Ant Social Systems

Topics: Ant, Queen ant, Eusociality Pages: 4 (1336 words) Published: September 23, 2011
Ant Social Systems

Ant Social Systems
The social structure of ants is a very complex and interesting one. They live together in underground colonies where they divide labor amongst each individual and work as a cohesive unit. “Scientists estimate that there are about 20,000 different ant species roaming the Earth today (Binns, 2006).” While each species is unique in looks, habitat and food intake, they all share a unified behavior. Of all social insects ants are amongst the highest developed, their families or colonies are divided up into a defined caste system which consists of the queen ant, worker ants and drones. Further investigation into the fascinating life of these little creatures shows how they care for the young, reproduce, and benefit from generation overlap while maintaining very complex living quarters.

Containment Structures

With such intricate social systems it only makes sense that their homes are just as complex. Ants reside underground, in city like structures, where a series of tunnels are the highways that connect rooms or chambers together. These chambers serve many different purposes. They are nurseries for the eggs to hatch and larvae to develop, they are places to store all the food that has been foraged and they can serve as a place to mate safely, allowing for the queen to have a chamber of her own. These impressive intricate structures are created and maintained solely by the female worker ants. They make these tunnels and chambers by digging and carrying out clumps of dirt with their mandibles which are taken to the surface. This in turn creates the very recognizable ant hills that we see (Howstuffworks, 2008). These impressive underground metropolises can at times be very small or they can be very large, reaching miles in width and depth. The ant, on average, moves more dirt or soil than any other living organism.

Division of labor
With colonies being potentially so large, in order for it to work properly, there...
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