Fact 1: There are about 13,000 species of ants on Earth, and another 600 or so are fossils. Over tens of millions of years, only a small number have become extinct, indicating that evolution has perfectly adapted these insects to survive. It is the extinct species of ants that include the largest of them, the Formiciinae. They reached 4-7 cm in length and 15 cm in wingspan.
Fact 2: Scientists have calculated that there are about 10 quadrillion ants (that is, 10,000,000 billion!) on Earth. According to the same calculation, they account for about 15% of the biomass of all terrestrial fauna on our planet. These insects are everywhere, they just spend most of their lives underground, which is why we don't see them.
Fact 3: The first species appeared on Earth about 130 million years ago. The largest living species are up to 5 cm in length (only uterus, the rest are noticeably smaller), and the smallest grow to only 2 mm. In some countries, by the way, they are consumed as food, mainly in Asia and somewhere in Africa.
Fact 4: Foraging ants train their young. When the foraging troop leaves the anthill for prey, it is the "mentor" who first collects it or attacks the potential victim. Young ants copy his actions and remember them, repeating them later on their own.
Fact 5: All ants live in colonies that consist of tens and hundreds of thousands of individuals and sometimes millions. Fact 5: All ants live in colonies, which may range in size from tens of thousands of individuals to hundreds of millions of individuals.
Fact 6: The nature of the ant queen, or uterus, is unique. Usually there is only one uterus in each colony, which differs from the working individuals mainly in size. She makes only one flight in her life, which results in her mating - also only once, as she uses up the sperm supply she receives throughout her life. After mating, the uterus bites off its wings and remains forever in the depths of the anthill, producing only offspring.
Fact 7: Almost all of the ants you see outside are females that develop from fertilized eggs. The role of males in these insects is limited to fertilizing females, so the ant colony hardly needs them - soon after they are born, they grow wings, mate, and then die. Ordinary worker ants and soldier ants, which form the basis of any colony, are all female. Males sometimes live only a few weeks, queens up to 20 years, and all others from a few months to 2-3 years.
Fact 8: It is often said that ants are the strongest animals on Earth, and it's true when you consider their mass and size. They are capable of lifting and moving 1,000 to 5,000 times their own weight. The exact figure depends on their particular species.
Fact 9: About 250 species of birds on Earth engage in mooching. This word refers to the behavior when they "bathe" in ant holes so that ants can get under their feathers and remove various parasites.
Fact 10: Ants orient themselves mostly by smell, and each colony has its own smell. A stranger from another colony of the same species smells different and is perceived as an enemy or even potential prey.