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D. Aditya VII A

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Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants.

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Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organized colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of "workers", "soldiers", or other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" and one or more fertile females called “Queens".

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Ants thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems.

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Distribution and diversity Ants are found on all continents except Antartica and only a few large islands such as Greenland, Iceland, parts of Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands lack native ant species. Ants occupy a wide range of ecological niches, and are able to exploit a wide range of food resources either as direct or indirect herbivores, predators and scavengers.

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Ants range in size from 0.75 to 52 millimetres (0.030–2.0 in). Their colours vary; most are red or black, green is less common, and some tropical species have a metallic lustre. More than 12000 species are currently known (with upper estimates of about 14,000), with the greatest diversity in the tropics.

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Development and reproduction The life of an ant starts from an egg. If the egg is fertilized, the progeny will be female; if not, it will be male. Ants develop by complete metamorphosis with the larval stages passing through a pupal stage before emerging as an adult.

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Ants have developed a caste system whereby each ant is responsible for specialised duties.. Life cycle There are workers, males and queens

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A new worker spends the first few days of its adult life caring for the queen and young. The workers look after the nest and will forage for food It then graduates to digging and other nest work, and later to defending the nest and foraging.

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The queen ant is perhaps one of the most important entities in nature. An ant colony owes its existence to the queen and she is the nucleus or lifeblood of the ant colony. The queen ant is a powerful and mysterious figure in the world of nature A queen ant can even take over a foreign ant colony by killing its queen and mating with all of its occupying ants.

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Anatomy The head of an ant has several important parts. First the eyes. Attached to the head of the ant are two feelers. The feelers are special organs of smell that help ants communicate. The head also has two strong pinchers which are used to carry food, to dig, and to defend. The trunk of the ant is where all 6 legs are attached. The metasoma is the poison sac The 3 main divisions are head, trunk and metasoma

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Ant colony

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Fire ants are a variety of stinging ants with over 280 species worldwide. They have several common names including Ginger Ants and Tropical Fire Ants (English), aka-kami-ari (Japanese), Solenopsis (French), and Feuerameise (German). Fire ants

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Bull ant showing the powerful mandibles and the relatively large compound eyes that provide excellent vision Bull ant

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The name army ant (or legionary ant or "Marabunta") is applied to over 200 ant species, in different lineages, due to their aggressive predatory foraging groups, known as "raids", in which huge numbers of ants all forage simultaneously over a certain area, attacking prey en masse. Army ant

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Leafcutter ants are social insects found in warmer regions of the Americas. They feed on special structures called gongylidia produced by a specialized fungus that grows only in the underground chambers of the ants’ nest Leaf cutter ant

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