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Ants: Interesting and Annoying

Ants

Ants are some of the most amazing, yet annoying insects on the planet. They are entertaining enough for people to keep them in a farm in their house, yet they can also ruin a picnic or destroy your food pantry.

More than twelve thousand species of ants have been classified. Most ants form colonies, which can range from a couple dozen ants to more than a million. Ants are similar to bees in that they operate on a caste system, with each class serving a specific purpose. Ants are workers, soldiers, drones, or queens. The queens are obviously the most important member, with some of them living years and producing millions of babies. Often the death of the queen marks the end of the colony.

Ants exhibit some pretty amazing behavior, and scientist have conducted countless studies on them. They have discovered lots of strange facts about ants. For example, ants can lift twenty times there own body weight. Most people are aware that ants defend themselves by biting, but lots of species also sting, some even spray chemicals. As a matter of fact, the Bullet Ant is considered to have the most painful sting of any insect. Luckily the bite is not fatal. Ants are native to every continent except Antarctica. Ants have no ears; they detect vibrations in the ground through their feet.

Ants also exhibit some traits that are strikingly similar to human behavior. For instance, some ants assume the role of undertaker, and dispose of any bodies of dead ants. Ants also have been observed actually learning, not just imitating behavior. This is amazing as it was assumed only mammals did that. Ants are also very crafty. When their colony floods, some species of ants actually drink some of the water, carry it to the surface, and spit it out.

Around the world, ants serve humans in various ways. They are used as sutures, the venom is harvested for medical uses, and some cultures use ants for food.

It's not all fun and interesting trivia with ants. They can do some serious damage. Apart from the painful bite of the aforementioned Bullet Ant, some ants are actually venomous. The bite of a Jumper Jack ant can be fatal. Fire Ants are also venomous.

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