How an anthill works

On this score, there is an excellent quote from Lewis Thomas: “Ants are so much like us humans that it’s even somehow embarrassing. They grow mushrooms, breed aphids as milking cows, send armies of soldiers to war, spray chemicals to frighten and confuse opponents, take prisoners prisoners, exploit child labor, and exchange information incessantly. In short, they do everything - except that they don't watch TV. "

Ants are almost like humans. There is an initial set of qualities: aggressiveness, intelligence, enterprise, speed of reactions, the ability to interact with others. Depending on them, each ant receives its own profession.

The queen of ants is the uterus - a sexually mature female. The queen is able to establish a new anthill. To do this, she pulls out a small underground corridor, where she subsequently lays eggs.

Ants have a specialty - a guard. It is received by those individuals who show aggressiveness early. Of course, they also have intelligence, but not so developed: it is not so important for soldiers to reason - they should rush to defend common resources without undue hesitation.

Another profession is honeydew pickers. In a sense, ants have their own pets. Aphids feed on plant sap and secrete drops of a sweetish liquid called honeydew. Mutually beneficial cooperation has been established between ants and aphids. Ants collect honeydew - for them it is tasty and nutritious food, the main source of carbohydrates. And as a return service, they protect their green cows from predators.

There is also a division of labor among honeydew pickers. You can, of course, single-handedly get the coveted drop of sweet liquid and drag it into the anthill yourself. But this is not rational from the point of view of logistics.

Therefore, there are ants who work as shepherds (or milkers): they tickle aphids, ensuring high milk yield. And the resulting products are transported by others.

Ants carefully monitor the condition of their home. The medium-sized anthill consists of 4–6 million needles and twigs. Every day, hundreds of building ants carry them from above to the depths of the anthill, and from the lower floors to the top.

This ensures a stable humidity regime for the nest, and therefore the dome of the anthill remains dry after rain, does not rot or mold.

The nest also has its own hospitals where doctors, for example, surgeons, work. And in the event that someone of their inhabitants injured a limb, that is, an arm or a leg, the surgeons amputate it (gnaw it off).

Also, there are surely “keepers” of nectar in the ant family. They are needed in that unforeseen case, if hunger happens in the anthill and the worker ants can no longer get food.

Slavery is widespread in some species. Ants attack someone else's anthill and steal pupae. Then they grew up in a strange anthill, the captives work for his good.

Another thing is surprising: in the ant family there is no "brain center" that would control the general efforts to achieve the desired result, be it repairing an anthill, obtaining food or protecting against enemies. Moreover, the anatomy of an individual ant - scout, worker, or queen ant - does not allow placing this "brain center" in a separate ant.

The physical size of its nervous system is too small, and the amount of programs and data accumulated by generations is too large, necessary to control the vital activity of the anthill.

Anthill cutaway

01. Covering of needles and twigs. Protects the home from the vicissitudes of the weather, is repaired and renewed by worker ants.

02. "Solarium" - a chamber heated by the rays of the sun. In the spring, the inhabitants come here to warm up.

03. One of the entrances. Guarded by soldiers. Serves as a ventilation duct.

04. "Cemetery". This is where the worker ants carry dead fellows and garbage.

05. Winter chamber. Insects congregate here to survive the half-hibernation cold.

06. "Bread barn". This is where the ants store their grains.

07. The Tsar's chamber, where the uterus lives, which lays up to one and a half thousand eggs a day. Working ants look after her.

08. Chambers with eggs, larvae and pupae.

09. "Cowshed" where ants contain aphids.

10. "Meat pantry", where foragers bring caterpillars and other prey.