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Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Seeds of the Future
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Poison Dart Frogs
Salamanders
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A Wild Ferret Rise
Deep Krill
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Behavior
Body clocks
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Nice Chimps
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Swans
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Quails
Chemistry and Materials
A Framework for Growing Bone
These gems make their own way
Batteries built by Viruses
Computers
Hitting the redo button on evolution
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Early Birds Ready to Rumble
Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
An Ancient Feathered Biplane
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Earth
Meteorites may have sparked life on Earth
Watering the Air
A Great Quake Coming?
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Cactus Goo for Clean Water
Eating Up Foul Sewage Smells
Improving the Camel
Finding the Past
A Long Trek to Asia
Stone Age Sole Survivors
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
Fish
Bull Sharks
Manta Rays
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Food and Nutrition
Sponges' secret weapon
Making good, brown fat
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Capitalization Rules
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Human Body
A Sour Taste in Your Mouth
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Disease Detectives
Invertebrates
Grasshoppers
Nautiluses
Krill
Mammals
African Elephants
Donkeys
Elk
Parents
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Dreams of Floating in Space
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Plants
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Assembling the Tree of Life
A Giant Flower's New Family
Reptiles
Geckos
Reptiles
Rattlesnakes
Space and Astronomy
A Galaxy Far, Far, Far Away
Rover Makes Splash on Mars
Older Stars, New Age for the Universe
Technology and Engineering
Reach for the Sky
Switchable Lenses Improve Vision
Slip Sliming Away
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Troubles with Hubble
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
A Dire Shortage of Water
Catching Some Rays
Where rivers run uphill
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Ants

Ants are one of the most successful groups of insects in the animal Kingdom: and are of particular interest because they are a social insect and form highly organized colonies or nests, sometimes consisting of millions of individuals. Colonies of invasive ant species will sometimes work together and form supercolonies, spanning a very wide area of land. Ant colonies are sometimes described as superorganisms because they appear to operate as a single entity. Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth and can constitute up to 15% of the total animal biomass of a tropical rainforest. As of 2006, there are 11,880 known ant species, most of which reside in hot climates. They can sense with organs located on the antennae, which can detect pheromones and hydrocarbons on the outer layer of the body. The latter is highly important for the recognition of nestmates from non-nestmates. Also, they communicate with sound in the form of vibrations moving through the ground. Most queens and male ants have wings, which they drop after the nuptial flight; however wingless queens and males can occur. The life of an ant starts with an egg, and the sex, female or male, is determined by whether the egg is fertilized or not, respectively. Ants develop by metamorphosis, passing through larval and pupal stages before becoming adults. A new worker spends the first few days of its adult life caring for the queen and young. After that it graduates to digging and other nest work, and then to foraging and defense of the nest. These changes are fairly abrupt and define what are called temporal castes. One theory of why this occurs is because foraging has a high death rate, so ants only participate in it when they are older and closer to death anyway. Smelling antennae: Like other insects, ants smell with their antennae, which are long and thin. These are fairly mobile, having a distinct elbow joint after an elongated first segment, and since they come in pairs they provide information about direction as well as intensity. Pheromones are also exchanged as compounds mixed in with the food interchanged in trophallaxis, giving the ants information about one another's health and nutrition. Ants can also detect what task group (e.g. foraging or nest maintenance) other ants belong to. Of special note, the queen produces a special pheromone without which the workers will begin raising new queens. Small but tough: Ants attack and defend themselves by biting, and in many species, stinging, in both cases sometimes injecting chemicals into the target. Power walkers: Ants usually lose, or never develop, their wings. Therefore, unlike their wasp ancestors, most ants travel by walking. Some tend to develop literal paths, the tiny equivalent of deer paths, as well as creating unseen paths using chemical hints left for each other to smell. Amazing cooperation: The more cooperative species of ants sometimes form chains to bridge gaps, underground, over water, or through spaces in arboreal paths. Sometimes pests: Ants are useful for clearing out insect pests and aerating the soil. On the other hand, they can become annoyances when they invade homes, yards, gardens and fields. Carpenter ants damage wood by hollowing it out for nesting. Nests may be destroyed by tracing the ants' trails back to the nest, then pouring boiling water into it to kill the queen. (Killing individual ants is less than effective due to the secretion of pheromones mentioned above). Ordinary chalk can be used to keep ants at bay; drawing a line or circle around the protected area may prevent them from entering. Some species, called killer ants, have a tendency to attack much larger animals during foraging or in defending their nests. Human attacks are rare, but the stings and bites can be quite painful and in large enough numbers can be disabling.

Ants
Ants








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