ant : any of a family (formicidae) of colonial hymenopterous insects with a complex social organization and various castes performing special duties — Webster
Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous period, about 99 million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists.
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 mostly of sterile, wingless females forming castes of “workers”, “soldiers”, or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called “drones” and one or more fertile females called “queens”. The colonies are described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.
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 most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. 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. — Wikipedia
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Myrmecology is a branch of entomology focusing on the scientific study of ants. Some early myrmecologists considered ant society as the ideal form of society and sought to find solutions to human problems by studying them. Ants continue to be a model of choice for the study of questions on the evolution of social systems because of their complex and varied forms of eusociality (social organization). Their diversity and prominence in ecosystems also has made them important components in the study of biodiversity and conservation. Recently, ant colonies are also studied and modeled for their relevance in machine learning, complex interactive networks, stochasticity of encounter and interaction networks, parallel computing, and other computing fields. — Wikipedia
Ant keeping is a hobby involving the capture, care, and observation of ants and ant colonies. — Wikipedia
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- From fish to ants: 139 new species named in...on August 8, 2022 at 8:54 pm
In a win for biodiversity, CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, has revealed 139 new species were named and described by its researchers and partners in the past year. With only about 25 percent of Australia's species known to science, scientific names are vital for researchers, governments and the community to better understand the nation's vast ecosystems.
- Researchers reveal how an insect-eating plant...on August 2, 2022 at 11:00 pm
Scientists at the University of Bristol have uncovered the deadly workings of a carnivorous plant.
- How ballistic trap-jaw ants prevent...on July 22, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Most ants dexterously grasp and snip their food with a pair of chopstick-like mandibles. But trap-jaw ants are also capable of crashing their jaws together at blisteringly fast speeds, striking victims in 0.77 μs. Yet, unleashing such ballistic blows poses a risk. Animals that harness stored elastic energy like a catapult to hurl limbs at great speed—think leaping grasshoppers—are also in danger of tearing themselves apart if the limbs are not perfectly aligned. And few succeed in […]
- Ant colonies behave like neural networks when...on July 20, 2022 at 9:44 pm
Temperatures are rising, and one colony of ants will soon have to make a collective decision. Each ant feels the rising heat beneath its feet but carries along as usual until, suddenly, the ants reverse course. The whole group rushes out as one—a decision to evacuate has been made. It is almost as if the colony of ants has a greater, collective mind.
- In defense of antson July 15, 2022 at 3:19 pm
To the uninitiated there are two types of ants in the U.K.: the red ones that bite and black ants which invade our kitchens. Even more alarming is when hundreds of local ant colonies swarm and create a regional "flying ant day."
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