Ants are one of the most incredible living beings on the planet, they are insects with a very fascinating social structure, even for humans.
Ants play a fundamental role in the whole ecosystem, their behavior and prowess make them one of the most popular insects in the world.
Here are 10 interesting facts and behaviors of ants.
1-Carrying other dead ants
Ants have the habit of carrying and transporting other dead ants, this is due to the fact that ants are very protective and careful of their nest and ‘bury’ the bodies of their dead companions as far away as possible from the nest location.”
Ants, similar to humans, always have a kind of ” graveyard” where they gather all the ants that have died, and they bring sticks and rocks to the place.
Ants make their cemeteries, but they do not perform funerals or any kind of ritual where they deposit their deceased companions, it is just an act of pure practicality.
2- Ants helping each other
Very similar to the first case where ants can carry other dead ants, it can also be the case of ants helping other ants that are injured or in danger.
This is not precisely because ants are altruistic, in fact, ants can be considered one of the most pragmatic of all living things.
Individualistic behavior in ants is practically nonexistent, their actions are mechanically focused to work in society, helping other ants is the best thing for the colony.
When an ant is injured or in imminent danger, they produce a type of pheromone that sends a kind of help signal to the other ants.
3-Killing an ant attracts others
When an ant dies, it excretes from its body an oleic acid, this chemical substance will attract other ants, the body of the dead, and begins to expel this substance until the rest of the community detects it and undertakes the work of recovery of the corpse.
The oleic acid released by the ants when they enter the “state of decomposition” sends an automatic signal to the other ants that will immediately go to pick up the dead ant.
This is why it is not recommended to crush the ants, this will only attract other ants, maybe not immediately, but eventually, a dead ant will attract its companions by releasing the chemical substance in its body.
4-Citrus smells repel ants
Ants tend to use chemical odors that they secrete from their own bodies to guide and communicate with each other, they have an extremely sensitive sense of smell, citrus odors, being strong smells, can repel and confuse ants.
The citrus in the lemon will confuse ants and disturb their sense of direction. In the same spray bottle mixing equal parts of vinegar and water and using the same procedure as with the lemon.
The smell of vinegar repels ants instantly and suppresses the traces of odor that they usually leave behind to orient themselves.
5-War between ants
Although ants can be very social and cooperative, they can also be at war with other ant colonies, some types of ants live in very cohesive colonies that are home to thousands of members.
These ants battle with those of other colonies for the acquisition of valuable resources such as territory or food, their ability to war is enhanced by their strong loyalty to the colony.
6-Ants have a strange smell
Everything in the ant world is based on teamwork and communication through excretion and odor detection. Ants use formic acid, in fact, formic comes from Formica, which is the name of a genus of ants, very commonly to help them mark trails.
In high concentrations, formic acid, which can be dangerous, releases a vinegar-like scent.
7-Ants use their antennas to sense odor
Previously we mentioned that the world of ants is governed and guided by odors, but, have you ever wondered how ants can smell being insects, it turns out that ants can smell through their antennae, these antennae are prepared to perceive a large number of odors that may be imperceptible to humans.
Through odors and with their antennae, ants are able to trace paths, collect information about their environment, distinguish between friends and enemies and collect a lot of information in their surroundings.
8-Ants are super strong
This is a very well-known fact because ants spend their time carrying objects, on many occasions, these objects are usually much larger in size proportion to the ants.
Ants are probably among the strongest living creatures on Earth. While their strength varies between species, some can lift between 10 and 50 times their own weight.
9-Ants in groups move in a line to forage
Ants’ paths are marked by odors (pheromones). If an ant discovers a source of food, it heads for its nest and spreads a scent trail along the way, thus stimulated, the other ants also set off and follow the existing scent trail.
Once an ant has discovered a lucrative source of food, it marks the way to the food with fragrances. The more attractive the food supply, the more the route is used, and the more intense the signal scent. An ant road is created.
In case the ants’ path is interrupted by some other strong odor, the ants usually lose the scent trail with which they have marked the way for themselves and their comrades, and then they can no longer find the food source.
According to several studies on the climbing ability of ants, it has been shown that the ends of the ants’ legs secrete a thin layer of liquid that increases the contact between the pretarsus and the surface on which they walk.
With this, ants fill the remaining gaps and this makes their legs act as an adhesive under the principles of capillarity (surface tension) and viscosity.