Ants As Pets
Ants As Pets
The Ant (Hymenoptera) in groups can make great pets. Many people
consider the ant a pest before thinking of them as pets. Ants are a big part
of ecology and anyone wanting to take the time to build an art farm soon
realizes the socialization of these insects and the role they play.
The intelligence of the ant society-the tactics of the fighters
and the husbandry of the farmers-is achieved through the social act of a
sort of kiss called trophallaxis. During the kiss one or both of the ants
gives the other a taste of the chemicals it has in its crop. The crop is
a special community organ separate from the individual's digestive stomach.
Its a kind of chemical language.
The Chemicals stored in it are complex mixtures, modified by each kiss but
originating mainly in secretions given off by the larvae and eggs in the
colony. The composition of the mixture constitutes a chemical message which
acts on the simple hereditary nervous system of an ant to communicate the
needs and excitements of its society and tell the insect what it should be
All ant societies are divided into three castes: queens that found new colonies
and thereafter function as egg-laying machines; winged males that take nuptial
flight once with a queen, fertilizing her for life, then die; runt sterile
females that lead tirelessly neuter lives that perform a variety of tasks.
Some act as nurses, some as housekeepers, while others act as hunters and
Founding a new ant nest of any species is quite a act of maternal
heroism as any in the animal world. Young queens take flight to find a male
to fertilize them which is stored for future nests. Once fertilized, a queen
alights, builds a nest, lays eggs, feeds the hatched larvae with its own
stored food and dwindling strength, and finally lays back while her first
small, underfed worker-daughters take charge.
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