Ants are the most organised and social life forms on Earth that live in colonies. An ant is an invertebrate animal that belongs to the class of insect. There are over 12,500 ant species classified in this world. Due to their highly sophisticated colonising and social skills, ants have been the greatest interest of biological research for Homo sapiens. Other spectacular skills of ants include the ability to teach, learn, cultivate its food and solve complex problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do ants communicate?
Ants communicate each other primarily by leaving the pheromone signal trails. Ants have two antennae, which are used to sense the pheromone trails left by other ants. For example, when a scout ant goes around on a mission to look for food, it leaves a pheromone trail at certain intervals to mark its path. When it returns with the information of a potential food source, the ant will leave a continuous pheromone trail for the worker ants to follow it. The two antennae are sensitive to touch as well. When the ants travel in a line, following the pheromone scent, they often bump into each other to exchange information such as the taste of the food, the validity of the path, friend or foe knowledge, and more.
Why don’t ants get hurt when they fall from heights?
Small insects like ants have a very low terminal velocity on Earth, when compared to animals with higher mass. This low terminal velocity is attributed to the mass of the object that falls. As the tiny mass (ant) falls from a cliff or a very high structure, gravity accelerates it downwards. But at the same moment, the atmosphere will provide an upward drag due to air resistance and soon would balance the weight of the ant. When the acceleration stops, the ant would have reached its terminal velocity. So the ant hits the ground at a very low terminal velocity, which doesn't hurt it.
This could also be analysed from the point of square-cube law. According to the law of nature, when a body grows, the volume triples in size when compared to the area, which only doubles. As gravitational force scales as the mass increases, if the ant were replaced with an elephant, the increased volume would increase its mass and therefore the gravitational attraction downwards. The drag, however, scales only with the surface area. Therefore, the elephant would accelerate for long due to its weight and would attain a high terminal velocity, which on impact would severely hurt the elephant (and perhaps the ground). In the case of the ant, both the volume and surface area is tiny and hence the terminal velocity would only be about a metre per second.