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HYMENOPTERA, Formicidae (Stephans 1829) (Vespoidea) - (formerly in Formicoidea)

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          Formicidae. --The ants exist as many species and they are numerically very abundant.  Polymorphism is pronounced.  The various social orders in the family have developed around a caste system.  This includes a queen, workers, soldiers, etc.  The workers can appear in different shapes and forms as influenced by nutrition and care among individuals of the colony.  All of the workers are wingless.


          The abdomen in this group is rather soft and able to take on a great deal of food, which other members of their colony are able to solicit.  They obtain it by stroking the bearer who then regurgitates the food.


          Colony Establishment. -- New males and females in the colony develop wings, after which they swarm and mate.  The females fall to the ground and chew off their wings, while the males dies.  The female then finds a suitable place to construct a cell into which she will lay eggs.  While waiting for the eggs to hatch, the female does not feed.  She derives nourishment by absorbing internal body parts, such as wing muscles, etc.


          Some species such as the driver and army ants are nomadic.  Conspicuous nests in the ground may be 2.7 meters or more below the surface.  Ants also may live in oak acorns, dry stems, etc.  Their food includes seeds, dead insects, aphid honeydew and household foods.  They may even take aphids into their nests for the winter where they are attended.


          Ant control in houses is possible with poison bait traps.  The treatment of concrete foundations with insecticides is a more drastic approach.



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References:   Please refer to  <biology.ref.htm>, [Additional references may be found at:  MELVYL Library]


Bolton, Barry. 1995.  A New General Catalogue of the Ants of the World. Harvard University Press.


Borror DJ,  C.  A. Triplehorn & D. M. Delong. 1989. Introduction to the Study of Insects, 6th Edition. Saunders College Publishing.


Creighton, W. S.  1950.  Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., Harvard Univ. 104:  1-585.


Hölldobler B & E. O. Wilson. 1990. The Ants. Harvard University Press.


Hölldobler B & E. O. Wilson. 1990. The Ants. Harvard University Press.


Hölldobler B & E. O. Wilson. 1998. Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration. Belknap Press.


Hölldobler B & E. O. Wilson. 2009. The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance and Strangeness of Insect Societies. Norton & Co.


Janzen, D.  1967.  Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 47:  315-558.


Pilgrim, E. M., C. D. Von Dohlen & J. P. Pitts.  2008.  Molecular phylogenetics of Vespoidea indicate paraphyly of the superfamily and novel relationships of its component families and subfamilies. Zoologica scripta, 37: 539-560.


Smith, M. R.  1947.  Amer. Midl. Nat. 37:  521-647.


Wheeler, G. C. & J. Wheeler.  1972.  Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 74:  35-45.


Wheeler, W.  1926.  Ants.  Columbia Univ. Press.  663 p.


Wilson, E. O. & W. L. Brown.  1956.  New parasitic ants of the genus Kyidris, with notes on ecology and behavior.  Ins. Sociaux 3:  439-54.