Ants are gregarious, small insects of the Formicidae family that are recognized by their antennae and node-like narrow waists. They live in organized colonies that can contain millions of ants depending on the species. There are three types of ants in a colony: sterile female workers and soldiers, fertile males, and one or more queens.
Estimates of the number of ant species vary, but it is believed to be in the area of 22,000 species spread around the globe. Most ants in North America are bothersome but not particularly hazardous. They are little, usually black or red, and grow massive hills and colonies, yet the majority of them are not poisonous.
1. Turtle Ants
The genus Cephalotes is known as “turtle” ants. They reside in abandoned tunnels of wood-boring beetles and utilise their disk-shaped heads as living doors to keep themselves safe from the outside world. Another surprising detail about Turtle ants is that they contain a stomach bacterium that helps them breakdown their food, just like humans.
2. Driver Ants
These are a type of army ant found in Africa that is noted for going on massive “raids.” They are completely blind, yet they have extraordinarily powerful senses that compensate for this. They are so numerous that they may consume tiny animals, tearing them apart with their formidable teeth. Although they can be harmful to humans, they are useful for pest control in some Masai tribes’ dwellings.
Driver ants will use their bodies to build bridges and tunnels, while fighting ants will protect the workers as they run through those tunnels. Because their jaws are so powerful, if a Masai tribesman has a severe cut, they can push a driver ant against it, causing its jaws to close, pulling the body away and leaving the head behind, making a natural suture.
3. Honeypot Ants
Honeypot ants are found in Western America and Mexico, as well as South Africa, Australia, and New Guinea. All honeypot ant species have the unusual capacity to store food in their bellies for rainy seasons. Individual worker ants, known as repletes, are being engorged to huge belly sizes, sometimes to the point of immobility.
Honeypot ants typically feed on flowers for nectar, but they have also been observed attacking insects. These living refrigerators contain so many nutrients that many other animals, including us, are eager to hunt them down for a snack.
4. Bulldog Ants
Bulldog ants are typical Australian wild animal species in that they aim to kill you or, at the very least, inflict you great pain. Bulldog ants are one of the most venomous insect species on the planet, and they belong on the Australian continent.
Aside from their capacity to leap enormous distances, their eyesight is among the most powerful in the ant kingdom due to their enormous eyeballs. Bulldog ants can distinguish minute things at a distance of more than 25 times their length, which gives you an indication of how sharp their vision may be. The bulldog ant, due to its highly aggressive behavior, is prone to creating painful and, at times, fatal bites.
5. Trap Jaw Ants
Your odds of swatting the trap-jaw ant in the face are about as tiny as a rake’s. You would imagine how sad their victims must feel when they get caught between these terrifying mandibles, until you discover, much to your surprise, that trap-jaw ants are not antagonistic at all!
If they get into danger, these tropical critters smash their jaws against the ground, and the resulting kinetic energy propels them up and backwards at an incredible height of several feet. This is due to their jaws cracking at the fastest known movement of a living animal on Earth, 143 miles per hour!
At this point, we believe it is safe to state that the Roadrunner has no choice but to bite the trap-jaw ant’s dust in order to escape the enemy’s grasp.
6. Suicide Ants
Carpenter ants are one of the most frequent ant genus. They are well-known for their strength and ability to construct intricate dwellings and tunnels. However, one species, Camponotus saundersi, has a highly unique technique of defending itself if it gets into a battle. It commits suicide by blowing itself up.
Suicide ants have extremely large mandibles, or jaws, that reach the whole length of their bodies, and their sides are loaded with poison glands. When a fight goes awry, it flexes its abdomen and its fangs puncture those poison glands, spreading a sticky, deadly fluid all over the opponent.
7. Dracula Ants
Folk tales about a bloodsucking count who has lived in Transylvania for ages may or may not be accurate. The Madagascar-based ants, on the other hand, disagree with the popular belief that vampires do not exist. Dracula ants dwell on an African island, and their larval blood is their principal source of nutrition.
That’s true, this species engages in non-destructive cannibalism, or the ability to eat someone without killing them. The Dracula ant is the creepiest (ant) species alive, thanks to its vicious teeth, paralyzing stingers, and permanent blindness.
8. Velvet Ants
Velvet ants, with their colorful and fluffy coats, may even appear cute to some. That is, until you realize you are looking at a full-sized, viciously stinging wasp instead of a cat. Velvet ants have a painful sting that can leave you shivering for hours. If you don’t see their brightly colored torsos moving across your floor, you might recognize the velvet ants by the peculiar haunting sounds they emit.
9. Bullet Ants
Bullet ants are notorious for their lethal sting. The bullet ant, which is 1 inch in length, has been dubbed the “24-hour ant,” with the hours representing the long-lasting pain consequences of its bite. The sting of a bullet ant is as terrible as walking on fire while having a nail lodged in your heel and being shocked by a high-voltage current.
Only the 12-year-old boys of the South American Mawe tribe seemed to be capable of enduring this level of discomfort. They have a particular coming-of-age ritual in which they put on custom-tailored gloves stuffed with bullet ants.
10. Leafcutter Ants
Agriculture was not invented by humans as the first species on our planet. In reality, we are among the most recent to adopt these practices, as leafcutter ants have been doing so for millions of years. In the United States, Mexico, and the tropics, you can see swarms of leaf cutter ants transporting their crops.
These leafcutter ants use their keen mandibles to cut new leaves, which they then carry back to their nests to feed a specific species of bacterium that lives in symbiosis with the ants. That is, both creatures have become so interdependent that they cannot survive on their own – the insects provide fresh nutrients in the form of leaves to their visitors, while the fungal grows to eventually become a fungus.
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