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  • Difference Between Ants and Termites

    Ants vs Termites

    Ants and Termites are insects. Check out more and specific Differences between Ants and Termites.

    They belong to phyllum Arthropoda in the classification of animals. Ants are small and find mention in folklore with tales woven around them about their team effort and social communication. Termites, too, live in huge colonies and do possess a communication aspect but have been deemed harmful insects that cause economic loss to human society.
    Ant are social insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. Over 12,500 out of an estimated 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist.

    Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organized colonies which may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. These larger colonies consist mostly of sterile wingless females forming castes of ‘workers’, ‘soldiers’, or other specialized groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called “drones” and one or more fertile females called ‘queens’. The colonies are sometimes described as super organisms because the Ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.

    Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous Ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems, and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass.[ Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.

    Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study.

    Many human cultures use Ants in cuisine, medication and rituals. Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents.However, their ability to exploit resources brings Ants into conflict with humans, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, like the red imported fire ant, are regarded as invasive species, establishing themselves in areas where they are accidentally introduced.

    Formosan subterranean termite soldiers (red colored heads) and workers (pale colored heads).
    Scientific classification
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
    Subclass: Pterygota
    Infraclass: Neoptera
    Superorder: Dictyoptera
    Order: Blattodea

    In contrast Termites are
    are a group of eusocial insects that, until recently, were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera, but are now accepted as the epifamily Termitoidae, of the cockroach order Blattodea. While Termites are commonly known, especially in Australia, as white Ants, they are only distantly related to the Ants.

    Like Ants, some bees, and wasps—which are all placed in the separate order Hymenoptera—Termites divide labour among castes, produce overlapping generations and take care of young collectively. Termites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung, and about 10 percent of the estimated 4,000 species (about 2,600 taxonomically known) are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to buildings, crops or plantation forests. Termites are major detritivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and other plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.

    As eusocial insects, Termites live in colonies that, at maturity, number from several hundred to several million individuals. Colonies use decentralized, self-organized systems of activity guided by swarm intelligence which exploit food sources and environments unavailable to any single insect acting alone. A typical colony contains nymphs (semi-mature young), workers, soldiers, and reproductive individuals of both genders, sometimes containing several egg-laying queens.

    Posted under: Animal
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