Did you know that ants have an very complex and interesting social hierarchy? Ants do have a queen but a king is something they have never heard of. There are several reasons why a king ant does not exist as there are reasons why there is a queen ant.
Do ants have a king?
In the world of ants, there is no such thing as a king ant. The only role a male ant plays is to mate with the virgin queen ants. Through mating, they provide the necessary sperm that the queen ants need to lay eggs. Queen ants also do not rule over other workers or female ants in their lifetime.
In an ant community, there is an orderly system that mainly includes queen ant, male ant, soldier ants, and female ants. All ants are responsible for specific takes which they carry out every day.
The biggest of the ants are also the queen ants and you might want to know that there can be more than one ant in the colony. These queen ants go off and begin their colony once they have mated with the male ant.
In their lifetime, they will use muscle as well as fats and the stored eggs to nourish the colony and produce young. In all this, there is no social task of the king or the mating male ant to be present.
While the role of the male ant is limited to mating and losing life soon after, the role of female ants is much bigger.
Female ants are ones that go on to become future queen ants when they lay eggs. Likewise, soldier or worker ants protect the community, gather food and guard the nests.
Since each has their task, no ant commands others. Additionally, a queen ant can survive and lay eggs without the need for a male ant. This is precisely why there is no need for a king ant to exist.
More than the importance of the king role, worker or soldier ants play a much important role in the ant community, similar to the role of the queen ant.
Why don’t ants have a king?
As you might have known already, ants don’t have a king. Here are 3 primary reasons why there is no existence of a king ant in the animal kingdom–
Male ants lose life after mating:
As peculiar as it may sound, the only purpose male ants have in this world get completed as soon as they mate with a female ant. This female ant, then goes on to become queen ant in the future, once it starts laying eggs.
When male ants complete the mating process with the future queen ants, soon after some time, the male ants will always lose life. This further means that the queen ant does not require assistance from male ants at any point in her entire life.
The female ant, once mating is done, stores the sperms of the male ants. For the rest of her days, the female ant lays eggs to transform into a queen ant.
Male ants are not leaders:
There is a social hierarchy in every community and society, where every person is assigned a role. Even in families, you can say there is ahead of the family, where one member controls all the finances while the other controls the household.
Likewise, in the social hierarchy of the ant world, male ants are not designated with any leader like work.
A Queen ant is enough:
There is no system in the ant community where the male and female ant involves themselves in a lifetime of breeding.
The Queen ant’s contribution to the animal world holds true to the title given to it. Since there is no need for a King during the time of a queen ant’s life and needs, ants don’t have or need a king either.
In short, thanks to the miracles of nature that a Queen ant does not require a King ant to exist.
Do ants have rulers or leaders?
In any society or community, a leader is the one who commands a group and is considered to be the central head.
However, in the ant world, there is no such title given to anyone. This is because, no male ant, neither the queen ant in the community will tell any other ant what to do.
The social structure of ants is more or less complex, although each ant has their task, while no one is there to take the lead. For instance, the job of the young ants includes guarding nests, protecting baby ants as well as the queen ant.
The queen ant, does have the most important role in the colony but does not qualify as a leader.
What are the roles of ants in the colony?
Since ants have no leaders, the colony sustains as each ant has a specific task and role which they carry out diligently. Here is what role each type of ant plays out in the ant world–
The queen ant, you may say, is the most important part of the ant community. Without the role and work of a queen ant, no ant world would ever exist.
The primary role of the queen ant is to lay eggs. In short, the queen eggs are the founder of the ant community and also the ones to take ant generations ahead. In order to populate society, there can be a few queen ants in the same ant community.
Once a female ant mates with a male ant, they store the sperm of the male and use those to fertilize the eggs.
Over their lifetime of 10 to 15 years, the queen ant lays as many eggs as they can to increase the population of the ant world. Although their role is most vital, queen ants still do not command over other ants in any way.
Male ants of the ant world are primarily confined to one role. They only come to the world to mate with future queen ants and provide them with the store of sperms required to make female eggs fertile.
The male ants are not limited to their duty of mating with female ants that, after some time of mating, male ants lose life. Since most worker ants are also female, male ants have little to contribute to the ant world.
With so little, although important role of male ants, the female ants rule the ant world. Female ants are future queen ants after they start carrying ant eggs. However, they are also responsible to gather food, carry them and cater to the need of queen ants.
Second, to queen ants, soldier ants also play a significant role in the survival of the whole ant community. Compared to the other groups, soldiers’ ants or worker ants are the most active ones.
One of the more crucial roles of a soldier ant is to attend to ant eggs. Not only do they protect the eggs, but also clean and feed the larvae. They also build nests.
Other than that, soldier ants will also guard the nests constantly without leaving the spot too often. Interestingly, soldier ants also use their antennae to find out information about food and intruders.
How does an ant become a queen and start a new colony?
Female ants or virgin queen ants grow up in their mother colony. Once a female ant has grown and reaches a certain maturity, will leave the colony to join a mating ritual with male ants.
Once they mate, they will store these sperm inside their abdomen. As they use all the fat and muscles to nourish the eggs, the female ants will become queens once they lay eggs.
As they shed their wings, the queen ants will start a new colony.
What happens when the queen ant loses life?
Although there is more than one queen ant in one colony, there are some ant communities with only one queen ant. In such a colony when the queen ant loses life, you can say that the colony loses life as well.
Although the effect would not be immediate, a colony that does not have a queen ant cannot survive for too long. Since there is no further population to grow, the worker ants keep working till old age.
The rest of the ants also stay true to their colony and stay in the same territory instead of fleeing to another.
The male ants in the ant colony are born with only one purpose. Shortly after mating with future queen ants, the male ants loses life. Since the queen ants survive and lay eggs on their own, there is no need for a king ant in the ant colony. Each ant has a task of its own as there is no ruler ant.