Now we will tell you about the ant's life cycle. We hope you like it. We ants usually go through 4 stages as they develop: egg>larvae> pupae (or, in some species, cocoon) > adult.
|Image obtained from the website "Ask a Biologist"
An ant’s egg is approximately 0.5 mm in diameter, weighs about 0.0005g and is shaped like a kidney. They have a smooth, sticky, surface which enables them to link together ,which helps out adult ants to move them about more quickly, in case of. Fertilized eggs produce female ants (queens, workers, or soldiers) where as unfertilized eggs produce male ants.
About 7 to 14 days after the cell division the larvae comes out from the eggs. As they grow they shed their skin, usually about 3 times altogether. With each successive moult they become hairier .There are some small differences in the appearance of the larvae of various ant species, for example some are hairier than others. The larvae don't have any legs but they are able to do few very small movements such as bending their head towards a food source.Throughout the ant's body in different places the larvae has tiny buds which later develop into antennae, legs and other organs.
After about 24 to 27 days, once the larvae have gone through all of the skin moults, ants change into one final stage which is the pupae. Pupae looks like white waxy ants that lay with their legs and antennae folded up against their bodies.
As this time passes the body of the ant becomes an adult. In a few species, there is no stage of pupa however the larvae makes itself a cocoon inside which it turns into an adult ant. An example of these species is the Lasius niger.
Care of the larvae and pupae
Some Worker ants stays with the eggs for protection of larvae and pupae.These worker not only take care of the eggs but also of the queen ant who lays the eggs and also cleans the eggs by licking it.
Who is in the Colony?
We ants are common social insects, and our colonies can be of about million ants, and a colony is actually a whole family of ants. Each one of our wonderful ant colonies consist of Queen, worker, soldier, and male ants.
The Queen and the male
Queen - When the queen ant's life is started she has wings, which she also makes use of when she mates. Now before we tell you more you must understand that the queen ant can mate one or more males. So when she does so, her next destination is her nest to which she flies. She then loses her wings, and what she does in the rest of her life is laying eggs, and eggs, and more eggs.
Males - Male ants are tiny, winged ants. As they have a short lifespan, their death opens its doors to them quite soon after they fly from the colony to mate with a queen.
Salute the Soldiers
Soldiers - Soldiers are actually big worker ants, which means that they can't reproduce. They do the job of defending their colony, attacking other colonies and of arresting slaves.
The Worker Ants
Workers - Worker ants unlike the queen, have no wings, and are unable to reproduce. They do a whole lot of work for the colony. Perhaps that is how they got their name. Worker ants are responsible for feeding the ants in the colony with the food which they collect. (We told you that ant are wonderful creatures)Worker ants are the defenders of their colony, and they also help making the colony larger. In a colony, majority of the ants are workers. These worker ants are such helpful creatures made by the Almighty that when their is a lack of food in the colony, they become feeder ants, and feed others with the food in their reserve stomachs.