It took four years for the University of Hong Kong to complete the map that exhibits the distribution of ants around the world.
The 15,000 types of ants are shown on this map, with the majority inhabiting Queensland. This Australian state is home to 1,400 types of ants.
How many ants are there in the world? Ron Wolford, a horticulture specialist from the University of Illinois Extension, confirmed that the estimated number of ants in the world is close to ten thousand trillion. The size of an ant is one-millionth of the human body.
It’s not a big wonder as ants are found in every corner of the world except for some unaccommodating places. Ants are social animals, so they are in a community or colony to expand their population.
They can maintain their population well as they sometimes colonize houses. This gets interesting, so read on if you want to learn more about these small creatures.
Table of Contents
Why Are There So Many Ants?
There are many ants for the sake of reproduction. It’s the purpose of other colonies of termites, wasps, and bees. The workers sacrifice themselves to maximize the number of offspring delivered by the queen.
What Is the Role of Male Ants?
The role of male ants is to impregnate the queen. However, the queen mates with more than one male that will die a day or two after mating.
Are Ants Mostly Female?
Male ants are from unfertilized eggs, which make them fatherless. They grow and survive through the queen’s saliva. Male ants or drones are produced seasonally, so there are only a few of them. On the other hand, there are mostly female ants because they come from a fertilized egg after the queen mated.
The gender of ants can be controlled by the queen, as she can store the sperm from the male. She may not use it so she can create male ones.
Alan Brelsford, a biologist from the University of California, Riverside, said that more males are born if the food supply just lays stagnant inside the colony. Worker ants which are mostly female can also control the gender of the ants by selectively feeding or killing the larvae.
How Can You Tell a Male From a Female Ant?
A male ant is smaller than its female counterparts or workers. It has wings like the queen ant but the latter tears them off after mating.
Due to the flying ability of a male ant, it has muscular mesosoma. Though it has a smaller head, it has bigger eyes. Its antenna is straighter than the female ants.
How Many Species of Ants Are There in the World?
There are 15,000 species of ants in the world based on the ant map developed by the University of Hong Kong.
What Are the Most Common Ants in the World?
The most common ants in the world are odorous house ant, pharaoh ant, southern fire ant, and thief ant. They can be both seen indoors and outdoors.
- Odorous house ant – When this species lives indoors, you can find it around water pipes, heaters, and wall voids. It can also make a nest in shallow mounds of soil.
- Pharaoh ant – While it dwells in a pile of debris outdoors, you’ll likely find this ant behind baseboards or insulation and in a cabinet or wall voids when indoors.
- Southern fire ant – This ant species prefers to live in wood that has small mounds with craters or under the rocks.
- Thief ant – It puts up its nest behind baseboards and wallboards when inside a house. When living outdoors, it’s found in decaying wood or under the rocks.
What Is the Rarest Species of Ant?
The rarest species of ant is from the genus Metapone, and it’s called Tyrannomyrmex rex. The latest discovery took place in Singapore. In the past, this species was found in Africa, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Eastern Australia, and Melanesia. It has an oddly-shaped head and short forearms.
What Are the Deadliest Species of Ants?
The deadliest species of ants are fire ants. In the southeastern side of the US, imported fire ants that are scientifically distinguished as ‘Solenopsis invicta’ and ‘Solenopsis richteri’ can cause environmental hazards.
They’re lethal to humans as well. Regarding this matter, they can’t just sting but cause anaphylaxis and even death.
Anaphylaxis occurs due to venom allergy or hypersensitivity to the sting of fire ants. In a study, a three-month baby died because of this. The death cases rarely happen, but it will be a common thing if the population of fire ants increases.
How Much Do All the Ants in the World Weigh?
Since there are 10 thousand billion ants, the total weight comes to 40 billion kg, as stated in a BBC Four documentary.
How Much Does an Ant Weigh?
The average weight of an ant is 4 mg.
What Are the Biggest Ants in the World?
Dinoponera (Dinoponera Australis)
This is the biggest ant in the world, with a body length of 3 cm. It’s a native ant species of South America. It has an interesting size and wonderful behavior, which are useful in biochemical and histological research as well as studies of the mandibular gland and many more.
Bigheaded Ant (Pheidole Tepicana)
As its name suggests, this ant has a bigger head than its body. It’s the feature that is more prominent among major workers that can grow up to 3 to 4 mm.
This species is almost everywhere, especially in the tropics. It’s usually mistaken for fire ants, but they don’t have workers with strangely big heads. Instead, it’s known to prey on fire ants, specifically its queen.
Bigheaded ants like to eat dead or live insects, honeydew produced by other insects, and seeds. They establish their colony under the firewood, logs, landscape timbers, rocks, and patio blocks.
Black Carpenter Ant (Camponotus Pennsylvanicus)
It’s the largest one among carpenter ants as it can grow up to 10 to 12 mm. Most people are surprised to see these large ants inside their houses.
Fortunately, they don’t sting, but they can bite mildly when prompted with self-defense. They don’t consume wood as well. The sawdust that they create is their way to clear the wooden area for their nest.
These large ants consume plants and insect larvae or secretion. They also search for food in the kitchen. Crumbs and sweet food attract them.
Which Country Has No Ants?
Numerous ants thrive everywhere except in Antarctica, Iceland, and Greenland. The ants can’t grow in numbers as they’re cold places influenced by the coldest climate in the world. For instance, the highest temperature in Antarctica during summer is 10°C.
How Many Ants Equal a Human?
A thousand ants are equal to a human. It’s based on the calculation that recognizes the human average weight of 62 kilos. In connection to this, a person weighs a million times more than ants, so a single ant weighs 6 mg.
It’s a calculation arranged by Edward O. Wilson, a professor at Harvard University, and Bert Hoelldobler, a German biologist. This is only a bit of information, and there’s more to know from their book, Journey To The Ants.
What Is the Ratio of Ants to Humans in the World?
According to a BBC Four documentary, there are 7.2 billion humans and ten thousand trillion ants in the world. With these digits, there are 1.4 million ants for every person. These ants will weigh 4 pounds based on 4 mg per ant.
Do Ants Rule the World?
It’s amazing how a queen ant can build a whole colony that multiplies over time. These colonies are built everywhere in the world. It’s common that some ants even dwell in houses. Some homeowners don’t mind them if they don’t cause trouble.
Ants rule the world not only for their massive colonies. They have an important role in the food web. These insects don’t only consume plants but pests and animal materials too. They’re also food for different amphibians, birds, mammals, arthropods, and carnivorous plants like pitcher plants.
Interesting Facts About Ants
Some ants rub their body segments to create a buzzing or squeaking sound. For instance, they will squeak when the nest that caves in needs to be dug up.
They also give off scents that can travel quickly to send a message to other ants. When one of them finds a big food supply, it leaves an odor for the others to follow the trail.
Ants use taste, physical touch, and pheromones which are chemical signals. They use these things to update about their nest, food, and incoming enemies.
Strength of Tiny Insects
The estimation of what an ant can carry is 10 to 50 times its weight. It happens because they have muscles that are relatively thicker than their body size. This is a feature that larger animals don’t have.
Different Faces of Ants
Humans can be identified through different faces. It’s the same thing with ants but their faces are even more diverse. The lifestyle and diet of ant species have something to do with the head’s shape, jaw or mandibles, and size of their eyes.
The trap-jaw ants can be an example of this. They have mandibles that close at the speed of lightning once they find their target. Hence, their mandibles stood out not by their shape but by their ability. Their movement is one of the fastest in the animal world. It’s 2,300 times faster than when you blink an eye.
Ants Don’t Bite
You may think that an ant’s bite sting a small insect. It’s a misconception that ants bite as they only inject venom that leaves a feeling of itchiness and burning while the skin swells.
Most people see ants from time to time. This simply shows that these insects are everywhere except for very few places. They’re persistent workers and dedicated to strengthening their nests.
Furthermore, they even sacrifice themselves for the future of their colonies. So, it’s not surprising that they are around 10 thousand trillion in the world.