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**Ant Morphology and Evolution:**
– Ants have geniculate antennae, metapleural glands, and a node-like petiole.
– Their body is divided into head, mesosoma, and metasoma segments.
– Ants evolved from vespoid wasp ancestors in the Cretaceous period.
– Fossil records show the oldest ants date back to around 100 million years ago.
– Ants diversified extensively during the Angiosperm Terrestrial Revolution.

**Ant Distribution and Ecological Impact:**
– Ants have a cosmopolitan distribution, except in Antarctica and a few large islands.
Ant abundance peaks in moist tropics, being six times higher than less suitable habitats.
– Ants contribute significantly to global biomass, estimated at 12 megatons of dry carbon.
– Ants play essential roles in ecosystems as herbivores, predators, and scavengers.
– Ants are crucial for biodiversity studies as indicator species.

**Ant Behavior and Social Structure:**
– Ants communicate using pheromones, sounds, and touch.
Ant colonies have physical castes of workers, including minor, median, major ergates, macrergates, and micrergates.
– Ants have complex social structures and problem-solving abilities.
– Foragers can lead nest-mates to food through tandem running.
Ant species exhibit diverse reproductive strategies.

**Ant Nesting and Reproduction:**
– Most ant species have single-nest colonies with one or more queens.
Ant species build complex nests or remain nomadic.
– Some females reproduce asexually through thelytokous parthenogenesis.
Ant colonies may have multiple queens or exist without queens.
– Some ant species form supercolonies with large populations.

**Ant Interactions and Adaptations:**
– Ants form symbiotic relationships with various species, like aphids and myrmecophilous caterpillars.
– Some ants cultivate specific species of fungus for survival.
– Ants protect aphids from predators and move them to new feeding locations.
– Ants alter decomposition rates and nutrient cycling in their nests.
– Some ants prey on other social insects, including termites, while others have evolved associations with host plants and sticky fungus for trapping insect prey.

Ant (Wikipedia)

Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from vespoid wasp ancestors in the Cretaceous period. More than 13,800 of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their geniculate (elbowed) antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists.

Temporal range: 100–0 Ma Late Albian – Present
Fire ants
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Infraorder: Aculeata
Superfamily: Formicoidea
Family: Formicidae
Latreille, 1809
Type species
Formica rufa
Cladogram of



















A phylogeny of the extant ant subfamilies.
*Cerapachyinae is paraphyletic
‡ The previous dorylomorph subfamilies - Ecitoninae, Aenictinae, Aenictogitoninae, Cerapachyinae, Leptanilloidinae - were synonymized under Dorylinae by Brady et al. in 2014

Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist of various castes of sterile, wingless females, most of which are workers (ergates), as well as soldiers (dinergates) and other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called "queens" (gynes). The colonies are described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.

Ants gathering food (video)

Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in moist tropical ecosystems and may exceed the combined biomass of wild birds and mammals. Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.

Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study. Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication, and rites. Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents. Their ability to exploit resources may bring ants into conflict with humans, however, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) of South America, are regarded as invasive species in other parts of the world, establishing themselves in areas where they have been introduced accidentally.

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