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LET'S EXPLORE Mini-beasts

How do ants live?

A yellow meadow antA yellow meadow antAnts have thin waists, long "elbowed" antennae and two strong jaws, called mandibles. They live in large colonies. An ants’ nest is a maze of tunnels and chambers under the ground. Here, the queen ant lays her eggs. The first eggs hatch into worker ants. Workers are females that cannot mate. They keep the nest clean and find food. Later on, winged males and females hatch out. They fly out of the nest to mate. The females become queens.

Workers and queen inside an ants' nestWorkers and queen inside an ants' nest
Ant larvaeAnt larvae


An ant begins life as a grub, or larva. It hatches out of an egg laid by the queen. It does nothing but eat. It sheds its skin as it grows. When it is large enough, the grub spins a silk coat around itself. This hardens into a cocoon. Inside, the larva, now known as a pupa, changes into an adult ant.

Amazon rainforest ant Amazon rainforest ant Ants will fight termites or any other intruder that threatens to attack their nest. They are equipped with powerful jaws. They can also squirt acid at the enemy.

Leafcutter ants

The bullet ant, from the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, has the most painful sting of any insect. It is said to hurt as much as a bullet wound.

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