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38

There will always be a tradeoff in terms of resource allocation between reproduction and self maintenance. Since worker ants forego reproduction to perform other roles (gathering resources, caring for young etc.) within the colony, it makes sense that this would favour a longer lifespan. This idea works for most animals (i.e. higher reproduction = lower ...


33

I believe that MattDMo's hypothesis is incorrect. Only one group of ants, the Attini tribe, cultivates fungus as a food source. This group is exclusively a New World group, thought to have originated in the Amazon rainforest and spread out from there. I see from your profile that you are located in India, which is outside the range of the fungus-...


29

Short answer Do ants really find the shortest path to a food source? No! But they can find a decent path Longer answer Optimization algorithms are used to search through a possibility space that is too large to explore every single possibility. Such algorithms attempt to find a good enough solution, often without necessarily knowing how 'good' the ...


22

There are a number of papers studying the ability of fungi to metabolize keratin, the primary structural component of nails (as well as skin and hair). Ants are also known to cultivate fungi for nutrients, so this may simply be a case where the ants are bringing food for their "farm animals."


13

Certainly ants evolved from insects that could fly. All the earliest wasps (ants are specialized wasps) could fly. Building and maintaining wings is expensive in terms of energy. That's an obvious evolutionary advantage to not having wings. So if there's insufficient benefit from having wings then there's selective pressure against having wings.


11

Well, first off, they have eyes, so there's that. However, a lot of what ants wish to achieve can be done through a combination of a random walk and chemical trails. When ants are exploring their surroundings, they are essentially wandering about without much in terms of a sense of purpose; laying down a chemical signature as they go. When they find ...


10

Ants follow odor cues in the wind. A study by Wolf and Wehner (2000) manipulated ant antennae and wind direction to show that ants followed odor plumes on the wind. A more recent study by Buehlmann et al. (2014) showed that desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis cued in on linoleic acid, a so-called necromone (death scent) released by dying insects. Here's a ...


10

Eating the dead makes far more likely you will catch whatever killed them. They transport and dispose of the dead for the same reasons we do, to reduce disease vectors. They dispose of their garbage for much the same reason, in fact they often dispose of both in the same place even if they separate the two in distinct piles. Hygiene is very important is ...


9

I believe every living organism (even single cell ones) experience pain somehow, because it is important to stay alive. The scientific answer depends on how you define pain... Related articles: Evidence suggests that some, if not all, invertebrates have the potential to suffer through current practices that do not take into consideration that ...


9

I have worked in hospitals (US) most of my life, treating both community-acquired, and more pertinently to this question, nosocomial (hospital acquired) infections, and have read many articles on the subject. I have never, ever seen ants mentioned anywhere. People, flies, cockroaches and rats, yes. Ants, no. However, ants are vectors in a few foreign ...


7

First you need to identify your ant, for Czech Ants: http://www.antweb.org/taxonomicPage.do?rank=species&project=czechants&images=true How should I feed and keep an ant queen? Home for Pet Ant, Ant Farm: There are lots of things you can use, for example, a clean transparent glass or plastic jar, or a fish tank of a size which you will decide is ...


7

Relatedness of ants within a colony vary from species to species (as different species may use different mating systems) and from colony to colony. I will consider a basic (simplified) model of a honeybee colony and describe it a little bit to try to address your question. Simplified Model of an ant colony There is quite a lot of diversity in mating ...


7

Probably a Ponerinae. (Wikipedia, AntWiki) It's not the easiest picture to work with, but here's what I did. Going by the location we have the following distribution of ant species in South Australia (see below, or here). A critical identification point is the petiole, bumpy segments on the thin part of the back of the ant. Your specimen appears to have ...


6

An ant colony is started by a queen ant (reference). Worker ants are sterile, and cannot start a new colony (reference). The ants in your luggage are worker ants (unless you have a colony in there :) ). The original queen ant never leaves her colony, but during a nuptial flight, new queen ants will land in (hopefully) good nesting sites. (reference) These ...


6

I've found that ants do not walk through petroleum jelly. It is also convenient, as it isn't too messy, and can be whatever shape you want. I use it to keep ants from climbing into my hummingbird feeders. Make sure the area you treat is wider than the ant is long.


6

Building on Noah Snyder's answer… Having wings could also be expensive in other ways. For example, energy aside, maybe the growth of wings relies on some special nutrients, which were scarce in the environment of the first ancestors of modern ants. So the ant colonies that grew smaller wings (or no wing at all) thrived. Having wings could also cost them ...


6

Ants can and do carry loads that are several times their own weight. I grew up in an area with a lot of ants, and a common scene was a long trail of ants acting as a food supply line. Once a morsel is located, they create a long feremone trail to that morsel. A large clump of ants is always working to break the food into smaller pieces, and several ants are ...


5

The species in the photo is a carpenter ant (Camponotus irritans), possibly C. i. hongkongensis. More info, photos, and video here.


5

In my opinion you are pretty close to the exact identification. I think it is Marauder Ant, which could be Pheidologeton diversus, but probably Carebara affinis as well. The main feature I can gother from your pictures is Venation of wings which matches with Pheidologeton diversus venation (it would probably match with affinis as well, but I failed to ...


5

Ants do have eyes, though how well (and even whether) they see depends on the ant. They also have brains. You aren't wrong to put quotes around "brain" since in many organisms the nervous system isn't as centralized as in vertebrates, and when they do have concentrations of neurons in various places ("ganglia") it isn't always in the head, and the one in ...


5

This is a really wonderful phenomenon. Ants disperse far and wide, but when one of them finds food, it brings it back to the nest, and in doing so leaves a pheromone trail. The next scout follows this trail, and finds the food, and then leaves a second pheromone trail over the first one. As this continues, the trail gets stronger and recruits new ants to ...


4

Fluon is a substance that people use to make artificial ant nests. It is similar to teflon in property and fluon coated surfaces are too slippery for ants to cross. See here.


4

This article claims that ants do sense approaching rain and modify their activities in preparation. The claim is not sourced. This weather site also speaks of ant mound-building before a rain but frankly places it in the "some folks say" category. The AntBlog is associated with AntWeb, a large multi-university-affiliated database. The author of the linked ...


4

The worker ants give water to the other ants in the nest. Also, they get most of their hydration out of the food anyway. Here is a blogpost with some references and nice humour about it.


4

I couldn't find any information about ants starving in times of plenty, most likely since it's difficult to determine whether an ant colony is "letting" certain members starve or whether the ants have just died for whatever reason. To your second question, though, yes! This paper, The Effect of Colony Size and Starvation on Food Flow in the Fire Ant by ...


4

Not much is known about the mechanisms involved, but they do appear to differ significantly from parasite to parasite. I'll discuss a few different examples here, and try to provide as much information as is currently known about how the parasites are doing it. There are likely to be many more different examples and mechanisms than these, and researchers ...


3

Other than the fact that ants carry bacteria on their food particles, there could also be alternative reasons that they can spread infections. Just like antibiotics derived from bacteria and fungi have caused resistant pathogen strains to evolve (MRSA for example), it could also be the case that the bacteria naturally living around the ants have evolved ...


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