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Worker Ants facts

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The common black garden ant queen has an average lifespan of 15 years, with some living up to around 30. And while under laboratory conditions, workers can live at least 4 years. Watch your step!

Ants can combine multiple colonies into "Supercolonies" which contain multiple queens. One of the largest on record included an estimated 306 million worker ants and one million queen ants living in 45,000 interconnected nests.

In my opinion, it is useful to put together a list of the most interesting details from trusted sources that I've come across. Here are 31 of the best facts about Worker Ants I managed to collect.

  1. There is a species of ant that will infiltrate a fire ant colony, kill the queen, then take her place. The workers raise the impostor's children, which then fly off to infest more colonies. They are being considered as a biological method to control the spread of fire ants.

  2. Marauder ants have a special class of "supermajors" which they will ride like a bus to work, or into battle like elephant Calvary. These large class of ants in the colony serve as living heavy duty tools for the much smaller workers.

  3. There is a species of ant that breeds none of it's own workers, but instead steals eggs from other ant species, forcing them into slavery to work and feed their colony.

  4. Ants of the species Conomyrma bicolor pick up stones and other small objects with their mandibles and drop them down the vertical entrances of rival colonies, allowing workers to forage for food without competition.

  5. A single worker ant takes 250 naps each day, with each one lasting just over a minute

  6. While that the average black garden worker ant lives between 1-2 years, the queen ant can live for up to 28 years.

  7. all ants you see outside the nest (workers, soldiers) etc are female. Male ants are usually small drones who hang around the nest, mate with the queen and then die shortly after.

  8. Phengaris rebeli is a species of parasite butterfly whose larvae mimic ant larvae so worker ants feed them. They also mimic queen ants' sound and ascend to highest social ranks. Researchers once saw larvae attacked by queen ants, upon which ant workers attacked their own queens to save bflies.

  9. All ants that can be seen in the wild are female workers.

  10. Some species of ants and aphids have a symbiotic relationship, where the ants stroke the aphids to poop 'honeydew' to feed their workers, then protect them from predators.

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Black garden worker ants live ~4 years, yet the queen can live ~29 years. Studying this has helped inform the understanding of ageing, revealing higher expression of DNA and protein repair genes in queens. - source

A single species of Argentine ant has been introduced to many different parts of the world, forming mega colonies whose workers will not attack each other, even if they are from different continents - source

After the queen dies, some female ants become worker queens. They look like ordinary workers, but undergo extreme internal changes (dopamine): their brains shrink by 25%; their ovaries expand to fill their abdomens; and their life expectancy jumps from about 6 months to several years or more

There is kind of ant, the honeypot ant, which has a special kind of worker that is gorged on honey and then serves as a 'living larder,' from which other ants extract nourishment - source

Ants live in the colonies that consist of workers (females), drones (males) and queen. Workers collect food and take care of the nest, young members of the colony and queen. Drones are responsible for the fertilization of queen, whose main duty is to lay thousands of eggs and keep colony alive.

A gamergate is a mated worker ant that can reproduce sexually.

Even in the absence of the queen ant, worker ants can organise themselves to provide food for the colony. In fact, increases in group size alone, even in the absence of division of labor, can benefit small ant colonies, providing clues into how social behaviour among humans may have evolved.

The ant species pheidologeton diversus, which has the largest same-colony size difference of any species of ants. Soldiers are 500 times the size of workers, both working together to kill and consume prey.

About the ant species Pheidole obtusospinos which worker caste system includes super majors with enlarged heads. When attacked by army ants this caste blocks the entrances whit their head until they give up.

Interesting facts about worker ants

During heavy rain Bamboo ant workers block the nest entrances with their heads to reduce water influx. However, rainwater may still intrude into the nest chamber. The ants respond by drinking the water, leaving the nest and excreting (urinating en mass) water droplets on the outer stem surface

Polyergus ants have lost the "behavioral wiring" necessary to carry out rudimentary brood care, or feed themselves. "Raiders" steal pupae from nearby Formica colonies and carry them back to their own nest. Back in the Polyergus nest, Formica workers are hatched and domesticated for colony upkeep

When a pathogen enters a colony, ants change their behavior to avoid an outbreak. In this way, they protect the queen, brood, and young workers. The cliques among ants become even stronger, and contact between cliques is reduced. Foragers interact more with foragers, and nurses more with nurses.

Ants are amazing hard workers (@0:32 in video)

Honeypot ants can war against each other. The winning army would kill the workers of the rival colony, dispatch the queen, then carry home the honeypots.

Bullet Ants are the second biggest ant in the planet, workers reach 18-30 mm long

40% of worker ants does nothing are used as food for other ants during emergency cannibalistic time. Credits: r/palmfranz

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