The Amazing Life of Ants

Andrey Pavlov, Russian photographer, creates these marvelous macro photographs of ants living their life just as some rural dwellers.

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In many ways, ants can outwit, outlast, and outplay humans. Their complex, cooperative societies enable them to survive and thrive in conditions that would challenge the individual. Here are 10 fascinating facts about ants that just might convince you they’re superior to us.

Compared to the ants, if only man can work as hard there won’t be any worry about productive economy or democracy – for we just work for the Queen & the well-being of the community. If a man could run as fast for his size as an ant can he could run as fast as a racehorse.

Also, the average life expectancy of an ant is about 45-60 days. The ant has two eyes, each eye is made up of many smaller eyes and are called compound eyes.

There are over 10000 known species of ants. Each ant colony has at least one or more queens. The job of the Queen is to lay eggs which the worker ants look after. Worker ants are sterile, they look for food, look after the young and defend the nest from unwanted visitors.

Ants are clean and tidy insects. Some worker ants are given the job of taking out the rubbish from the nest and dumping them outside. Below are more amazing facts to fascinate you:

  1. Ants despite their diminutive size are capable of carrying objects 50 times their own body weight with their mandibles. If we had muscles in the same proportions as ants, we’d be able to heave a Hyundai over our heads!2.

  2. Soldier ants use their heads to plug the entrances to their nests and keep intruders from gaining access.
 Recognition as belonging to the same colony is through touching their heads.

3. Certain ant species defend plants in exchange for food and shelter.

4. The total biomass of all the ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all the people on Earth. Scientists estimate there are at least 1.5 million ants on the planet for every human being.

5. Ants sometimes herd or tend to insects of other species, like aphids or leafhoppers.
Ants will do just about anything to get the sugary secretions of sap-sucking insects, called honeydew so as to keep the sweet stuff in close supply.

6. Ants will enslave other ants, keeping them captive and making them do work for the colony.

7. Ants lived alongside the dinosaurs.
This is evidenced by the finding of fossils of ants, leading scientists to estimate the appearance of ants on Earth as somewhere around 130 million years ago.

8. Ants started farming long before humans. The earliest evidence suggests ants began farming as early as 70 million years ago, in the early Tertiary period. Even more amazing, these ants used sophisticated horticultural techniques to enhance their crop yields. They secreted chemicals with antibiotic properties to inhibit mold growth, and devised fertilisation protocols using manure.

9. Some ants form “super colonies,” massive communities of ants that can stretch for thousands of miles.
 Each ant colony has a distinctive chemical profile that enables members of the group to recognise each other, and alerts the colony to the presence of strangers. Scientists recently discovered that massive super colonies in Europe, North America, and Japan all share the same chemical profile, meaning they are, in essence, a global super colony of ants.

10. Ants follow scent trails laid by scout ants to gather food.
By following pheromone trails created by other ants from the colony, foraging ants can gather and store food efficiently.

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