailand.
Eastern lyomethopum(lat. liometopum orientale) - inhabitant of the Far Eastern region of Russia, listed in the Red Book as an endangered species. Working individuals of dark brown ants reach a length of 4-6 mm. Males and females are completely black and have a body length of 10 and 12 mm, respectively. The lyomethopum nests are set up in the wood of Korean pine, fir, Mongolian oak, linden and birch.
Blood red ant (slave owner)(lat. Formica sanguinea) widely distributed in Europe, central Russia, found in China and Mongolia. Working individuals have a length of up to 8 mm and a black body with an orange head. The ant uterus grows to 10 mm and is distinguished by a red head and an orange breast. Ants arrange summer nests in half-rotten stumps, in the ground and under stones; in winter, the family moves to another nest located at the base of the trees. The typical way of life of this species of ants is predatory raids on the nests of brown forest, fast-food and other ants. Captured pupae are brought into the nest and raised as "slaves."
Amazon amazon ant (lat. Polyergus rufescens) - a species of ants differing in rather large sizes: females reach almost a centimeter length, the size of males is somewhat more modest - 6-7.5 mm, “soldiers” are even smaller and rarely grow more than 5-7 mm. Females and "soldiers" are painted in yellow-reddish tones, the body is usually covered with black hairs. Males of ants are black, limbs and antennae are brown in color. The species lives in the countries of Europe, in the western regions of Asia, in the west of Siberia. The Amazon ant prefers to settle in wet forests, choosing a glade and edge for building an anthill. The Amazons lead a slave-owning lifestyle, kidnap other ants in the pupal stage, and then use them as slaves, labor.
Legion ants or nomad ants (dorilins, roving ants) (lat. Dorylinae) - the subfamily of nomadic ants living exclusively in the tropics and the subtropical zone. Particularly common are legionary ants in Central and South America, they are found in Africa. They live in huge colonies, most of which are working individuals. Nomad ants destroy everything on their way that is good for food. Despite the average size of 2-4 mm, this species of ants "takes" its number, exterminating crops of crops during the invasions and feeding on their juices.
Where do ants live?
These insects can be observed on all continents, in all natural areas and climatic zones. They are not only in the harsh climate of the Arctic and Antarctica, on the cold islands of Greenland and Iceland, as well as in hot deserts. In areas with a temperate and cold climate, ants hibernate in winter.
Basically, these insects build their homes, anthills in the rotten or rotten wood, in the soil and under small stones. Some species of ants capture other people's nests or live near the person.
What do ants eat?
The food of ants is diverse and depends on the species. The diet of most species consists of plant and animal food, and each individual eats several times a day.
The source of protein necessary for the growth and development of ant larvae in nature, are dead insects, animal remains, trophic eggs laid by the uterus with an excess of food, insect pest eggs and semi-digested food of adult ants. The larvae of domestic ants are satisfied with dairy products, gelatin and the remnants of egg dishes. Eating the uterus of ants also consists of protein food, which ants caring for it specially chew.
The basis of the carbohydrate menu of most ants is honeydew (sugar-containing juices of the foliage emitted when temperature drops) and the fall is the sweet discharge of insects, especially aphids. Ants - dairy farmers grow an aphid for themselves, graze it, nurse it and protect its offspring from other ants. These shepherds milk their pets and feed on their milk.
Additional components of the food of ants in nature can be seeds and roots of plants, nuts, and tree sap. Some ants are grown in anthills as food colonies of fungi, and also feed on caterpillars and insects.
Reaper ants consume dried plant seeds, dried fruits and grain crops. They are capable of stocking up to 1 kg of raw materials, which makes it possible to feed on a whole colony of ants in winter. Leaf cutter ants bring pieces of leaves into an anthill, chew and store them in original greenhouse cells. Over time, from these pieces in the store grow mushrooms, which are the main food for these gourmet ants. Ants centromirmeksy eat exclusively on termites. The dracula ant drinks juices secreted by its own larvae, and feeds the larvae with various insects. Domestic ants are omnivores.
In winter, with a significant cooling, the ants hibernate, during which they starve. Most of the species, however, lead an active lifestyle in the hermetic anthill in winter, feeding on abundant reserves.
The breeding of ants is carried out in two ways and occurs 2 times a year. In the first method, a young uterus with a certain number of workers is separated from society and forms a new anthill. The second method is mating flight, during which the female ant is fertilized by several males from another anthill. After that, she lays eggs, from which there are working ants. Males die after a while. Until the working individuals appear, the female feeds on nutrients from the remains of the wing musculature. Of the fertilized eggs, working ants and females are born, and of unfertilized ones, the males.
These insects are not harmful, of course, if they do not look for the dwelling place of man for their habitat. Therefore, exterminating them just like that is not worth it: after all, the ant is an important link in the ecological chain.
How is the anthill? Ants life.
The way of life of ants is very much like human society: ants, like people, have their own professions.
Look at the device of the nest:
- Ants builders and engineers equip housing, build tunnels and communications.
- The military, or soldiers, protect the anthill from enemies and seize territory.
- Doctors treat relatives, isolate sick individuals, and if necessary, carry out surgical operations - gnaw off the injured paws.
- Nurses look after the larvae.
- The miners collect food and put it into the anthill room specially designed for this room.
- Farmers or livestock breeders are engaged in breeding aphids, cicadas, mednits, worms. They herd their “animals”, and then milked them and get a delicious honeydew (sweet discharge of these insects).
- Leaf cutting ants collect and twist the leaves of plants, and then colonies of mushrooms grow on their basis, which serve as food for the ants. There are also mushroom ants that use insect bits or feces to grow mushrooms.
- Reaper ants collect plant seeds.
- Carpenter ants collect gum that plants secrete.
- Grave ants deliver their deceased brethren to the cemetery.
- These interesting insects have other equally interesting professions.
Species of ants
The science of ants - myrmecology, currently knows about 13 thousand species of these insects, but an even larger number has yet to be discovered. It is rather difficult to detect new species due to the fact that there are many twin species among ants, as well as hybrids, which are difficult to distinguish by external signs, which greatly complicates their classification. Because of this, it is impossible to know everything about ants.
The most interesting species of ants can be identified in a separate list:
- The black garden ant is a very famous species, which is especially common in Portugal, Great Britain and the middle part of Russia. Working individuals are not larger than 4.5 mm, while males are able to reach 5.5. Females are much larger, from 7.5 to 11 mm. The body of a black ant is covered with small hairs. Anthills are made in rotten wood; a simple soft earth, or a large stone, is also suitable. Since the main source of food is the sweet pad, because of this they cause serious harm to agriculture, as they keep and breed various insects that excrete it. Another distinctive feature of the species is the incredible longevity of the uterus - up to 30 years.
- Small forest ant - the habitat of this species includes almost the entire territory of the northern part of Eurasia. Forest ants reach a size of 7 to 14 mm, have a black belly, red-brown body color and red cheeks. An anthill can grow up to two meters in height.
- Dinoponera giant - reaches 33 mm in length. They can live only in the savannas of South Africa, they often call this type Dinosaur there. Lives in small groups of 20-30 individuals. An important distinguishing feature is the absence of the uterus. Her role is played by simple females, capable of breeding, unlike other species, where these individuals are frigid. An anthill is usually located underground at a depth of 40 cm.
- The blood-red ant, also known as the “slave trader,” has a vast habitat in Europe and the middle part of Russia, and can be found in Mongolia and China. The workers have black body color and red head, their size is not more than 8 mm. The uterus is slightly different in color, it has a red head and an orange chest. Its length can reach 10 mm. In summer, a colony can live in half-rotten stumps, just underground or stones. The main feature of their way of life is raids on other anthills with the aim of capturing their resources. Even the larvae are kidnapped, which later grow in the lair of the new "owners" and begin to work, like the rest of the working individuals. Despite this, they are often called "slaves."
- Dorilins, or nomadic ants - live in the subtropics and the tropics. Strongly spread throughout South and Central America. They travel in giant colonies, destroying everything that comes their way. Despite the small size (2-4 mm), they try to take a number, and ten people immediately replace one dead individual. Nomads cause great harm to agriculture, since they completely destroy the cultivated plants.
Due to difficulties in studying, many species of ants are still not open. Also, there are no answers to many questions about the social life of these insects, which is often compared with human society.
Where does the ant live?
Ants are well adapted to any environmental conditions, thanks to this they were able to spread across all known continents. They are not only at the North Pole.
As a rule, ant families choose rotting timber as their habitat, settle under large stones, or build fortifications themselves. A standard anthill can consist of 4-6 million needles, and the insects themselves constantly drag them in from top to bottom, especially after rain. Due to this, the dome of their home is always dry inside.
What do they eat?
What does an ant eat? The diet of ants is highly dependent on the habitat and may include food of both animal and vegetable origin. Some species, such as tiny Amazonian ants, have learned to create whole traps for hunting insects, many times larger than their own size. To do this, they cut off the hair-fibers of the plant-house, after which they weave a cocoon from it. Many small holes are made in the walls. После этого кокон помещается снаружи полости растения-дома, а в него прячутся сотни рабочих особей. Они суют головы в дырки и ждут, словно капканы. Как только в ловушку попадет добыча, они схватят ее за лапы, жвалы, усики и будут удерживать до прибытия подкрепления, которое зажалит жертву до паралича.Then the ants divide the body and gradually move home. No less interesting is the fact that the ants use a “composite” material during construction. To increase the strength of the trap, they coat the walls of the cocoon with a special moldy fungus. It acts as glue - connects the hair-fibers, makes the whole structure more robust.
In ordinary ants living in Europe, the food situation is much easier. They receive the main share of carbohydrates by absorbing honey dew and a drop produced by aphids. At the same time, forager ants are often worn in zobik to feed oncoming ants, since each individual must be fed several times a day.
Also, the source of food can be seeds, juices of various plants, in some cases nuts and roots. Some species grow special colonies of fungi. A considerable share in the diet is played by sedentary insect species, such as caterpillars. In general, they can be called omnivorous.
Reaper ants feed on dry seeds, dried fruits and cereals. They can store up to a kilogram of raw materials, which allows the colony to survive any winter. The dracula ant uses the juices that its larvae secrete, it feeds them with insects. The leaf cutter ants have a more interesting system. They use their jaws to cut pieces of leaves, then bring them to the anthill and chew. Subsequently, on these leaves begins to grow fungus, which the ants eat.
Often, similar mushroom "plantations" are exposed to infection with an aggressive ascomycete fungus. He is able in a short time to turn the entire plantation into an inedible mass. Because of this, the ants were able to develop a simple and effective way of protection - a natural antibiotic, namely the actinomycete bacteria that produce it. These bacteria, like the cultivated fungus itself, are included in the mandatory part of the things that the newly made uterus takes away when leaving the native anthill. Even if the parasite gets used to the antibiotic, the ants will simply infer a new strain.
How do ants breed?
With the arrival of heat, young males and females grow their wings in order to set off on a mating flight. Shortly after mating, which often takes place right in the air, most males die, and females go to look for a suitable place for a new colony. Having found a suitable one, the female makes a small underground chamber, where she lays her first eggs. They will develop for about a week, after which the larvae hatch from them, which the uterus feeds with secretions from the salivary glands. She herself during this period does not eat anything, spending fat. The wing disappears on its own.
After another two weeks, pupation begins and the first adult individuals appear. From this point on, they are already beginning to take care of all aspects of the development of the colony, while at the same time starting to master the world around them.
How is the anthill? Ants life
Ant colonies are striking in their sense of purpose. They have become a single organism that can adapt to any external situation. Ants may seem similar to termites, but this is not at all the case; they even belong to different families. Termites are relatives of cockroaches, while ants are closer to the wasps, which affects their lifestyle and physiology. They are united only by the presence of a strong natural enemy in nature, which the anteater has become.
The anthill itself is a rather complex structure that requires compliance with a certain temperature and humidity levels. There are special compartments for food storage, pens for aphids, a maternity hospital, a hospital, a cemetery and other facilities, including for ventilation. Many species of ants remain active even in winter, feeding on summer stocks. They hibernate only during severe frosts, while they are starving and may die if they sleep too long.
At first glance, it seems that everyone in an anthill is in business and has his own profession. However, there is a small percentage of “lazy”. These insects do not work at all, but just while away the time, moving through the various tunnels in their home. In some cases, if the colony has suffered serious losses, they may start working as nannies or engineers. The rest of the colony will treat them peacefully and not touch. They seem to be not for the rest of the anthill. It is not known what exactly causes such a lifestyle.
However, the absolute majority of individuals have a clear link to a particular profession, and even learn. It is known that experienced ants foragers are able to teach new ones how to move properly and other interesting possibilities. Otherwise, the separation is as follows:
- Builders. Their task is the construction of an anthill, laying of tunnels and communications, as well as their restoration in case of destruction. They barricade passages in the event of an attack.
- The soldiers They defend the colony and participate in attacks on other species of ants.
- Doctors Able to amputate limbs, in this case, a wounded ant will be able to continue its life at the same level. An interesting fact is that the wounded often resist doctors, who before the “operation” try to move the “patient” to a safe place.
- Farmers. Engaged in food extraction in peaceful ways. They graze aphids, worms, cicadas and other small insects to prey the honeydew honeydew.
- Grave workers In each anthill there is a compartment where the bodies of the dead individuals are put. This is done by special ants.
- Nannies They look after the larvae, feed and care for them until an adult specimen emerges from them. As a rule, these are the youngest ants in the colony.
The ant hierarchy is quite complex and may include additional clauses, depending on the species. The young individuals of ants, like people, demonstrate a characteristic predisposition to certain professions. For a certain time, they are able to choose who they can be in the future. For particularly prestigious roles, whole battles can unfold.
As a rule, rivals attack each other to be on top, after which the winner can grab the loser with his jaws and take him to the anthill, and then proceed to his new duties. While the colony is young, some ants have several occupations at once, but as they expand, they become increasingly attached to one role in their society.
Pharaoh ant is one of the most famous man. Especially - a resident of an apartment or a private house. These ants are those tiny pests that run in slender chains along baseboards, occupy bins and haul crumbs from the table and sugar from bedside tables.
In the photo below - ants of this species in the apartment:
A mixture of acids that Pharaoh ants secrete is fatal to bed bugs. Therefore, in an apartment heavily infected with pharaoh ants, the bugs almost always die out.
Here are some more photos of pharaoh ants:
Pharaohs an ant is known for its difficulty in removing - not that the extermination of individual foragers in a room, but even the destruction of their separate anthill does not at all mean the removal of ants from a house. The reason for this is the ability of this species to create a kind of dispersed nests, in each of which it lives or several breeding females and several hundreds of working ants.
These nests are interconnected and form a huge colony that can occupy several floors in an apartment building. And until the last such nest is destroyed, the ants themselves will safely “delight” the owner of the room with their presence.
Red Forest Ant
Red forest ants are among the most famous in Russia. It is this species that builds huge anthills up to two meters high in coniferous forests, each of which has several hundred thousand inhabitants.
That red forest ants are depicted in pictures in school textbooks. The main ration of the red ant is the excretion of aphids, larvae and adults of various forest pests.
In the photo - red forest ant drags a caterpillar into an anthill.
Scientists have calculated that red forest ants living in a large anthill, on one summer day, bring in on average up to 21 thousand different caterpillars and pupae of pests. But in general, such an anthill protects about 1 ha of coniferous forest.
The red-haired forest ant is an endangered species, the number of which is constantly decreasing. Part of the blame for this lies with the man who is destroying the young anthills and trapping the ants themselves for the preparation of traditional medicine.
Reaper Ants - Steppe Workers
Reaper ants are famous for their huge food reserves in anthills. For the winter, they can collect up to a kilogram of seeds and dead insects in a nest, which is enough for a family of several thousand ants to safely winter.
The reaper ants of the years occur in spring, while in other species this event is timed to the summer months. Due to this evolutionary shift, the fertilized female has the opportunity to establish a new anthill in the still moist soil.
A special feature of reaper ants is that they feed their larvae with milled grains of plants - in most other ants, the larvae feed exclusively on animal food. At the same time, in the anthill of the reapers, soldiers grind the largest grains with their powerful jaws, and the ants of the smaller caste gnaw the formed pieces, and those individuals that feed the larvae grind the remaining flour into a kind of gruel.
In the picture, the ant reaper carries seeds to the anthill:
Ants Bulldogs: Giants of the Ant World
But ants, bulldogs - already representatives of tropical fauna. They are distributed almost exclusively in Australia and are considered to be among the most primitive ants that have much in common with wasps. In the photo - adult ant-bulldog:
Ants Bulldogs - one of the largest ants in the world. The length of a working ant can reach 3 cm. At the same time, the difference in size between the working ant and the uterus is not as noticeable as that of other ants.
Ants-bulldogs got their name for the huge jaws, with which they get food and ... jump. It is with the force that pushing the jaws off the ground, the ant can jump a distance of up to 30 cm. In the photos below you can well see these powerful jaws:
In addition, bulldog ants swim well. Their larvae feed on their own food, which is brought to the anthill by working ants.
Bulldog ants are dangerous. Every year, several people die from bites in Australia and Tasmania - these insects have a sting, and their venom causes a strong allergic reaction and can lead to anaphylactic shock.
Nomadic Ants: Fear of All the Tropics
Nomadic ants are one of the most famous. They are also called killer ants because during their movements they destroy all arthropods, small rodents and reptiles in the territories in which they find themselves.
Pictures of nomadic ants:
The main feature of nomadic ants is their lack of an anthill — a colony of several hundred thousand individuals either forms a temporary shelter in the form of a ball of adhered workers, or finds a hole or cavity under stones, in which the uterus will lay eggs for several weeks. After growing a certain number of young ants and depleting food stocks, the colony is removed from the place and moved to another, more feeding site.
The womb of a nomadic ant strikes with its fertility: in Asian species it lays up to 130 thousand eggs per day - about three eggs every two seconds. No other insect has such fertility.
There are many species among tree-growing ants that are familiar to us — these are the same ants that run along tree trunks and collect honey dew from the leaves. Drestovtsev they are called for the fact that they often arrange their nests in the stumps or under the bark of living trees, carefully gnawing in the wood passages and chambers. Because of this, its activities can cause damage to forestry.
Among tree ants, there is the largest ant in the fauna of Russia - the womb of a red-chest tree ant can reach a length of 2 cm. It is this ant that is shown in the picture below.
Amazon ants and their slaves
The amazon ants are a very specific group of ant species that, in principle, do not produce working individuals. Their offspring are either future wombs or soldiers. To search for food and care for their larvae, either the Amazonian womb itself, or a detachment of its soldiers, attacks the anthills of more peaceful ant species and steals the larvae and pupae from there. The working ants that emerged from them perceive the invaders as parents, and in the Amazon anthill they perform all the routine work.
Some species of amazon amazon are very highly specialized: they can abduct larvae and pupae of only one donor species. Of course, the ants attacked by the Amazons defend their broods, and the mortality rate among the Amazons themselves is very high.
In the photo, the Amazon ant carries the stolen larva to its anthill:
Among the Amazons there are species that live in Russia.
Leafcutter ants are human competitors
Leaf cutter ants are one of the few creatures in the world who are engaged in agriculture, and at a very high technological level. The working ants of these species gnaw the pieces of leaves, take them down to the anthill, where these leaves chew on other ants, mix with saliva and infect with spores of a special fungus.
It is the developing mycelium that these ants eat. And besides, their saliva contains a large number of antibiotics that prevent the development of parasitic fungi and bacteria dangerous for the mycelium.
In the colony of leaf cutter ants, there are 7 castes of individuals that differ in appearance and behavior. The difference in size between the smallest working ant and soldier can reach 200 times. In this case, in general, all the ants of the family perform up to 29 different unique operations in the preparation of food.
In the picture below - a line of leaf cutter ants:
In their habitats, large colonies can destroy the leaf cover on large trees, so they are actively fighting near plantations and gardens.
There are a lot of these species, and they parasitize differently, but, as a rule, at the expense of other ants. For example, in the nests of the reaper ants, small ants that never come to the surface and feed on the reapers themselves can parasitize.
Similar parasites are found in leaf-cutting ants, forest ants, and tree-growing ants. As a rule, parasitic ants are very small, and in their colonies rarely more than a few hundred individuals. They build their anthill near the anthill of the host species or directly between its chambers.
They are very similar to ants both in appearance and in the nature of their social structure, termites. However, these insects are not to be confused: termites are systematically closer to cockroaches, and ants are closer to wasps and bees. Nevertheless, the ability to build impressive structures and various features of biology between these insects is very much in common.
Features of the structure of the ant
Before you consider what ants are, you should analyze the structure of the insect. The structure of the ant's body lies in the presence of three components, they are covered with a chitinous shell: a thin waist connects the abdomen and chest together with the head. The eyes are made up of a large number of lenses that allow you to capture any movement, but they are not able to give a clear image. On the top of the head there are 3 more simple eyes.
Ants are amazing insects
The movement of ants is carried out at the expense of 6 thin legs, at the ends of which there are claws, they allow the insect to climb up. Antennae are segmented, they are located on the head, they allow to catch odors, vibration of the soil and react to the smallest air currents. Smells are of great importance in the life of ants, because with its help insects are able to distinguish one member of their society from another, are able to give an alarm, ask for help or specify the location of the detected food.
Many believe that the ants are not able to protect themselves, and only attack their flock. However, to protect them, they have poison or formic acid, these substances produce special glands. Also, in order to protect the use of a powerful zhvalo, this element allows you to injure your opponent well.
The structure and size of ants directly depends on the structure of the species, as well as on the status that the individual occupies in the colony, is in the range of 1 mm - 3 cm. . Females have wings, after the mating period they fall away. The color of insects can be the most diverse, starting from yellow, black, red and brown, in more rare there are greenish and even blue individuals.
The main species of ants
Сейчас удалось изучить примерно 13 000 разновидностей муравьев, на территории нашей страны из этого количества проживает всего 300. Следует учитывать тот факт, что насекомые сложно поддаются классификации. Это связано с тем, что существуют разновидности-двойники и различные гибриды, по внешнему виду их тяжело отличить от схожих. The most common and famous ants include the following species:
- Black garden ant. This is the most common variety, its representatives can be found in the UK, Portugal and central Russia, as well as in the Far Eastern region, reaching Ulaanbaatar. Working individuals grow to a length of 4.5 millimeters, males reach 5.5 millimeters, and the size of the females is somewhat larger and amounts to 7.5 to 11 millimeters. Let us consider the description of an ant in more detail: the body is dark brown or black, with a large number of short hairs on its surface. These ants are able to make their nests under stones, in the ground, in old wood. The main product of the diet is the sweet drop that aphids release, causing serious damage to agricultural land, as ants grow and protect aphids from its enemies. A distinctive feature of the form is the amazing longevity of the uterus - it is a record 30 years.
- Red Mimmika. This species is widely distributed in the Urals, the Far East, Siberia and European countries. Females have a reddish color, they are not very large individuals, since they are able to reach 6 mm in length, and the males have black color, their maximum length is 5 mm. They make their homes under stones, under the ground and lying trees.
- Forest small ant. Lives in a temperate climate zone in forests in the northern part of Eurasia, for example, in Spain, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Forest ants are able to reach in their sizes from 7 mm to 14 mm, have red cheeks, red-brown shade and black tummy. Often, the anthill of these individuals is able to reach about 2 meters in length, it consists of needles and branches. This species of ants has the status of an endangered, it was listed in the Red Book of various European countries, in some areas it even belongs to a rare species.
- Pharaoh ant. Egypt is the motherland of this species, but after a while the ants settled on all continents. Representatives of the working class have a yellow tint, they have no wings, and the length does not exceed 2 mm. Males have wings, almost completely black, and the body is 3.5 millimeters long. The females are brown-yellow in color, their length does not exceed 4.5 mm, they first have wings, but after fertilization, the working ants bite off their wings. Pharaoh ants live preferably in wet terrain, and they build an anthill within the boundaries of a residential building in the basement, piers, for interior decoration, baseboards and even in closets with clothes and household appliances.
- Giant dipoponer. It is the largest ant in the world, its size is about 33 millimeters, and the torso is completely black. This individual lives exclusively in the savannas of South America and wet forests, it was called in these regions Dinosaur Ant or Amazonian Giant. A distinctive feature of the species is the presence of males with wings and the complete absence of females. The last role is performed by capable of breeding working individuals, they are females. The housing of these ants is underground, its depth is not more than 40 centimeters, it can accommodate all family members, and there are not so many of them — only 20-30 individuals.
Each of these species is unique in its own way and has distinctive distinctive qualities. First of all, they relate to the appearance, lifestyle and structure of the colony. It is important to take these aspects into account in order to accurately determine the insect species, it should be noted that each species may also differ in its dietary characteristics.
What insects eat
The diet of ants is quite diverse. In this case, the crucial role played by their variety. Basically, the menu includes food of plant and animal origin. The individual must eat several times during the day. For the development of larvae and their growth requires a large amount of protein. They get it from dead insects, trophic eggs, animal remains, eggs of pests. Domestic ant larvae feed on gelatin, dairy products, and leftover egg dishes.
The diet of ants is quite diverse.
Insects are able to obtain carbohydrates from honeydew and honeydew, which is a selection of other insects, such as aphids. It tastes sweet enough to attract ants.
As a supplement to the diet are the roots of various plants and seeds, tree sap, walnut. The reaper ant consumes dry seeds of plants, grain crops and dry fruits. Leaf cutter in the house delivers pieces of leaves. As soon as the cold comes, they begin to hibernate. This period is characterized by severe starvation, but their life processes are significantly reduced, which makes it possible to cope with this period much easier. However, there are varieties that retain full activity at sub-zero temperatures.
Separately, we should talk about the reproduction of these insects, there are two main ways. This process is implemented several times throughout the year. The first way is that the uterus, along with several insects, preferably working ants, separates from the common colony and forms a new home. The second method is called mating flight. Its essence lies in the fact that the female is fertilized by other males from another dwelling. After that, she lays eggs, then work individuals appear from them.
Some time passes and death of males occurs, before the development of working individuals, the female uses nutrient compounds. Females and working ants appear from fertilized eggs, and males from unfertilized eggs.
Ants are highly organized insects, the number of their varieties is really surprising. The most amazing thing is that species have several common features, but also a number of significant distinctive features, which manifests itself in appearance, behavior, colony structure, etc. In an anthill, individuals live so organized that to some extent it resembles human society. There are individuals that are engaged in construction, others are soldiers, still others treat other ants, and fourth ones look after larvae. It is this kind of organization and the ability to withstand negative environmental conditions that allow insects to survive in various climatic zones.