Ant is an insect that often crawls unnoticed. There are several other interesting insects you might find more fascinating but, not an ant. They are just boring. Right? Wrong. Just take a look of some mind blowing facts about them and you will definitely say, is there anything which ants are not capable of?
1. An Ant is classified as terrestrial Arthropod, an invertebrate insect with exoskeleton belonging from Formicidae family. They are living on earth from the mid-Cretaceous period to still now and survived the ice age also.
2. There are around 12000 species of ants has been identified. Almost all of them are colonial. About 50,000-2,00,000 members live in a colony. Sometimes they create super colony by connecting multiple colonies. One such massive colony was found in Europe which stretched from Spain to Italy, almost 2500 miles long.
3. Ants have enormous strength, even they are the strongest creature on the planet considering their body size. They can lift up-to 50 times their own body weight and can support 5000 times as well. It’s like you are lifting a school bus or doing bench-press with 150 minivans.
4. They can’t hear as they don’t have ears. But, they do feel vibration by organs present on their knees and antennas. They use this technique to alarm others at time of danger.
5. Ants have 2 stomachs. Not because they have huge appetite but, one stomach they use to digest the meal whereas another stomach is use to store food and feed others. This adaptation make them very efficient in their colonial work division behavior.
6. They can’t smell. They use a chemical trail known as Pheromone. This trail can be identified by other members and get followed. They use to communicate by Pheromone at times of foraging for food, traveling together or return to their nest.
7. Their Colonies are highly disciplined. All members have their assigned work. Guard ants do guard their nest, worker ants do clean trash from their nest, search for food, feed the babies. In a colony, Queen ant and Drone ants (males) have only one job, to mate. Eventually the males get died in few days after mating. It is very wonderful to see that ants also yawn and stretch their arms or legs after hard work or while wake up as humans do.
8. Ants can live up-to 30 years, making them the longest living insects in animal kingdom.
9. Despite of being the smallest creature Ants are the smartest insects out there. There are around 2,50,000 brain cells in an Ant’s tiny body. They effectively communicate, divide their work and even can teach each other. Only 2 species of non mammal being can do this, and Ant is one of them. It has been calculated that, collective brain capability of 40,000 Ants is equal to a human brain.
10. They don’t have lungs, their body is so small to have a complex respiratory system. Instead they have small holes and tubes on the side of their body to breath. This adaptation is more practical than developing organs like lungs.
11. Ants can swim, they developed their own dog paddle technique to swim. Even if drowned they can survive underwater for more than a day. Their small holes used for breathing are very small that water can’t penetrate through.
12. There are mostly females in Ant colonies. The workers, soldiers are all females and all are sterile. Only the drones are male. The female about to get queen is known as Princess Ant.
13. Recently, a Leaf Cutter ant species has been found to be all females in colony. There are no males identified in their group. In fact they do reproduce by cloning themselves which is such an example of asexual being.
14. They can sense magnetic field of earth, and they use this sense for navigation.
15. All ant colonies have unique scent, which allows them to identify intruders and protect their nest. But, sometimes they do kidnap other ants or eggs which they later force to work as slaves.
16. There are around 1 million ants per human. Which means at any given time over 1 quadrillion ants are present on the planet. If it’s possible to weigh the total number of ants and humans, than ants will weigh much more.
17. The biggest ant on the planet is the Bullet ant found in Panama jungle, measuring up-to 1.6 inches, and the smallest is the Pharaoh ant measuring about 2 millimeters.
18. Ants harvested way before humans did. Some ant species generally harvest to feed on, they harvest a special type of fungus and let it grow. The process they developed is age old.
19. Australian Bulldog Ants have the most venomous bite in all ant species. Their venom can kill a human in just over 30 minutes. Since 1930, 3 human kills have been documented due to this ant species.
20. Fire Ants in Amazon forest can make bridge or raft like structures on water by linking their legs together, giving them extraordinary mobility in the jungle and waterways.
21. Bullet Ant bite is most painful among all kind of ants. Although their venom can’t kill a human but the effect can last over 24 hours. The bite feels like a shock getting from a 240volts electric socket, and even paralyses Tarantula spider in seconds.
22. On September 25 1999, a sky diver named Joan Murray was performing her dive when she faced the unthinkable. Her parachute malfunctioned and she fell on the ground with an impact speed of 80 miles an hour. Her total right side was broken and she went coma. But, eventually she landed on a Fire Ant’s nest and those ants bitten her for over 200 times. Insulting more over injury? No, actually the venom Solenopsin stimulated her nervous system and kept her heart beating. A miracle story isn’t it?
23. Their eggs are also interesting. If fertilized, the babies will be female and if not than the babies will be male.
24. Carpenter Ants can self destruct themselves to save others. When threatened they contract their muscles and organs to explode and spray toxic liquid at the enemy.
25. Zombies are like horror movie characters, right? Well not in the case of ants. A special species of fungus can attack an ant and stick to it’s under-body. It eats the soft tissues and take control over the victim’s body. The victim then bites a leaf and dies there so infection couldn’t get sprayed. Others in colony do have abilities to identify the victim and separate it from others.
26. Queen Ant’s body do release a chemical after she get died. This is to inform other members in the colony that queen had died, so they can give her a burial.