Facts about Ants
Facts about Ants

22 Ant Facts That Will Surprise You

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published June 27, 2024
  • Ant colonies have such effective communication that they function as superorganisms.  They use pheromones, sound, and touch to send sophisticated messages to other ants. Some ant species even use sounds and physical gestures.[12]
  • There are 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, which is about 2.5 million ants for every person.[4]
  • Ants are found on almost every landmass except Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland, and a few islands.[4]
  • If an ant has wings, it is either a fertile drone or fertile female.[3]
  • The yellow crazy ants (Anoploepis gracilipes) can build a super colony with hundreds or even thousands of queens with up to 1,000 ants per square meter. Accidentally introduced into Australia sometime between 1915 and 1934, the ants have killed tens of millions of land crabs on Christmas Island since the 1990s.[3]
  • Interesting Ant Facts
    Some ant queens can live up to 50 years

  • The bullet ant inflicts one of the most painful insect stings in the world. The pain is described as being similar to a gunshot wound (hence the name) and lasts for up to 12 hours. Around 1 inch (2.54 cm) long, they are mainly found in Central and South America.[9]
  • An ant can carry 50 times its own bodyweight, which is akin to a human carrying a car.[4]
  • The fastest movement in the animal kingdom is the Dracula ant's snapping jaws. It can snap its mandibles at over 200 mph.[8]
  • When African Matabele ants in sub-Saharan Africa are injured in battles with termites, they are carried back to their nest by fellow ants so they can heal.[3]
  • Ants have a symbiotic relationship with a group of plants called myrmecophytes ("ant plants"), which provide food for the ants, and the ants protect the plants from pests.[2]
  • The word "ant" is from a compound of Germanic *e,-ai ="off, away" + *mai= "cut," from the PIE root *mai="to cut" (related to maim). Literally, "ant" means "the biter-off."[1]
  • The bulldog ant (also known as a bull, inch, sergeant, and jumper ant) is the most dangerous ant in the world. Found in the coastal regions of Australia, this highly aggressive ant repeatedly bites and stings at the same time, injecting more venom each time. It has killed adult humans in less than 15 minutes.[11]
  • Bulldog Ant Fact
    Bulldog ants are extremely aggressive and show little fear of humans

  • Army ants use their large mandibles to prey on reptiles, birds, and small mammals. Their colonies can consist of millions of ants, which swarm over the ground in mass raiding parties.[3]
  • Ant colonies are able to pass useful information from one generation to the next, which scientists term "colony memory."[3]
  • While the velvet ant looks like an ant, it is actually a hairy, wingless wasp. While not aggressive, they have an incredibly painful sting, earning the nickname "cow killer."[3]
  • The largest recorded ant colony in the world covers 3,700 miles (6,000 km) and runs from northern Italy to the Atlantic coast of Spain.[10]
  • One of the oldest ants preserved in amber is 99 million years old. It had scythe-like jaws that swung upward to pin its prey against a horn-shaped head appendage. It then paralyzed its prey with a powerful sting.[7]
  • The smallest ant in the world is the pharaoh ant, which is between 1.5 mm and 2 mm in length.[4]
  • Pharaoh Ant Facts
    The pharaoh ant is the smallest ant in the world

  • Ants sleep, but they usually take hundreds of power naps a day. Queen ants, however, fall into a deeper sleep for several hours a day.[5]
  • There are approximately 16,000 ant species. North America is home to about 1,000 of those.[6]
  • People who research ants are called myrmecologists.[6]
  • A fertilized ant egg produces a female ant. If an egg is not fertilized, it turns into a male.[4]
  • Amazing Ant Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Interesting Ant Infographic

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