Not only does an ant need a stomach to digest its own food, but it also needs another stomach to share food with its family. Its 2 stomachs are:
- Social stomach: Food to be shared with other members of a colony
- Personal stomach: for their own personal food digestion
With their stomachs, ants play an important role as decomposers and predators. They help to break down dead plant material and insects and are also known to farm other insects, such as aphids, for the sweet honeydew they produce
Ant Body Parts Facts
- 3-part body: a head, mesosoma, gaster (or metasoma), and 6 legs. But what separates them from most other insects anatomically is the waist segment known as the petiole
- Compound eyes, which are capable of detecting light
- Simple eyes, which detect light and dark.
- Antennae: use for touch and smell, and a pair of
- Mandibles: use to manipulate objects and bite.
- Cold-blooded: they are unable to produce their own body heat like humans, other mammals, and birds. Their body temperature fluctuates with that of their environment.
Weird, but Socially Smart...
Even though they have odd anatomy, ants are social insects and live in colonies, with a highly organized social structure. Each colony has
- A Queen Ant: whose sole purpose is to lay eggs
- Worker Ants (Carpenter Ants): perform tasks such as foraging for food and caring for the young.
- 2 types of Ant Warfare (army ants)
- ants that sting
- ants that spray formic acid
They communicate using pheromones, chemical signals that are used to mark trails and convey information about food sources and nest locations
Overall, the biology of ants is complex and fascinating, with their highly organized social structure, unique anatomy and physiology, and important role in the ecosystem.
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