Part 20: Antipedia - Ants & RelativesAntipedia - Ants & Relatives
Today we're going to look at some relatives of ants, as well as a few of the more unique types of ants out there.
Bees are related to ants. They have a similar social structure. Bee oclonies live in nests called hives. Hives contain as many as 30,000 bees. Out of all these bees, there is only one Queen and only about 100 males. The rest are workers. If more than one queen is born in a hive at one time, they fight to the death, and the survivor rules the colony.
Wasps are closely related to ants. It is believed that ants evolved from wasps 60 million years ago. Wasps are aggressive and have strong poison that hurts when they sting.
Termite colonies have a social structure like ant colonies. They eat wood fiber and do not make good house guests. Termites and ants don't get along. Ants often attack termite colonies and carry off their eggs and larvae for food.
Out of over 8000 species of ants one of the strangest is the Weaver ant from Africa, India and Australia. They make nests in trees by sewing leaves together with the silk that larvae produce to weave their cocoons. Workers hold the larvae in their mandibles and touch their mouths to each leaf. In addition to this child labor, Weaver ants are very vicious. Hundreds of them attack and bite anything that even bumps their tree.
African Army ants don't build nests. They travel all day, eating everything in sight, then, at night, form a living nest out of their bodies, with the queen in the middle. They have big, sharp mandibles, attack in groups, and can kill and eat insects, spiders, lizards and even mammals that are many times their size.
Leafcutter Ants from South America are the farmers of the ant world. They build huge underground nests and grow their food. Thousands of Leafcutters go out on raids and bring back all the leaves they can find. Back in the nest, they cut the leaves into little pieces and chew them up, but they don't eat them. The chewed-up leaves are used as fertilizer to grow a type of fungus. This fungus is the only food Leafcutters can eat. Human farmers don't like Leafcutters because they destroy crops.
Of course, there's many other wonderful kinds of ants, but you'll have to find out about them on your own. Or, you know, read some of the fantastic stuff posted in this thread.
We'll tackle the final entry, where the game tells you how to beat it, next time.