Queen Ant

What do you know about queen ant ?

Different types of ants have different sizes of queens. The queens of common ants such as Big-headed ants , Pavement ants, Carnot ants , and Spiny ants are mostly in the range of 0.5-1.8cm in length. The queen is a female with the ability to fertilize and reproduce, or a mother ant, usually in a colony.

The medium body is the largest (except for some ferocious ants), 3 to 4 times that of worker ants , especially the abdomen is large, the reproductive organs are developed, the antennae are short, the thorax is small, and the ants are winged, wingless or wingless. However, some species of ants have The heads of large worker ants or soldier ants may be larger than the head of the queen ant. The main responsibility is to lay eggs, reproduce offspring and manage the group family.

Ant
Ant

Introduction

The life cycle of ants consists of four stages: eggs, larvae, pupae and adults, lasting 8 to 10 weeks in total. The queen ant lays eggs throughout her life. Worker ants are female ants that do the work; soldier ants are larger and defend the colony. At certain times of the year, many species produce winged male ants and queens that fly into the air to mate. The male ants soon die, and the fertilized queen takes off her wings and begins building a new nest.

Morphological characteristics

As the founder of the ant colony, after the queen ant has gloriously completed the task of mating, she descends from the air to the ground, breaks her four wings from the roots, and then digs a shaft with a diameter of more than ten millimeters directly into the ground. At a depth of about 30 cm, it carves out for itself a small house with a width of about 6 cm. Then, breed your own offspring inside. Hiding in an isolated hole, the queen ant not only has to be wary of the invasion of other animals, but also has to worry about whether she can breed enough ants before her body weakens .

Queen ant
Queen ant

According to research, among the many queen ants who wanted to establish a kingdom after getting married , most of them died before they could establish their own kingdom. In order to create her kingdom, the queen must endure extreme loneliness and danger. It is busy racing against time. During this period of time, the queen’s energy comes entirely from the muscles of her broken four wings and the decomposition and metabolism of her body. Its weight is getting lighter day by day. At the crossroads of starvation and rebirth, it must still carefully lay its eggs and serve its larvae. Waiting for the first batch of adult worker ants to grow up, the queen will have a new source of food.

The growth

The growth of the first batch of worker ants depends entirely on the energy carried by the queen. In the closed nest, there is no energy supplement. Therefore, the queen ant must control the size of the initial batch of worker ants. If it breeds a soldier ant , or even a larger “food ant”, the limited resources will be completely exhausted. At this time, the queen ant is exactly like a person who has just started a business. She must make full and effective use of every limited resource and does not allow any mistakes. Otherwise, not only will you not be able to create a huge ant kingdom, but your own life will be destroyed

Supplement: The worker ants in the ant colony are not absolutely sterile. But are suppressed by the queen’s pheromones and lose the ability to lay eggs. When the queen in the ant colony disappears, sometimes a small number of worker ants will start to lay eggs, and they can hatch into male ants. ants , but since most ant queens and male ants mate by flying, generally the worker ants that have the ability to lay eggs are still unable to be fertilized and continue to perpetuate the population. So the egg-laying worker ant in this particular case is not the queen.

Living habits

Living habits
Living habits

When ants establish a colony, they also start by meeting and making friends through marriage flights. It’s love at first sight after meeting each other, and they have sex during or after the flight. The “groom” did not live long and died shortly after mating, leaving the ” widow ” queen ant to live a lonely life alone. The queen ant takes off her wings and builds her nest underground in a suitable soil and location. She was ” alone ” and had limited strength. She could only temporarily build a small room as a place to stay and to provide a delivery room for her “conceived” body.

After the eggs in the body mature and are produce, the larvae hatch and the queen gets busy. She feeds each larva mouth-to-mouth until the larvae form cocoons (or pupate) and emerge as adult ants. When the first group of worker ants grow up, they dig holes leading to the outside world in search of food, and then expand the nest building area to provide housing for more and more family members. From then on, the queen ant, who had suffered so much, enjoyed peace and prosperity and became the commander-in-chief of the large family of the group.

Function

The earliest eggs are take care of by the female ant herself from hatching to adulthood. The food for these little guys comes from the female ant body, which is equivalent to mammal milk. As time goes by, these “children” slowly grow up, and they are responsible for all “housework”, and the female ant becomes the queen ant responsible for laying eggs in this “family”. The number of eggs laid by the queen ant every day varies slightly depending on the species, generally around 500 to 1,000. However, not all species can lay eggs every day at every stage of the ant colony, and some ants even have Seasonal egg laying tendency.

Ants
Ants

A queen ant can lay tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even more eggs in her lifetime. After the new queen ant establishes a colony, as the number of worker ants increases. She will gradually lose the ability to find food on her own. , in the end even the food has to be fed by the worker ants. The queen ant also has a clever trick. It can lay eggs regardless of whether they are fertilize or not. The unfertilized eggs will develop into male ants. Both worker ants and soldier ants have no wings. The ones we usually see crawling on the ground are basically worker ants.

Produce

Before a queen ant becomes a queen, she will mate through a nuptial flight. Then establish an ant kingdom independently, or return to the original nest and directly join the work of the “production brigade”.

The reproductive methods of ants and bees are similar. Specifically, the queen ant is a normal diploid (that is, the chromosomes in the body are paired, just like humans). After meiosis , the eggs produced can grow regardless of whether they are fertilized or not. Without fertilization and with only half of the chromosomes , the larvae that develop directly from

 such unfertilized eggs are all male and become male ants. Designed for mating with the queen, who relies on chemicals to inhibit the sexual development and maturation of worker ants.

Born

When the number of ant colonies reaches a certain level, the queen ant will lay some ant eggs. These ant eggs are individuals that will grow into “queens” in the future, commonly known as angel queen ants, princesses or newborn queen ants (i.e. new queens). However, since some individuals die during their growth, or are eliminate by nature due to poor congenital nutritional conditions, there are not many newborn queen ants that can develop into ant colonies.

The first eggs of the year laid by the queen in the ant colony hatch out into reproductive ants. When the colony wakes up every spring. The first eggs are so-called “winter eggs”, which turn into winged male and female ants after 35-45 days . On a hot and humid summer day, the worker ants opened many openings in the nest. The male and female ants came out of the nest in groups and flew into the sky. When their wings could not support their weight of 30 milligrams, they all Drop to the ground and mate immediately. Each female ant is surround by many male ants patiently waiting to mate. 

The sperm from each mating is store in the female ant’s sperm reservoir. Which is enough to maintain the reproductive needs of the ant colony for many years. After mating, young queens sometimes break off their wings and return to the original colony to lay eggs. While other times they open up a new kingdom of their own.

Reproductive capacity

The queen’s job is to eat and lay eggs. These yellow, off-white or pink eggs, 0.2-1 mm long, are immediately carry by the worker ants to the incubation chambers. Different levels of the nest so that they can enjoy the best climate conditions (suitable temperature and humidity). Ant eggs are often lick by worker ants, so they are sticky and easy to transport. The worker ants are born the previous year and feed the larvae with the nutrients they have accumulated.

The queen ant is the founder of the colony. During the first few years, egg-laying is infrequent and it is mainly worker ants that lay eggs. Subsequently, the number of queen ants in some species of ant colonies can gradually reach dozens.

When the number of nanny worker ants is large (different types of ants require different numbers), reproductive female and male ants will be born. The male ants will die soon after mating. Male termites, which are almost as social as ants, will not die and will stay with the queen for life.

Distinguish

In single-queen ant species, there is only one female ant, also called a queen. In the nest; in multi-queen ant species, multiple queens can exist in a nest at the same time. The queen is the largest of the ants and is usually faceless. It is only responsible for constantly laying new eggs to reproduce offspring. Most worker ants are much smaller and are responsible for foraging, migration, defense and other tasks. Usually the ants we see carrying things are worker ants, while the female ants stay deep in the nest. Unless there is great danger in the nest or they are migrating, they will not show up.

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