BioKIDS — Kids Inquiry of Diverse Species, Formicidae, ants, fourmis: INFORMATION

Critter Catalog


Local animals in this group:

Additional information:

Find ants, fourmis information at

ants, fourmis

What do they look like?

Ants are skinny insects. Like their relatives the wasps, they have a narrow connection between their abdomen and thorax. They have chewing mouthparts, and their antennae are bent in the middle. Some ant species are very tiny (1-2mm long), but some tropical species are very large (30 mm). Most species are 5-15 mm long. Some ant species can sting, and all can bite. Ants have lots of glands for producing chemicals. Most ant species are brown, but some are black, some are yellowish, and some are partly or entirely red.

Each ant colony has several different kinds of ants. They are all the same species, but they look different. Most of the ants you see are workers. They are female, but they cannot reproduce. They do all the work in the nest and protect it from enemies. Some ant species have different sizes of workers for different jobs: large ones with big jaws hunt or protect the nest, while smaller ones work inside, tending the young and digging. Inside the nest is the queen, she is a large female, and is the only one who can lay eggs. Some ant species have several queens in a nest, some have only one. At certain times in the summer there will be new queens and males in the nest as well. They have wings, and fly out to mate and start new nests. Males are usually smaller than females. Only males and queen ants have wings, but the queens remove their wings when they start a new nest. Worker ants never have wings.

Where do they live?

Ants are very important insects all around the world, especially in tropical regions. There are over 11,000 species in the world, and at least 90 species in Michigan.

What kind of habitat do they need?

Ants are found just about every habitat on land except the very coldest. All ant species need sheltered places to nest and take care of their offspring. Most species nest underground, but some nest in trees. Some very small ant species can make nests inside acorns and other small hiding places.

Adult ants can live in drier conditions than many other invertebrates, but ant eggs and young need humid conditions to survive.

How do they grow?

Ants have complete metamorphosis. Queen ants lay eggs. The baby ant that hatches from the egg is a larva, with no legs, just a soft white body like a worm and a small head. The larvae are fed by the queen (in the first generation) and then by workers. The amount and kind of food an ant larva gets helps determine how big it will be as an adult, and whether it will be a worker or a queen. Each larva grows and molts, and eventually spins a small cocoon of silk, and inside the cocoon it transforms into a pupa. The pupa is a resting stage, it doesn’t move or eat, but just completes the transformation into an adult ant. The new adult emerges from cocoon to join start working for the nest.

How do they reproduce?

  • Mating System
  • monogamous
  • eusocial

Ants live in colonies where one or a few females, called queens, lay all the eggs. Most of the queens’ offspring become worker ants that do not reproduce. A few are males, and some become new queens. Each queen ant can lay thousands of eggs per year.

When a new queen finds a good place for a nest, she builds a small chamber and lays some eggs. When the eggs hatch, she finds food, and feeds and takes care of them until they mature. They become workers, and they take over all the work in the nest. The queen does nothing but lay eggs.

How long do they live?

Queen ants can live for several years. Workers may live for a year but many only live for a few months. Males die as soon as they mate, so they only live for a few weeks. Sometimes a nest has several queens, and they can keep a large colony going for many years.

How do they behave?

Different ant species are active at outside the nest at different times of day. Many are active at night, some in the daylight. Workers are active inside the nest as long as it is warm enough: tending the young, expanding the nest, collecting food, disposing of waste, and protecting the nest from predators and parasites. Ants often carry food and water by swallowing it, and keeping it in a separate stomach, then regurgitating it to share with other nestmates. Ants use chemicals to work together. If their nest is attacked they produce alarm chemicals that cause other workers to come and help defend the nest.

See also:  Fever in Children (High Temperature), Causes and Treatment, Patient

How do they communicate with each other?

Ants can see, but not very well. They mainly communicate with scent and touch. They have complicated chemical signals that allow them to work together on different tasks. They often spread information by touching each other’s antennae or head. Some ants also make noises by rubbing their legs against their body.

What do they eat?

Ant species eat many different foods. Some specialize in sugary liquids like nectar and the «honeydew» produced by aphids and other insects (see Aphids). Many eat other insects and other small animals, and scavenge dead meat. Some others specialize in eating seeds or fungus. Ants drink from dew, rain drops, and puddles, and sometimes they get their moisture from their food (like nectar).

Many ant species store food in their nests, especially the seed-eating ants. Others eat fungus that they grow in their nest. Ants that find a big food source leave a chemical trail, so that their nestmates can find the food too. Pretty soon there is a busy column of ants going back and forth from the nest to the food source.

Leaf-cutter ants live in warm climates, they cut up leaves and carry them into their nests underground. They eat the fungus that grows on the leaves. Army ants and driver ants roam through jungles and tropical habitats eating any animals they can find. They are big ants with sharp jaws, and there are many thousands of them in a group. They will eat any animals, even large ones, that they can catch.

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

Worker ants attack predators, they will die to protect their nest. Some ant species can sting, and all can bite (though the little ones can’t hurt a large animal). Many ants also have toxic chemicals they can spray on their enemies.

What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

Ants are very important in lots of roles. Some species disperse seeds, some are important predators of insects, some tropical species are important herbivores. Their digging often improves the soil for plant growth.

Do they cause problems?

Ants can be major pests. Carpenter ants make their nests in wood, including houses, and several ant species come into houses looking for food. In the tropics leaf-cutter ants attack crops in the fields. Some stinging ants can be dangerous to people. Recently an ant species from South America was accidentally brought to the southern United States. It is called the Imported Fire Ant, and it makes large nests with thousands of stinging defenders.

  • Ways that these animals might be a problem for humans
  • injures humans
    • bites or stings
  • crop pest
  • household pest

How do they interact with us?

Ants are important predators of insects, including flies, caterpillars, and other pests.

  • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
  • controls pest population

Are they endangered?

Several ant species are considered threatened or in danger of extinction. This is because they live in special habitats that are very rare and may be destroyed by human construction or environmental change.

  • IUCN Red List [Link] Not Evaluated

Some more information.

In some parts of the world, including the United States, ant species have been accidentally brought in from other continents. These invader ants are causing a lot of problems.

. «Formicidae» (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 24, 2020 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
Copyright © 2002-2020, The Regents of the University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Which animals and insects can eat bed bugs?

Which animals eat bed bugs? This an understandable question because bed bugs multiply so fast and you want something to stop them. So, what eats bed bugs and slow down them?

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are insects which are blood-fed parasites. They feed on mammalians like bats, dogs, cats or human and their favorite food source is human.

When they host in your home, they will always prefer human as their main source. Even if there are pets at home like a dog or a cat, they won’t feed on them if they can keep feeding on you.

Therefore, bed bugs are disturbing for you. They hide in their hosts like cracks, cabinets, clothes or holes and go out for feeding usually at nights.

And when you wake up to a beautiful day, the rest of your day will become a nightmare because of red spots on your body and endless itching which was caused by bed bug bites.

Which animals eat bed bugs?

A person can ask this question for two intentions. First, he wants to have a pet which will eat bed bugs and second, there are some other insects around so, he wonders if those insects will eat bed bugs or not.

Do spiders eat bed bugs?

Spider are usually harmless arachnids. Even if they can be scary for some people, most species of spiders won’t bite or disturb you.

They eat a huge variety of foods including flies, butterflies, moths or mosquitoes. Most spiders prefer to wait in their hidden areas or webs and attack their hunts when they are close enough to them while some are fast enough to run after their hunts and capture them.

As I told above, their dinner menu is rich, and it includes bed bugs. Spiders are natural predators and they will enjoy bed bugs!

Do cockroaches eat bed bugs?

When you see a cockroach moving with a hurry in your kitchen, that means you have some problems. They are unwanted guests of our houses.

When it’s about the menu of cockroaches, the question is not “what they eat?”, but it must be “what they don’t eat?”.

They are omnivore and they eat anything around including plants or animals. So, they eat bed bugs too.

Do ants eat bed bugs?

First, you must know that there are thousands of ants and the answer depends on the type of ants.

See also:  6 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Pesticides

Ants are omnivore too and they eat a lot of things including seeds, plants or animals. In their natural habitat, ants eat worms, spider or even other ants.

So, yes, some types of ants like argentine ants, pharaoh ants or fire ants will eat bed bugs. But not every kind of ants in your home will eat bed bugs.

Do silverfish eat bed bugs?

Silverfish are metallic colored pests which are not harmful for human. They don’t bite or sting you. What makes them unwanted is their extraordinary view with 3 long appendages on their bodies.

Their main diet exists of textiles including silk, paper and other things. They may eat some dead insects too.

Even if they eat dead insects, we can not say that they are natural predators for bed bugs.

Do ladybugs eat bed bugs?

Ladybugs are known as considered good luck. Most of them are predators and eat other insects. Their menu includes aphids, mites, flies and other insects with soft bodies.

For adult bed bugs are as large as ladybugs, ladybugs can’t eat them. But we can say that, ladybugs will eat baby bud bugs and nymphs.

Do centipedes eat bed bugs?

Centipedes are arachnoids which can move very fast. They may have 15 to 175 pairs of legs and their size are from 5 to 150 mm depending on their species.

They are natural predators too and can eat a lot of species of insects like spiders, moths, crickets, cockroaches and bed bugs.

And yes, they will eat and enjoy bed bugs!

Do masked hunters eat bed bugs?

Masked hunters may be your best ally on your war against bed bugs. Because their primarily and favorite food is bed bugs.

What’s wrong with them is that they bite you too. Their bite is very painful and this makes them a dangerous solution for bed bugs.

Do cats or dogs eat bed bugs?

Cats and dogs are not guests of our homes, but a member of it. If you have a cat or a dog in your home, you may wonder if they will help you fighting with the bed bugs.

Cats eat bugs and they really enjoy it. They like eating spiders, crickets or grasshoppers. But when it’s about cats eating bed bugs, no, they will not prefer to eat bed bugs. Because bed bugs are small sized with a length of 1 to 5 mm and that won’t draw the cat’s attention.

Dogs will not eat bed bugs too.

Natural enemies of bed bugs

So, let’s make a list of natural predators for bed bugs:

  • Cockroaches: Eat bed bugs
  • Masked hunters: Their favorite hunt is bed bugs
  • Pharaoh ants: Natural predators for bed bugs
  • Spiders: Some types are enemies of bed bugs
  • Ladybugs: They can eat nymphs and small sized bed bugs
  • Centipedes: Eat bed bugs


Becoming a natural predator for bed bugs doesn’t make those bugs a trusty ally. Any kind of bugs in your home should be thrown out immediately.

But when it’s about fighting with bed bugs, you can ignore the existence of some bugs for a while. They can’t kill all bed bugs and end this problem for you, but they can help you.

So, you must remember that natural enemies of bed bugs can eat them, but if you want to end this invasion, you must check for some real solutions.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Insects in the World

With more than 1 million species, insects are the most diverse group of organism on earth. This domination of the insect is not only in the case of numbers. But also they comprise some of the most beautiful groups of creatures on the planet including butterflies, dragonflies, bees, beetles, and moths. Here the list of 10 most beautiful insects in the world.

10 Atlas Moth

Atlas moth is the largest species of moth in the world. A fully grown Atlas moth has a wingspan up to 12 inches and a surface area of 62 square inches. This large moth is also one of the most beautiful moths in the world. They have very attractive rusty-brown fore and hind wings with purple, red, yellow and black outlines.

Interestingly, the curved wingtips of Atlas moth with impressive markings and patterns resemble snakehead. They use it to defend the potential predators. Despite the largest species of moth in the world, Atlas moth doesn’t eat after hatching because these moths don’t have a mouth.

9 Glasswinged Butterfly

Glasswinged butterflies are named after their beautiful, transparent wings. It’s a rare feature among the family of butterflies. As you can imagine, rather than reflecting lights, the wings of these butterflies let the light to pass through. This exotic butterfly lives in gardens and warm or humid forests of Central America.

The wingspan of glass-winged butterflies can reach 5.5 to 6 cm. The transparent wings make these butterflies very difficult to spot. That’s exactly how they hide away from predators like birds. The borders of their wings have a dark brown color. That’s what helps us to see this incredibly beautiful insect.

Top 10 Most Colorful Animals In The World

8 Blue Bottle Fly

Bluebottle fly is a house fly like looking attractive insect that found in most areas around the world. In fact, it is larger than a housefly. The shiny blue colored body is what makes them so attractive. They also have black marking on the body. Their eyes are red and have short, little antennas.

7 Praying Mantis

Praying mantis is named so because it has long front legs that can be held together in prayer position. There are about 1800 known species of praying mantises in the world. They live in tropical habitats around the world.

This cute insect has a long neck and a triangular shaped head with large eyes. The flexible joints in the head also let praying mantises to turn their 180 degrees. The green coloration helps them to blend with the surroundings easily. It’s the mechanism they use against potential predators.

6 Filbert Weevil

Filbert weevil is an attractive but harmful insect native to the Western part of North America. It’s considered as a pest as they can cause damage to oak trees. Both larvae and weevil feed on the acorn of the oak trees.

See also:  Head Lice, Doctor, Patient

These small insects have an attractive long snout. But it is tough to spot them. Because these weevils are mottled brown. So they remain hidden on oak trees.

5 Ladybug

Ladybug is a beautiful, farmer-friendly insect that famed for its oval-shaped body with distinctive spots. They also are known as lady beetles and ladybird beetles. There are 5000 different types of ladybugs in the world. Even though ladybugs exist in various colors and patterns, an orange or red body with black spots is the most common.

The bright color of ladybugs is a warning to their predators. If threatened, these insects secrete a fluid from the joints in their legs which make them taste awful. Like said earlier, the ladybug is a family-friendly insect. Because it mainly feeds on plant-eating insects.

4 Christmas Beetle

Christmas beetle is a brilliantly colored beetle native to Australia. These beetles are named so because they are abundant in urban areas close to Christmas. There are around 35 species of Christmas beetles in Australia. It’s a large insect with a maximum length of 20 mm. Just like the name, these beetles are famous for their bright colors. Most species found in green, golden and brown colors.

3 Emerald Swallowtail

Native to forests of Southeast Asia, Emerald Swallowtail is one of the most beautiful and colorful butterflies in the world. They also are known as an emerald peacock or green banded peacock. As the name suggests, the wings of these butterflies have stunning emerald green bands with dark green to the black background.

The underside of emerald swallowtails is orange with blue-black spots. Their wing can reach up to 3.9 inches.

2 Orchid Bee

Orchid bees are one of the most colorful insects in the world. There are 200 different species of orchid bees in the world. They live in tropical and subtropical regions of South and Central America. This beautiful insect group can be seen in different colors including metallic blue, green, purple, gold and bronze colors.

There is a strong reason behind why orchid bees named so. They play a significant role in pollinating more than 700 species of orchids in the tropical region. Despite the small size, orchid bees are active fliers and go for long distances (up to 30 miles) in search of food.

Besides the brilliant colors, a long tongue is another highlighting feature of orchid bees. Their tongue can measure up to 1.6 inches in length. It aids in drinking nectar from deep flowers.

Are happy go lucky people the most dangerous enemies?

12 Answers

Yes, they sure are

  • Login to reply the answers Post

No. I am a happy go lucky person and I am not dangerous

  • Login to reply the answers Post

I am a happy go lucky person.

I do not think I am a dangerous enemy.

  • Login to reply the answers Post

naa. for my age, i think that for the most part, i’m happy-go-lucky and i wouldn’t hurt a flea on a pimples a$$.

  • Login to reply the answers Post

NO, violent tweekers are. Or someone involved in the mob.

Or your local police dept. once the opertunity presents it’s self they will take it!

  • Login to reply the answers Post

I wouldn’t think so, they don’t usually even make

people mad, or «seem» to get mad themselves,

much less hold a grudge.

That’s kinda the antithesis of «enemy», isn’t it?

  • Login to reply the answers Post

yepper just ask me. I am happy go lucky. jkz

  • Login to reply the answers Post

No, the government is.

  • Login to reply the answers Post

Well, if they are smiling you wonder what they are up to.

The 5 hungriest animals

1. The American Pygmy Shrew (Sorex hoyi)

With a pulse clocking in at more than a 1000 per minute, the smallest mammal in North America really needs lots of food to keep its phenomenal metabolism going. Every day it eats three times its own weight. To do so it needs to constantly eat and never sleeps for more than a few minutes. An hour without food would mean certain death. But this high-octane life style takes its toll – the 5 cm long animals typically live barely a year.

(Photo Credit: CC BY 2.0 Flickr/polandeze)

2. The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

As the largest animal ever to have lived you’d expect the blue whale to be a good eater. 30 meters long and weighing some 170 tons, it eats up to 3,6 tons of krill (a type of plankton) a day. That’s equivalent to a daily intake of 1.5 million Calories – or about 6000 Snickers bars.

(Photo Credit: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Flickr/flickkerphotos)

3. The Humming Bird (Trochilidae)

With its heart beating up to 20 times a second during hovering flight, humming birds need lots of food to maintain their phenomenal flight engines powering their wings which can flap up to 80 times a second. They eat up to twice their weight in nectar every day making them not only the hungriest birds but the hungriest animals outside the insect realm.

(Photo Credit: CC BY-NC-SA Flickr/Jason Paluck)

4. The Giant Weta (Anostostomatidae)

With a span of up to 18cm and a weight of 70 grams, this creepy crawly is considered the largest insect in the world. Here’s a specimen that is officially the largest on record – discovered by a former park ranger on new Zealand’s Little Barrier island. And it is very hungry indeed. The news item shows it attempting to gobble up a carrot. The park ranger added: “She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species and we didn’t want to risk indigestion.”

(Photo Credit: CC BY-ND 2.0 Flickr/mikex)

5. The Star-Nosed Mole (Condylura cristata)

If you are hungry, you want to eat. Quickly. By that measure the star-nosed mole must be one of the hungriest animals around – because it eats faster than any other mammal. It , both, finds and swallows its food typically in less than a quarter of a second. Which is about as fast as you blink.

(Photo Credit: CC BY-NC 2.0 Flickr/hillbraith)

December 26, 2013


No comments

Добавить комментарий

Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.