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Ants As Pets



Ants As Pets

planet ant

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.

Some History

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 doing.

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 soldiers.

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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