Shape Of The Ant Head essay example

954 words
Ants belong to an order of insects called Hymenoptera; this group also includes bees, wasps, and sawflies. They belong to the insect family Formicidae meaning 'ant family'. There are over 60 genre existing in North America comprising hundreds of different species on this continent alone. There are many different kinds of ants all over the world.

Some kinds of ants among the best known are: fire ants, army ants, carpenter ants, driver ants, harvester ants, weaver ants, fungus- gardening ants, aphid- tending ants, honeypot ants, and acacia ants. Ants can be found in many places such as soil, leaf litter, rotting wood and dead trees. Ants live all over the world, except for the Arctic and Antarctic and some islands, also on the coldest mountain tops. They are most abundant in the tropical rainforest's and other tropical regions.

All ants are social. In fact they are the only insects in which all species are social. Large groups of ants live in colonies or communities together. In the majority of ants, colonies are families or groups of related families. These groups consist of one or more queens, who rule the colony, and males, whose only job is to fertilize the queen and then die soon after. The workers in the colony are only females.

These workers are divided into several working classes including: enlargement and repair of the nest, taking care of the larvae, tending to the queen, defending the colony, and foraging for food. The shape of the ant head can be oval shaped, spherical, triangular or even rectangular; it differs among species. All ants have an opening in the back of their head, through which the beginning of the digestive tract, nerves and blood pass through. Inside the mouth are three different parts. The mandibles, or jaws, are long and broad and are toothed, or serrated.

Ants use their mandibles for collecting and carrying food, digging, building nests, cutting and fighting. The maxillae, or lower jaws, are used to extract liquids from foods. Ants use their tongues for sucking up the liquid food. Also two pairs of slender palp i are inside the mouth, that resemble antennae, and play an important role in eating. Ants have two compound eyes each are made of light-sensitive compartments called. Other types of ants have three simple eyes called on the tops of their heads.

Different species have developed sight, but some are completely blind. Vision is rather unimportant to ants because they spend much of their time underground anyway. At the front of the head is a pair of antennae, which contain organs of taste, smell and touch. Most ants' antennae are elbow-shaped, somewhat like a human arm. An ant's main source of information is its pair of antennae. Ants use their antennae to find out about their surroundings.

Joined to the head is the middle part of the body known as the ali trunk. Attached to the ali trunk are three pairs of legs. Each leg is jointed and has a claw at the end; used for gripping hard to grasp surfaces. The legs are not only used for walking and running, but also more skillful tasks, including handling food and carrying supplies.

The two front legs have miniature combs used for cleaning the ant and its antennae. In males and young queens, the ali trunk holds two pairs of wings inside. Just behind the ali trunk is the narrow petiole. The petiole is usually a two- segmented section that appears to be a waist.

This body part aids the ant when it is going through winding underground passageways. The gas ter is the hindmost section of the ant. The gas ter contains the heart, most of the digestive system, the reproductive system and the excretory system. When an ant's digestive system is full of food, the gas ter expands by ballooning out. Some and species hunt different insects, others collect seeds. Honeypot ants cultivate certain insects that the ants 'milk' in order to obtain a sweet substance known as honeydew.

A few species even grow their own fungi gardens to feed upon. Adult ants are able to digest only liquid foods. Ants that obtain food from solids first have to mix digestive juices into the food to help dissolve it, then use their tongues to lap up the resulting juices and semi-liquid food. Inside the mouth, any leftover solid foods enter a chamber beneath the mouth opening. Within the chamber lies a series of screens, which filter out the solid food and turn it into a solid pellet that the ant soon removes from its mouth. From the mouth, the food is passed into an organ called the crop, which is an expandable sack in which liquids can be stored for long periods of time without being digested.

Once the ant reaches the colony it regurgitates most of the food for other workers to eat. A valve called the pro ventriculus in the inner section of the crop lets a trickle of food pass into the ant's mid-gut, where it can be digested. All About Ants [online] available web December 20, 1999 Ants [online] available web October 19, 1999 Ants [online] available web November 9, 1999 Carlin, Norman F. 'Ant' World Book Encyclopedia, 1995 Vol. 1-A Pp. 520-528 Greenland, Caroline. 'Ants' Natures Children Series: Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT., Grolier Educational Corporation, 1986 Tschinkel, Walter R. 'Ant' Microsoft Encarta 2000, 2000.