The facts about ants and their types


The ant is one of the most common insects, with around 12500 species throughout the world.Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants.

Ants are social insects and live in large organized communities known as colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. The queen leads the community and they are fertile females, the fertile males called "drones" fertilize her and the workers work for the community.

Ants can be foind almost everywhere in the world except the extremely cold areas and line in variety of habitats depending on the species. Ants are found on all continents except Antarctica, and only a few large islands such as Greenland, Iceland, parts of Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands lack native ant species. Some species make hole in the soil or wood, while others live in the cavities made inside the plants, acrons, twigs and galls.

Ants range in size from 0.75 to 52 millimetres the largest species being the fossil Titanomyrma giganteum, the queen of which was 6 centimetres long with a wingspan of 15 centimetres. Ants vary in colour; most ants are red or black, but a few species are green and some tropical species have a metallic lustre.

Most queens and male ants have wings; queens shed the wings after the nuptial flight, leaving visible stubs, a distinguishing feature of queens. However, wingless queens and males occur in a few species.

Ant colonies can be long-lived. The queens can live for up to 30 years, and workers live from 1 to 3 years. Males, however, are more transitory, and survive only a few weeks.

Complex nests are built by many ants, but other species are nomadic and do not build permanent structures.

Ants feed on variety of foods, primaryly nectar, seeds, fungus that grows only within their colonies and other insects and even dead animals.

More types of ants are listed below.


Meat Ant

Meat ants , also known as meat-eater ants or gravel ants, are a species of ant belonging to the Iridomyrmex genus. They can be found throughout Australia.

Meat ants live in underground nests of over 64,000 ants. Many nests may be connected together into a supercolony that stretches up to 650 metres . Nest holes are regularly arranged, and each leads to a separate series of branched tunnels, which typically do not connect with the tunnels from other holes.

Meat ants are omnivorous scavengers that get their name from their use, by farmers, to clean carcasses. Meat ants are diurnal.

Meat ants do not have dedicated soldier and worker castes like some ants. Instead they exhibit age caste polyethism, meaning that they take on different roles in the colony at different ages.


Weaver Ant

Weaver ants or Green ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae. Weaver ants are obligately arboreal and are known for their unique nest building behaviour where workers construct nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk. Colonies can be extremely large consisting of more than a hundred nests spanning numerous trees and contain more than half a million workers.

The major workers are approximately eight to ten millimeters in length and the minors approximately half the length of the majors. There is a division of labour associated with the size difference between workers. Major workers forage, defend, maintain and expand the colony whereas minor workers tend to stay within the nests where they care for the brood and 'milk' scale insects in or close to the nests.

These ants are highly territorial and workers aggressively defend their territories against intruders.


Jack Jumper Ant

The jack jumper ant, hopper ant, jumper ant or jumping jack, is a species of bull ant that is native to Australia.

These ants are black or red and black, and may have yellow or orange legs, antennae and mandibles. They are 10-12 mm long. Their characteristic jumping motion when in an agitated state gave them their name.

Jack jumper ants are carnivores and scavengers. They sting their victims with venom that is similar to stings of wasps, bees, and fire ants. Their venom is one of the most powerful in the insect world. Jack jumper ants are proven hunters; even wasps are hunted and devoured. These ants have excellent vision, which aids them in hunting.


Bullet Ant

Bullet ant also known as the lesser giant hunting ant or conga ant named on account of its powerful and potent sting, which is said to be as painful as being shot with a bullet. It inhabits humid lowland rainforests from Nicaragua south to Paraguay.

The pain caused by this insect's sting is purported to be greater than that of any other Hymenopteran, and is ranked as the most painful.

Workers are 18–30 mm long and resemble stout, reddish-black, wingless wasps. The queen is not much larger than the workers.


Fire Ant

Fire ants are a variety of stinging ants with over 285 species worldwide. They have several common names including ginger ants, tropical fire ants and red ants.

Fire ants can be distinguished from other ants by their copper brown head and body with a darker abdomen.

Fire ants bite only to get a grip and then sting (from the abdomen) and inject a toxic alkaloid venom called solenopsin, a compound from the class of piperidines. For humans, this is a painful sting, a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire, hence the name fire ant, and the after effects of the sting can be deadly to sensitive individuals.


Army Ant

The name army ant is applied to over 200 ant species, in different lineages, due to their aggressive predatory foraging groups, known as "raids", in which huge numbers of ants forage simultaneously over a certain area, attacking prey en masse.

In their raids, army ants follow two patterns: column raids and swarm attacks. In column raid, the swarm members separate to the sides of the main route and make small foraging groups, similar to a tree with its branches. The individual side paths can be widely separated from one another. In swarm attack they, too, have a main route in the beginning which is then separated out into many branches in a form like an umbel, but their side paths are close together and may cross each other many times, so that the individual teams effectively cover a large area. In this way the column can fan itself out to a width of up to 20 metres.


Leafcutter Ant

Leafcutter ants are of tropical, fungus-growing ants are all endemic to South, Central America, Mexico and parts of the southern United States.

Next to humans, leafcutter ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth. In a few years, the central mound of their underground nests can grow to more than 30 metres across, with smaller, radiating mounds extending out to a radius of 80 metres, taking up 30 to 600 square metres and containing eight million individuals.


Gliding Ant

Gliding ants are arboreal ants of several different genera that are able to control the direction of their descent when falling from a tree. Living in the rainforest canopy like many other gliders, gliding ants use their gliding to return to the trunk of the tree they live on should they fall or be knocked off a branch.

In a typical fall a descent by a gliding ant is "J-shaped". The ant will first randomly descend three or four meters in free fall then visually lock on to the tree trunk it wishes to land on. The glide ant then while exhibiting a sort of parachuting behavior to slow its fall uses its flatten head, hind legs and abdomen like wings or a parachute to make a rapid adjustment to point its abdomen (or head) towards the tree trunk. The ant then turns upside down and lands on the trunk, head facing the earth.


Amazon Ant

Amazon ants, is a small genus of 6 described species of "slave-raiding" ants. Its workers are incapable of caring for brood, in part due to their dagger-like, piercing mandibles.

Amazon ant species subsist solely as a specialized brood-acquiring caste, maintaining a worker force by robbing brood of particular species in the closely related genus Formica in massive colony-to-colony raids.

A lone Amazon ant queen invades a nest of the host species, or encounters and moves in with a colony-founding queen of the host species and her first few workers. In the latter case, the host queen is allowed to survive until she has reared a number of host workers, something the Amazon ant queen cannot do herself. A young Amazon ant queen kills the existing Formica queen immediately if sufficient workers are present, later if these are not yet reared)and becomes accepted by the Formica workers.

Sahara Desert Ant
Red Bull Ant
Honeypot Ant
Rover Ant
Sugar Ant
Valentine Ant
Fungus Growing Ant
Pharaoh Ant