There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world. Ants are social insects; they live in large colonies or groups. Depending on the species, ant colonies can consist of millions of ants. There are three kinds of ants in a colony: The queen, the female workers, and males.
The queen and the males have wings, while the workers don’t have wings. The queen is the only ant that can lay eggs. The male ant’s job is to mate with future queen ants and they do not live very long afterwards. Once the queen grows to adulthood, she spends the rest of her life laying eggs! Depending on the species, a colony may have one queen or many queens.
Ant colonies also have soldier ants that protect the queen, defend the colony, and attack enemy colonies in search for food and nesting space.
If they defeat another ant colony, they take away eggs of the defeated ant colony. When the eggs hatch, the new ants become the "slave" ants for the colony. Some jobs of the colony include taking care of the eggs and babies, gathering food for the colony and building the anthills or mounds.
When ant colonies are moving or when they have found a source of food, ants leave a scent trail for other ants to follow, and this happens when an ant secretes a chemical called a pheromone.
An ant's antennae are also very special…they allow the ant to hear, taste, touch and smell…ants use their antennae to touch one another, which is the way they communicate.
Some special facts:
1- An ant has eyes that allow them to see extremely well because of the many lenses.
2- Ants don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through the same holes.
3- An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight. so if it was as big as normal human it could lift a car.
4- Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies!
5- When ants fight, it is usually to the death!
6- When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. Queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce.