Ants are common insects. There are more than 12,000 kinds in the world. They are born, and live and work in a colony with many other ants.
An ant goes through four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa/cocoon and adult. An ant egg is about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. An egg is kidney-shaped and soft. It has a sticky surface. It can clump together with other eggs. This allows a group of eggs to be carried away quickly if danger occurs. Some eggs don't survive because they are eaten by other ants.
The ant egg cells divide for 7-14 days and a larva appears. The larva will shed its skin about 3 times. It eats constantly. It will get bigger each time it sheds. The larva sucks up the liquids from the food brought to it. Sometimes adult ants eat food and spit it up for the larva. The larva will also get hairier. It will have hooked-like hairs. These hairs allow groups of them to be picked up and carried like the eggs. A larva doesn't have any feet. It can bend a little towards food. Some types can also move along.
About 25 days later a larva changes into a pupa. It may look like a small white maggot or worm. Some types of ants don't have a pupa state. They will make a cocoon at the larva stage and become an adult. A larva makes its cocoon against a solid object like a wall or the ground. A new adult ant is light in color, but will get darker as it gets older. The total process from egg to adult may take a few weeks or months. It depends on the type of ant and where it lives.
Like other insects, ants have jointed legs, three body parts, and two antennae. The three body parts are covered by an exoskeleton. An exoskeleton is a skeleton located on the outside of their body. An ant's head contains its brain. It also holds two compound eyes, and pharynx (the start of the digestive system). The antennae are attached to the head, too. The mandibles (jaws) on his head can bite and chew food.
The thorax is the chest area. It is divided into 3 sections. There are 2 legs on each section. Muscles on the thorax make the legs move.
The abdomen is the third section of an ant's body. It is located at the rear of the insect. It contains the reproductive organs, the digestive tract and heart. Some ants have a stinger at the tip of the abdomen and can even eject poison from it. Ants do not have lungs. They breathe through holes all over their bodies. They 'hear' through their feet by feeling the vibrations from the ground.
Three kinds of ants live in a colony. Queens are ants who lay the eggs for the whole colony. They are bigger than other ants. They were fed more as larvae. They have wings. If a queen should die, the whole colony falls apart. There is no one to produce new ants. Female worker ants do not have wings. They gather food, clean and take care of the young ants. Males exist only to mate with the queen. They do no work and after a few weeks they die.
In summary, ants can sometimes be annoying insects. The four stages of development are egg, larva, pupa/cocoon and adult. The parts of an ant's body include an exoskeleton, mandibles, thorax, and abdomen. The three kind of ants live in a colony. The queen is the largest ant, has wings, and mate with the males. There are also female workers that gather food and take care of the young ants.
Heroic Ants - Online Games
E.O. Wilson Facts
An Ant's Day Off Quiz
Mazes For Kids
To link to this Ants page, copy the following code to your site: