How Many Species Of Ants Are There

How Many Species Of Ants Are There ?

Entomologists have discovered about 12,400 species of ants which are divided into various groups depending on their ways of life, physical features etc. Ants are the most highly developed social insects. They live everywhere on land except for extremely cold regions. The different kinds of ants vary in size for example the Australian bull ants are more than 2.5 centimeters long, whereas the Leaf cutting ants come in 3 to 4 sizes depending on their type.

Ants build many types of nests. Most species make their nests as an underground maze of interconnecting tunnels and chambers. Other species make their nests in the trunks and branches of the trees and even in the wooden beams of houses. Most ant nests have a lot of chambers for different purposes like nurseries, resting rooms for workers, queen and her eggs chamber, storage chamber etc.

At a certain time of the year males and the young queens leave their nests and go on a mating flight. After mating, the male goes away and dies, while the queen tears off her wings and begins to search for a nesting site and builds a new colony or returns to its original colony as an extra queen.

Some of the common species of ants are:

  • Harvester Ants: They collect and store seeds in special chambers and thus always have food supply. They build their nests as deep underground tunnels.
  • Army Ants: They are fierce hunters and prey chiefly on other insects. They live above the ground on do not build permanent nests. The name describes both Legionary ants which live in North and South America and the Driver ants, which live in the tropical regions of Africa.
  • Slave makers: These ants attack the nests of other ants to kidnap the pupae and after reaching adulthood they serve as their slaves.
  • Weaver Ants: These make nests from tree leaves which are held together by several ants while the others carry silk- spinning larvae across the edges which bind the leaves together.
  • Honey Ants: These ants gather honeydew from insects or plants. Some workers serve as living storage tanks for the colony.
  • Fire Ants: These are aggressive in nature and sting their prey repeatedly. They are omnivorous and have a very painful sting.
  • Thief Ants: These ants bust into the larger ants food supplies and steal them and escape through small tunnels.
  • Carpenter Ants: These live in wooden beams of houses, causes damage but do not eat them.

More Articles :

How Many Species Of Ants Are There North Carolina State University: Ants
http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/tutorial/Social/ants.html

Earth Life: The Ants
http://www.earthlife.net/insects/ants.html