The most evolutionarily advanced insect family is ants. Their families are complex social groups that reign with the division of labor. They live with developed systems of self-organization and communication that allow individuals to coordinate their own actions. Some species of ants have a developed “language”, that is, they are capable of transmitting complex information. Moreover, many species of these insects maintain symbiotic relationships with other insects, as well as with fungi, bacteria and plants.
The cooperation of ants has led to the fact that today they have become the dominant group of arthropods. For example, Cote d’Ivoire is home to almost two billion individuals per square kilometer of the African savanna. They formed about 740 thousand colonies. Together with another large group of insects, termites, ants make up the third part of the total biomass of land animals in the forests of the Amazon basin. However, in areas with a temperate climate they are much smaller. Ants abound in Russia.Huge houses can be found literally everywhere, in a forest, in a field, in a vegetable garden, or even in a garden near noisy highways.
The ant family is a perennial and highly organized community. It consists of brood (these are eggs, larvae and pupae), as well as adult sex animals (males and females). As a rule, there are also numerous working individuals (these are barren females). Insects form families, the sizes of which range from dozens of individuals to colonies, which consist of millions of individuals and, accordingly, occupy vast territories. Large families consist of barren, wingless females that form a caste of workers, soldiers, and other special groups.
The sizes of representatives of this family are various. They range from one to 30-50 millimeters and more. The smallest ants are representatives of the genera monomorium. Working persons grow to 1-2 millimeters, and males and females to 3-4 millimeters.
Perhaps the largest ant - a representative of the species Camponotus gigas. Working persons grow to 20 millimeters, the male to 18.3 millimeters, the uterus to 31.3 millimeters, and the soldiers to 28.1 millimeters. Ants dinoponera giant with Paraponera clavata are also considered large. They reach a length of 25-30 millimeters. But the males of the African genus called Dorylus are about 3 centimeters in length, their uterus at the time of maturation of eggs (the moment when their belly is greatly enlarged) grow to 5 centimeters. But the largest ant in history is a fossil ant of the genus Formicium. This is a completely extinct group. Females had a length of 7 centimeters, with a wingspan of up to 15 centimeters. In particular, this genus includes the species Titanomyrma lubei, which was found on the territory of American Wyoming. These ants lived in North America about 50 million years ago. Found fossil specimen was winged female. She became the largest ant ever found. The uterus of a species is comparable in size to a hummingbird bird.
The largest of their fellows are ants bulldogs. In total there are about 90 species in the world. They are very dangerous not only for animals, but also for people.Some species can sting a strong poison, which causes severe and at the same time long-lasting pain. It can last up to several days. At the same time, allergic reactions are often noted, and in exceptional cases, even deaths from anaphylactic shock are possible.
These representatives of arthropods live in flocks of several hundred or even thousands of individuals. For example, red bulldogs-ants live in an anthill, the entrance to which is guarded by tribesmen around the clock. Such individuals have excellent vision, so they can spot the enemy from afar. And if he comes close, then the ants are ready to attack him. Adults feed on plant sap and nectar. But the larvae are fed by invertebrates.
An interesting fact, ants and their larvae, is edible and actively eaten in different parts of our planet. Therefore, it is pleasant for cooks if there are large ants among individuals. Pupae and larvae of ants from the genus Liomethopum are the basis for the famous Mexican dish called “escamoles”. They are considered as a kind of caviar and sold at a fairly high price (about $ 90 per kilogram). The cost is also due to the fact that ants breed only once a year and are seasonal and rarely found resources. Residents of South America collect large ants, known as "hormigas culonas" (these are leaf-cutting ants). They are fried alive and eaten.