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Three Types of Ants

Three Types of Ants: Males, Females and Neuters. Life Cycle of Ants.


The constitution of an ant-community may be readily appreciated; but it is, at the same time, important to note the distinctions between the various groups or sects into which the curious colony is divided. A threefold distinction of sex, resulting in the production of three kinds of individual forms, is to be perceived in the ant-colony, as well as among other hymenopterous insects (e.g. bees).

These three grades of individuals are known respectively as males, females, and neuters. The males and females are winged, – the former retaining their wings throughout life, and the latter losing these organs after the pairing is over. During the summer the winged males and females are produced in large numbers, and they soon leave the nest to take their “nuptial flight” in the air, in the course of which the females are impregnated.

The function of the male ants having been thus performed, they die; the females, after impregnation, lose their wings; and whilst in this comparatively helpless state they are conveyed by the neuters to new situations, where they become the founders of fresh colonies.

 

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