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Ants have descended from the time of dinosaurs: the large seven-centimeter ancestors of these social insects lived 140 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period.
Currently, they inhabit all continents, with the exception of Antarctica, as well as Iceland, Greenland and some particularly remote islands.
REFERENCE: The total weight of ants is from 10 to 20% of the biomass of all land animals inhabiting a particular region, and in the tropics the share of "ant weight" reaches 25%.
These viable insects are numerous not only in total, but also in species composition.
Species diversity of ants and features of their settlement
Biological classification refers all ants to family formicides (Formicidae) and the order of hymenoptera, which also includes bees, wasps and bumblebees. Indeed, ants, more precisely, ant queens, are winged in a short breeding period. Then the founder of the new anthill builds the first chamber of the future "palace", bites off her own wings, which she no longer needs, and over a long, sometimes twenty-year life, gives birth to a large ant tribe, which, in accordance with its castes, will build, work, nurse the larvae, get food and defend the territory.
In the ant family formicide there are about 7000 species... These heat-loving insects are especially numerous and diverse in the tropics, and the natural limit of their dispersal is the cold forest-tundra zone.
In warm latitudes - paradise ant places - exotic, aggressive, dangerous and amazing species have formed:
South American Bullet Ant with an extremely painful bite, the sensation of which is compared precisely with a bullet wound. The length of these insects reaches three centimeters.
Red fire ants... The aggressive Brazilian species, which was accidentally introduced to the southern United States, displaced a significant proportion of the native ants, and then, through merchant ships, spread to Australia and China. The pain from an insect bite of this species is the same as from a fire burn.
Black bulldog ants live in Australia and Tasmania. When bitten, a strong poison is released, which, in addition to pain, often causes acute, deadly allergic reactions.
Soldier ants Is a nomadic species found in South America and Africa. They spend a significant part of their lives moving in dense columns, which destroy on their way all living things that are unable to quickly hide. Lacking a permanent nest, they form a temporary breeding ground, forming a spherical colony of their own bodies, linked to each other.
Yellow antsliving in the state of Arizona, produce the strongest poison that can kill any animal weighing up to two kilograms.
Fortunately, in the middle lane, these monsters of the ant world do not survive.
Inhabited by 220 species ants in Russia and the CIS countries, which are distributed in full accordance with temperature conditions - the farther north the area, the fewer ant species live there:
- Caucasus region - more than 160 species;
- Ukraine - 74 species;
- Moscow region - 40 species;
- Arkhangelsk region - 24 species.
In the middle lane, three types of ants are most often found:
- Red-haired myrmica with a yellow-brownish-red body, no more than 6mm in length. This species feeds on insects, including pests, and also collects sweet honeydew - the sugary secretions of aphids.
- Ginger forest ant of medium size with a dark abdomen and reddish middle segments of the body is the main fighter against insect pests of the forest. It is included in the international Red List of Endangered Species.
- Black garden ant reaches a length of 1 cm, destroys insects and collects sweet debris from aphids. The black garden "queen" lives for a record long time - 28 years.
Next, you will see a photo of all types of ants:
In addition to these natural species, it is almost ubiquitous brownie, ship or pharaoh ant, first found in Egyptian tombs and, thanks to its small size and high adaptability, spread over vast territories. The length of its yellow translucent yellow body with a dark abdomen does not exceed 5mm. This heat-loving species settles exclusively in houses and apartments, multiplies rapidly, spoils food that it can reach and can be a carrier of infectious diseases. Forms several colonies that ensure the preservation of the number: if one nest is destroyed, the remaining clusters of insects will quickly restore the ant "population".
IMPORTANT: The pharaoh ant invading a person's dwelling is certainly an unpleasant neighbor, which you should get rid of as soon as possible.
The rest of the common species of ants, from one side, bring undoubted benefit... Their daily activities to move and process a wide variety of substances improves soil structure and fertility... Numerous harmful insects become a prey for ants.
However, ants are not only guard aphids and worms - suppliers of sweet honeydew for them - but also bred of these pests, settling them on green stems and leaves of plants, including cultivated ones.
Therefore, for gardening farms, the neighborhood with large anthills is undesirable.
Biologically expedient organization of colonies, poisonous chemical "weapons" and a high ability to adapt make ants the champions in numbers among insects.
A variety of ant species colonize all latitudes from the forest-tundra to the tropics, destroying pests and ensuring the transfer of nutrients to the soil.
At the same time, the invasion of these thousands of ant communities on agricultural land and in human dwellings forces us to look for ways to effectively combat them.
In this video, you will learn more about all types and varieties of ants:
Further, you can get acquainted with articles that may be useful and interesting to you:
- Ant extermination:
- How to get rid of red ants in an apartment?
- Boric acid and borax from ants
- Folk remedies for ants in an apartment and house
- Rating of effective remedies for ants in the apartment
- Ant traps
- How do ants winter?
- Who are the ants?
- What do ants eat?
- The value of ants in nature
- Ant hierarchy: the ant king and structural features of the worker ant
- How do ants breed?
- Ants with wings
- Forest and garden ants, as well as the reaper ant
- How to get rid of ants in the garden?