Ants belong to the insect family and they are closely related to bees and wasps. Ants cover almost every part of the world except for Antarctica, remote locations and very cold environments. Ants are one of the most successful creatures on earth, first appearing in the Cretaceous period 120.5 million years ago. which means they lived with dinosaurs at one point!
Fossil records indicate ants living in the Cretaceous Period were not as common as they are today. They only started to dominate 60 million years later with the new growth of plants, trees and other insects that they could diversify their diets and habitats.
In fact, there are so many Ants in any given land area that they make up to 15-25% of the total animal land mass or in fancier words ‘biomass’. One survey suggested that in the Amazon forest, ants make up more than 25% of the total animal biomass in the forest, That’s a lot of ants!
There are roughly 21,000 ant’s species around the world with only around 12,000 of these species been documented and categorised.
So why have Ants lived for so long?
Ants are definitely one of the most successful species and have more coverage than any other species on the planet. But how can such small insects possibly survive the wild for millions and millions of years and still be the most dominate species of Earth?
As you are walking down the street you may have witnessed ants walking in a line looking so sure and focused of where they are going and what needs to be done. Ants go through great lengths to archive tasks such as
- Gathering food far from their nest and creating food
- Gefending themselves against greater animals and insects
- Looking after the queen, cleaning, feeding and tending to the tiny eggs the queen produces
- Digging vast underground complex tunnel systems for every Ant to live in
An Individual Ant will never survive in the wild. The ant species success stems from their ability to operate as one unified organism, tackling every challenge with unwavering persistence. Ants work together for the greater good of the colony. An Ant colony consisting of hundreds of ants that can devour a bird to a carcass in a matter of hours, slowly tearing the bird apart piece by piece with their razor like jaws. They can either ingest the food on the spot or carve the prey up taking parts back to the nest for storage. Ants work together to rebuild and repair entire nests in one evening. It’s their ability to act as one to archive goals that make them so successful.