10 cool facts about ants!
They may be small, but boy are these little critters powerful!
Check out our ten favourite facts about ants that are guaranteed to blow your mind…
1. There are over 12,000 ant species worldwide
Ranging from the ant you might find scuttling across your picnic to the ants building underground fortresses in the rainforest, to flying ants!
2. The bullet ant is said to have the most painful sting in the world!
Living in humid jungle conditions such as the Amazon, their sting has been compared to being hit by a bullet – ouch!
3. Fire ants cause over £3 billion worth of damage a year!
North America’s red imported fire ant might only be little, but the tiny critters have a painful bite which causes a burning sensation – hence the name “fire ant”, which costs the US millions in veterinary and medical bills every year! They’ve also been known to cause damage to farmer’s crops.
4. Ants are the longest living insects
Unlike some bugs who might only live for days or even hours, the queen ant of one particular species – the Pogonomyrmex Owyheei – can live up to 30 years – so be careful not to stand on her!
5. The ant is one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to its size
A single ant can carry 50 times its own bodyweight, and they’ll even work together to move bigger objects as a group!
6. Ants hold the record for the fastest movement in the animal kingdom
The aptly named species of trap jaw ant, can close its jaws at 140mph, which it uses to kill its prey or injure predators. Image if that bit you on the bum!
7. Ants can be found on every single continent except Antarctica
Ironic really, when you consider the name…
8. Ants are social insects which live in colonies
The colony, also called a formicary, is made up of one or more egg-laying queens and a large amount of female “worker” ants who tend to her, build and maintain the nest, forage for food and and care for the young.
Male ants have wings and their only function is to mate with the queen.
9. Ants don’t have ears, and some of them don’t have eyes!
Ants “listen” by feeling vibrations from the ground through their feet, and eye-less ants such as the driver ant species can communicate by using their antennae!
Plus, they can send chemical signals (called pheremones) released through their body to send messages to other ants! They send out warnings when danger’s near, leave trails of pheremones leading to food sources and even use them to attract a mate – a sort of ant love potion!
10. The largest ant’s nest ever found was over 3,700 miles wide!
Found in Argentina in 2000, the ginormous colony housed 33 ant populations which had merged into one giant supercolony, with millions of nests and billions of workers!