Ants- more than meets the eye
There are 12,000 different species of Ant and they live on every continent apart from Antarctica .
They range in size from less than 1mm to over 50mm and can be red, black, green or metallic.
Ants hibernate in the winter.
Ants live in a society and work together to provide for their Queen.
Some Ants have little or no vision whereas others like the Australian Bulldog Ant have perfect vision.
This is why they have a pair of antennae- these are the feelers at front of their heads.
Ants have a pair of normal eyes and three extra eyes on top to detect light.
Queen and Male Ants have wings.
In an Ants nest there are different types of workers- the larger, stronger Ants have harder jobs whilst the smaller ones have easier jobs.
Ants communicate using their sense of smell.
When an Ant finds food it leaves a trail of smell for the others to follow. When the food in that area runs out they don’t use that trail again.
When an Ant is crushed it sends out an alarm smell to other Ants to let them know that it is in trouble.
Some Ants produce sounds to communicate within the colony or with other species.
Ants bite and sting to protect them-selves, the Bullet Ant of South and Central America is said to have the most painful insect bite.
Ants can carry over 50 times their own body weight.
The leaves they carry are used as bedding for the nest, they wait for the leaves to go mouldy to eat the mould.
Ants regularly clean their nest and collect fresh nest materials.
A species of Ants that live in trees respond to a flood in their nest by drinking the water, leaving the nest and excreting it outside.
Ants usually travel up to 200 metres away from their nest to find food.
To find their way back they use their smell, some use the Earths Magnetic Field (just like Snakes do), and others use the Sun.
A species of Ant in Australia can live on land as well as being able to swim and live under water in nests.
Ants work alongside lots of plants and trees to help spread their seeds.