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Ezekiel Watson
Ezekiel Watson

The Life And Times Of The Ant

It is common for young, newly emerged workers to remain in the nest and tend eggs, larvae and pupae. As the workers age, they may shift their activities away from tending brood and begin to undertake nest construction and excavation. Finally, later in life they may become foragers, leaving the nest to search for food. In contrast to this, some workers may perform the same activities throughout their lives, or in other cases, all workers may undertake all activities of the colony, performing any given activity for a few days before switching to another. In many dimorphic and polymorphic species, the size of the worker will influence its activities. For example, major workers may only be found in or near their nests while only minor workers forage away from the nest.

The Life and Times of the Ant

Like other social insects (i.e., bees, wasps and hornets), ants undergo a metamorphosis in four life stages: egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The entire process can take up to 60 days from start to finish.

The average lifespan of an ant can be anywhere from a few weeks to 15 years. That depends on the species, the role the ant plays and the availability of food sources. For instance, a black garden ant can live almost two decades, while fire ant workers are expected to live less than a month.

Ants and Their Nests is a wonderful books to add to your classroom or home library. Children will enjoy perusing the pages. The real life illustrations highlight the amazing features and facts about ants and their homes.

Ants (Creepy Critters) is a book geared for younger children. The rhymes are cute and interactive bringing the child into the learning quickly and easily. The illustrations are simple and include real life images of ants. The book covers number of body parts with a lot of counting, types of ants with a focus on different colors, habitat, feeding, and life cycle. A sweet book that is sure to interest younger children.

Tiny Workers: Ants in Your Backyard is a wonderfully illustrated and written book that will undoubtedly appeal to children. The book gives a description of the body, eating and mating habits, and lifecycle of the ant. The nerdy side of me particularly liked the anatomy diagram.

One Hundred Hungry Ants is not a book that will teach a child about the life of an ant (except that ants are busy). The book is well written in a rhyming fashion using ants as the tool to introduce young children to basic math concepts, such as skip counting and multiplication. The illustrations are smart. Kids will love them. I imagine using this book along with a concrete objects, such as mini ants, beads or small blocks. Children may even get a hint at more complex topics such as leadership and strategy. The only criticism is the ending but I can live with it.

March with the Ants is a perfect book to introduce ants to your classroom or children. The illustrations are beautiful. The words read like a story even though the books is largely non-fiction describing lifecycle, environment and body parts. My boys (ages 3 and 4.5) had a lot of questions as we read through this book.

After molting several times, the ant larvae pupate. At this stage, the pupae start to resemble the ants you're familiar with. However, their antennae are folded tight against their bodies. Additionally, the pupae are paler in color, starting out almost white and darkening over time.

In some species of ant, the pupae spin cocoons for protection, while other species remain uncovered. Regardless of species, this phase of the life cycle is one of rest. During this time, which spans the course of nine to 30 days, the pupae metamorphosize into adult ants.

An ant's caste, or position within the colony will ultimately determine its lifespan. Males, for example, only live for a few weeks and die after mating with a queen. The female workers can live for several months. Queen ants, on the other hand, can live for decades. In some species, the queens can live to be 30 years old.


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