Reproduction and developmental stages of ants

Reproduction and developmental stages of ants

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Ants live in large colonies, building anthills in their natural environment, and nests in residential buildings. The hierarchy of individuals is strictly established - at the head of the entire settlement is the uterus, which ensures regular replenishment of the community with new members.

The most numerous are workers who are engaged in construction and food extraction. And winged ants, males and females, once a year try to start a new anthill.

Development and reproduction

Responsible for the production of new individuals in the anthill is uterus, or queen... She never leaves the nest, and the worker ants are engaged in caring for her and obtaining food.


How do ants breed? Once a year, ants can breed, resulting in a large number of winged individuals - these are females and males, ready to mate. The process takes place in these insects during "flight". After mating, males usually die immediately. Those males who did not find or could not fertilize the female are either expelled from the anthill, or the worker ants themselves kill.

Fertilized females do not return in their anthill, and are looking for a place to create their own separate nest. There they lay their first eggs, which pupate after 2-3 weeks, and after 4-6 weeks the first workers emerge from them. After that, the females chew off their wings.

Before the appearance of worker ants, the female does not feed, but uses the contents of special fatty glands to support herself and the larvae.

With the advent of ordinary insects, they are already engaged in the search and delivery of food for the uterus and larvae. From this time on, the female ant carries out an almost continuous laying of eggs, and under favorable environmental conditions she can do this all year round and during wintering too.

Development types

The types of development of ants are very numerous. Ants are insects with a complete transformation cycle: an egg, a larva, a pupa, and an adult.

The first stage in the development of each ant is the egg. After the uterus has made a clutch, they are not kept individually, but in small groups.

At the end of the incubation period,
larvae emerge from the eggs, similar to small worms. Only at this stage of development does the insect constantly feed and grow in size. The small larvae are kept in groups, like eggs. Large - individually.

The next step in the formation of an ant is pupation. Before this, the larva completely stops absorbing food, and also secretes a ball of waste products, which can be seen at the end of the pupa in the form of a small black dot. There are species of ants whose larvae weave a cocoon for themselves at this stage.

The ant has a pupa, at the end of its stay in which, an adult formed individual appears. It cannot independently break through the walls and leave the cocoon, therefore, its relatives actively help the young insect in this. At first, such an ant has a colorless color, but after a few days its body takes on the correct shades for the species. From this point on, the ant no longer grows.

The entire cycle from an ant egg to an adult takes about a month.

Structure and brain

The structure and brain of the ant is quite complex. Despite the huge variety of ant species in the world, they all have a similar structure. In addition, worker ants always lack wings, females and males are winged.

The most common are forest and garden ants. Let us consider the features of the body structure of a female and male working ant using the example of a working individual. The body of the insect is covered with a strong outer chitinous membrane. It is clearly divided into three parts - abdomen, middle part and head. The latter can, depending on the species and type of ant, have a different structure.

On the head are the eyes, which consist of a large number of small lenses. However, they can only recognize the fact of movement, not objects. Also, in addition, the ant may have small additional eyes that determine the degree of illumination. How do ants communicate? On the head have antennae, which are designed to recognize smells, air currents, vibrations, communication through touch.

Some ants have a sting at the end of the abdomen, which is used for hunting or protection.

Insect limbs (3 on each side of the body) consist of three parts. At the ends there are special gripping claws, thanks to which the ant can easily climb vertical surfaces.

Did you know that ants have been living in symbiosis with insects like aphids for hundreds of years?

The aphids feed the ants with sweet syrup, and they, in turn, protect their "cash cows". Read everything about aphids on our website.

Gender of ants

The mechanism of sex determination in ants is designed so that females and working insects grow from fertilized eggs, and males from unfertilized eggs.

It's all about what the female commits in her life in nature only one flight, during which it is fertilized and stored with seminal fluid for the entire period of existence. She later uses it to fertilize eggs during their passage through the genital tract.

However, not all eggs are fertilized. Of those that did not receive their portion of the seed, in the future, males are obtained who have only one set of chromosomes - his mother. From fertilized eggs, either females or soldiers are obtained - this depends on the care of the larva and its nutrition.

Life span

The lifespan of an ant usually depends on its role in the nest.

Worker ants tend to live about 3-5 yearswhile smaller individuals live slightly longer than larger ones. Besides, lifespan depends from their employment in the anthill. So, the least of all are individuals who are engaged in caring for the queen and ant larvae, and most of all - those who perform internal work in the nest.

The life span of males is short, and usually is 2-3 weeks. They are called upon to perform the main function - to fertilize the female, after which the males either die immediately or are killed by their fellows when they return to the anthill.

REFERENCE! The uterus has the longest life, which can exist up to 20 yearsbut was fixed the maximum lifespan is 28 years.

Ants live in an anthill and have a clearly defined hierarchy. The uterus is the main one in the nest, this is a former fertilized female, which after that gnawed off her wings. Their lifespan is up to 20 years... Males live for about 2 weeks, during which they must find and fertilize a female.

Workers make up the bulk of the population of the anthill, and live, depending on the type of occupation, from 3 to 5 years. In addition, ants have natural enemies that can significantly shorten their lifespan.

So ants are insects with a full development cycle, from egg to adult, they have a rather complex brain structure and play a certain role in nature.

By the way, ants have many enemies in nature. Hedgehogs and birds, lizards and other reptiles can deal with a large number of individuals.

On our site you will find information about such enemies of ants as shrews and moles. Read detailed articles about these animals.

A photo

Next, you will see a photo of a female ants:

From the video you will learn how ants are born:

Useful materials

Further, you can get acquainted with articles that may be useful and interesting to you:

  • Ant extermination:
    1. How to get rid of red ants in an apartment?
    2. Boric acid and borax from ants
    3. Folk remedies for ants in an apartment and house
    4. Rating of effective remedies for ants in the apartment
    5. Ant traps
  • Ants in the garden:
    1. Ant species
    2. How do ants winter?
    3. Who are the ants?
    4. What do ants eat?
    5. The value of ants in nature
    6. Ant hierarchy: the ant king and structural features of the worker ant
    7. Ants with wings
    8. Forest and garden ants, as well as the reaper ant
    9. How to get rid of ants in the garden?

Watch the video: Why is this Male Ant Pulling His Own Wings Off? Natural World: Ant Attack. BBC Earth (May 2022).