15 Best Interesting Ant Facts!
If you've been searching for the ultimate page for all things ant-related, you're in the right place!
Whether the humble ant is your hero or you immediately feel itchy at the thought of the marching around with a leaf, you can't deny that they're interesting creatures. We're such fans of ants, we've rounded up the most interesting facts about these super-strong bugs for you.
Once you've read and absorbed these facts, why not have a laugh at our hilarious ant jokes? Or you may want to learn more about butterflies, spiders, or simply test your knowledge in our ultimate Ant-Man quiz!
1. There are scientists who are experts on ants!
Entomology is the scientific study of insects, but myrmecology is the study of ants. Many years ago, myrmecologists would study ant behaviour and ant societies in detail, and see how they are similar to how humans interact with each other.
2. Ants have been on earth for millions of years!
Recent studies have revealed that ants have been scuttling around and lifting heavy objects for around 130 million years. Before this exciting discovery, myrmecologists based their knowledge on fossilised remains which were just 42 million years old.
3. There are thousands of types of ants!
Experts say that there are roughly 13,000 types of ant which can be discovered all over the world. The majority of these ants favour warmer weather, so the UK is home to about 50 kinds. The most common types in the UK are garden ants, yellow meadow ants, red ants and the horse ant (which doesn't even have hooves).
4. Ants are stronger than you think!
Ants are known for their incredible strength. While one ant couldn't pick up a cup or a smartphone, certain types can lift something which is up to 50 times their own body weight. That's like a grown up lifting up two cars at once!
5. Han Solo is an ant. Well, sort of.
We all know that the actor Harrison Ford is totally blam in his roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, but did you know he does a lot of work to raise awareness about conservation projects which help make the planet a better place? Some scientists – who we can guarantee are Star Wars fans – named one ant after the the actor as a way of saying thank you. This particular ant is called Pheidole harrisonfordi.
6. There's an ant colony which stretches for miles!
According to the Guinness World Records, the biggest ant colony is – get ready for this – 3700 miles wide, which is just showing off. The Argentine ant species is responsible for this, and it stretches from northern Italy to southern France and part of the Spanish coast. It must have taken absolutely ages and definitely bigger than the ant hill above!
7. Not all ants are the same size!
It's true that they're all small, compared to humans. But the Giant Amazonian ant measures just over 4cm, which is HUGE for an ant. They live in the rainforests of South America and feed on stuff like spiders, snails and foliage.
8. Ants can be found all over the world!
Ants are everywhere – especially doorsteps in the summer, for some reason – and can be found on every continent. Apart from Antarctica, which sounds like the sort of continent made for ants. But, as mentioned earlier, they prefer warm weather and would probably complain about a never-ending snowscape. In their squeaky ant voices.
9. The black garden ant is very helpful!
Black garden ants have a bit of a sweet tooth, if you can imagine such a thing, and love honeydew. Experts have said that if an ant finds a stash of food, they'll leave a scent trail for their pals to join in on the feast.
10. Ants can live for years!
The Pogonomyrmex Owyheei queen can live up to 30 years, or 1530 weeks of Beano! Either way, that's a long life for an ant.
11. Ants can hear with their legs!
Ants don't have ears like your pet cat, dog or rabbit. They 'hear' by feeling vibrations in the subgenual organ, which can be found in their legs.
12. Fire ants are responsible for billions of pounds of damage!
Fire ants can wreck crops, which causes threatens the well-being of wildlife. In places like North America or Australia, if fire ants infest an area, people are advised to avoid relaxing in their garden and to keep their pets indoors, as they're known for their stinging bites.
13. Ants are very clean!
Cambridge University scientists have studied the ways in which ants keep clean. They don't use big bath sponges or face flannels, because that would be silly. They do, however, have small combs on their legs. They use these to keep their antennae clean, which is important for communication and looking for food.
14. Ants are similar to cows!
Ants have two stomachs, like a cow. One stomach is for themselves, while the other is to hold food for other ants in their colony. They feed the ants from mouth to mouth, which is a process called trophallaxis. We prefer to eat from a plate, but then again, we're not ants.
15. Here's a fact about Ant-Man star Paul Rudd!
Ant-Man star and Beano fan Paul Rudd is 5’8 (or 178 comics high). Digital effects were used to make him appear to be the size of the superhero, so we expect his costume was a medium or something like that.