Ants are common insects with some unusual skills. There are about 10,000 known ant species on the planet and have been the subject of several TV shows and films. Here are some interesting facts about this incredible species:
1. Ants have no lungs
Ants do not have the space to handle a complex respiratory system like ours due to their small size. They take in oxygen through spiracles, which are a series of openings along the sides of their bodies. A spiracle leads to a trachea, or air tube. This tracheal system helps ants in delivering oxygen throughout their bodies and removing carbon dioxide during respiration. The oxygen that is delivered through the air tubes dissolves in the tracheoles, which are unique liquid-filled cells that aid in the delivery of oxygen to other cells.
2. Male ants have basically one job—mating with the queen
Ant colonies are led by a queen or queens, whose job is to lay thousands of eggs to ensure the colony's survival. Workers (the ants we see) are wingless females who never breed and instead search for food, look after the queen's progeny, work on the nest, guard the colony, and perform a variety of other tasks. Male ants usually only have one job—to mate with the queen. After they’ve completed this task, they may die.
3. An ant has two stomachs
If you pay close attention to ants, you'll notice that they occasionally appear to be kissing. But this isn't a display of affection; one ant actually feeds the other from its second stomach. Ants have two stomachs: one in which they store and consume their own food, and another in which they store food to share with other ants. This allows the colony to function more efficiently since foraging ants may feed those that stay behind to tend to the nest or queen.
4. Ants have no ears, and some of them have no eyes!
Ants "listen" by sensing ground vibrations through their feet, while eyeless ants, such as the driver ant species, communicate by using their antennae! Plus, they can communicate with other ants by releasing chemical signals (called pheremones) via their bodies! When danger approaches, they send out warnings, leave pheremone trails leading to food sources, and even use them to attract a partner — sort of like an ant love potion!
5. Ants have incredible strength
Most ants can carry 10 to 50 times their own weight. However, The Asian weaver ant has the incredible ability to lift 100 times its own weight. Ants are extremely powerful on a small scale due to their light bodies. Inside their hard exoskeletons, their muscles aren't required to give much support, so they can use all of their strength to lift other things. On the other hand, muscles in humans support the body weight, thus they don't have as much strength to raise other items.