Crazy facts about ants you need to know

Stef Zisovska

There are more than 10,000 known species of ants across the globe and depending on where you live they can be harmless or give you a nasty bite. In general, ants are more of a nuisance than a threatening pest. They are fascinating little creatures that have provoked many movie directors to give them a central role in their films. However, there are plenty of crazy facts about them that you need to know, and now is the time to learn them.

They have superhuman strength

Powerful creatures
Powerful creatures

The first crazy ant fact may seem funny to you, but it’s true. They are incredibly strong and have the ability to carry between 10 and 50 times their own body weight. Impressive, right? The amount that an ant can carry depends on their species. For example, the Asian weaver ant can carry an item 100 times bigger than its own mass. Their small size allows their muscles to have a greater cross-sectional area which helps them to produce more force.

They don’t have lungs

Ants’ bodies are too small to have a complex respiratory system like ours, so they use other ways to transport oxygen to the cells of their body. They breathe in through spiracles which are tiny holes on the sides of their bodies. The spiracles are connected with small tubes that transport the oxygen to all parts. The waste carbon dioxide exits through the same tubes.

They don’t have ears

They don’t have ears
They don’t have ears

Ants don’t have ears, but they’re not deaf at all. They use vibrations to hear, and they normally use them when looking for food or in dangerous situations. Ants use the subgenual organ located below their knees to pick up the vibration from the ground.

They have two stomachs

They may be lacking lungs and ears, but they have two stomachs. This wonderful biological feature is not there because ants are greedy. On the contrary, they use one stomach to hold food for their own consumption, and in the other stomach they have food that they share with other ants. This ability has a great purpose behind it. The ants who are working and foraging for food can actually provide enough for the ones who stay behind and have other duties.

They can swim

Drops of water and an ant
Drops of water and an ant

Don’t imagine that ants have developed a perfect butterfly or breaststroke, but they can definitely swim. Not all of them are swimmers, but some of the species can float on the water by using their own version of the doggy paddle. In short, ants are master survivors. They can hold their breath under the water for a long time and build lifeboats in flood situations.

They talk using chemicals

Ants don’t release any sounds that we can hear, but they still communicate with the other members of the colony. They use chemicals called pheromones to send messages to each other when they find food or when there is a predator near. The workers release pheromones that contain messages that include alerts or calling for help. Also, if one single ant finds an item that’s too heavy to carry around, they send messages to their fellow workers to come and help.

There are some ten quadrillion ants on Earth

The number of humans on Earth can’t get anywhere near to the number of ants living on its surface, a number which looks like this 10,000,000,000,000,000. Now you know what makes these tiny creatures so special and why scientists like exploring their habits, environment, and behavior.

They are as old as dinosaurs

A colony of ants
A colony of ants

Archaeologists say that ants have been on Earth a long time, way before humans appeared. They came on the scene sometime in the mid-Cretaceous period, which was an amazing 110 to 130 million years ago. This fact makes us look like babies on this planet compared to the amount of time the ants have been here.

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival