Ants have several key roles in keeping their environments in balance, including aerating the soil, dispersing seeds, decomposing organic material and serving as a food source. 

An Estimated 20 Quadrillion Ants Live on Earth

The weight of the world’s ants exceeds that of all wild birds and mammals combined

One reader wonders: Why did ants make it all over the Americas while anteaters didn’t?


Why Do Anteaters Live Only in the Tropics and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

A queen Oecophylla smaragdina ant

How Can Ant and Termite Queens Live So Long?

Scientists are working to understand the matriarchs, who can survive decades while investing huge amounts of energy into reproduction

Harvard University professor E.O. Wilson in his office in Cambridge, MA. He is considered to be the world's leading authority on the study of ants.

Remembering E.O. Wilson's Wish for a More Sustainable Existence

From a lifelong passion for ants, E.O. Wilson guided humanity to think of conservation

When the queen dies, Jerdon's jumping ants duel to select their next leader.

A Single Protein Can Switch Some Ants From a Worker Into a Queen

Changing the expression of a one protein in the brains of Jerdon's jumping ants is enough to launch the biological transition

Fire ant swarms form tentacles when they float on water.

Floating Fire Ant Rafts Form Mesmerizing Amoeba-Like Shapes

Researchers say the morphing colonies help ants feel for solid land in a flooded environment—and might inspire swarming robots one day

This month's book picks include The Light of Days, The Musical Human and Empire of Ants.

Books of the Month

Women Resistance Fighters of WWII, the Secret Lives of Ants and Other New Books to Read

These April releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

After a queen ant successfully mates with multiple males, she chews off her wings, returns to the ground and starts a new colony

Swarms of Flying Ants Overtaking Great Britain Show Up as Rain on Radar

Once a year, the winged insects take to the skies and engage in mating rituals

Large ant colonies with tens or hundreds of thousands of members engage in all-out war with other colonies as they compete for resources.

When It Comes to Waging War, Ants and Humans Have a Lot in Common

In both humans and social insects, the capacity to engage in total war seems to hinge on population numbers

The mandibles of the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae, are the fastest known moving animal appendages, snapping shut at speeds of up to 90 meters per second.

A Dracula Ant's Snapping Jaw Is the Fastest Known Appendage in the Animal Kingdom

A new study found that the ant can snap its mandibles at a speed of up to 200 miles per hour—5,000 times faster than the blink of an eye

Signals from other workers can tell ants when and where to fan out and search for food.

Ant Colonies Retain Memories That Outlast the Lifespans of Individuals

An ant colony can thrive for decades, changing its behavior based on past events even as individual ants die off every year or so

Lasius niger queen and worker ants each got their own individual two-dimensional barcode tags. The tags allowed researchers to track their movement in the colony.

Ants Take Sick Days, Too

A new study has found that when some members of the colony are exposed to pathogens, they spend less time in the nest

Even outside of Hollywood, wasps are fierce contenders in their own right.

Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in <i>Ant-Man and the Wasp</i>

Bees tend to get all the attention, but Marvel turns the spotlight on one of nature’s most devious masterminds

Weaver ants demonstrating exploding behavior in experimental setting

'Exploding' Ant Ruptures Its Own Body to Defend Its Nest

It's the ultimate act of self-sacrifice

New Research

Researchers Find 98-Million-Year-Old Horned Vampire Ant Encased in Amber

A newly described species of Hell Ant impaled its tiny victims on its reinforced horn and may have slurped up their bug blood

A member of the Myrmoteras genus of trap-jaw ants, with mandibles deployed.

Prying Apart the Mighty Bite of a Malaysian Trap-Jaw Ant

Its mandibles strike in a fraction of a blink of an eye, but how does it do it?

A small group of floating fire ants

Trending Today

Another Danger of the Harvey Flood: Floating Fire Ants

The stinging insects are floating around Texas floodwaters in giant mats

A close-up of a camel spider's multifaceted mouthparts, taken in Namibia's Namib Desert.

New Research

Camel Spiders Are Fast, Furious and Horrifically Fascinating

Yet another mystery about these arachnids: Why are they so intent on mass-murdering ants?

New Research

How Fire Ants Build Incredible Writhing Towers

Using X-rays, researchers find simple rules help the ants raise each other up, which could be useful in robotics

This false-color image depicts various compounds that ants smell to detect where their nestmates stand in the colony's social hierarchy.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Studying Ant "Noses" Could Lead to Better Bug Repellents

The new class of repellents, called "excito-repellents," is similar to "getting on an elevator with someone who's put on way too much perfume"

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