Review of Related Literatures
With over 12, 000 described species, ants, from the family Formicidae, are the most diverse of all social insects. They occupy “virtually all major terrestrial habitats” displaying a “remarkable range of social behaviors, foraging habits and associations” with other organisms (Bolton et al, 2006; as cited in Ward, 2007).
A. 1. Ant’s social organization and feeding habits
Typically ants include three castes: winged, fertile, and females or queens; wingless, infertile females or workers; and winged male. Those ordinarily seen are workers. In some colonies ants of the worker type may become soldiers or members of other specialized castes. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004)
Different species differ widely in their duties and may be carnivorous, herbivorous, or omnivorous. Members of some species eat honeydew from plants infested with aphids and certain other insects; others called dairying ants, feed and protect the aphids ad “milk” them by stroking. Harvester ants eat and store seeds; these sometimes spout around the nest, leading to the erroneous belief that these ants cultivate food.
(The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004)
A. 2. Reproduction and population
Scientists from CNRS found that colonies in tropical forests tend to produce numerous, low-quality queens. In contrast, colonies in the temperate forests tend to produce less, high-quality queens. In addition, they found that if independent foundation of new colonies becomes ineffective, colonies multiply by splitting up the group. (CRNS, 2008)
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is a very invasive pest in Southern U.S.A. and in all parts of the world. Scientists determined the arrival of these ants is by the unloading of cargos at the port of Mobile, Ala in the mid-1930. Researchers studied the genetic variation and estimated the number of queens that lead to this variation. They predicted that it is likely that initial invasion consisted of only nine to 20 unrelated queens. (Fountain, 2008)
B. Navigation of ants
Researchers for University of Zurich found that ants traveling in the desert’s rough terrain use vector navigation to plot their course. They also found that ants were able to separate the relationship of stepping frequency and length. A researcher also said that once ants remove their speed, they can demonstrate a marginal influence on their travels. (UPI, 2008)
The students of the University of Sussex in Britain found out that ants was able remember the location of their food and location of their home. The experiment gives idea on how the ants locate their destinations using their memory. The experiment also tells that ants know where is their left and right and this was their guide in searching for food. (Than, 2008)
Just recently, a study by the Technical University of Munich and the Brazilian Center for Physics Research discovered that “miniscule magnets found in ant antennae could help to explain why these insects seem to...