Basic Science

How do Ants Communicate With Each Other?   

How do Ants Communicate With Each Other?

Ants are very common insects and can be found anywhere easily. Have you ever seen them talking or ever heard any voice of them? I guess no, then how do they communicate with each other? They actually communicate via their Antennae.  Their antennae play a very important role because smell and touch organs of ants are found there. There is a special type of gland, these glands produce scented chemicals used for attacking the prey, for finding the food source etc. Ants also communicate by touching mandibles of one another and can also by vibrating its body indicating any danger or tasty foods.

Ants are a common insect, always roaming on our house floors, inside our sugar cans. You must have noticed that ants always travel in lines, either in search of food or for any other unknown reason. It seems that they are well organised and disciplined. But did you know that they are able to communicate with each other very well. Is this not amazing?

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Ants are capable of communicating with each other very well. Mainly, they communicate by their antennae by touching or through smells.

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If you watch the activity of ants, you will see that often two ants will touch each other by their antennae. (As shown in above picture)  Smell and touch organs of ants are found in their antenna and an ant’s antennae are highly sensitive.

Another interesting fact is that a special type of gland is found all over the body of the ants and these glands produce a chemical known as pheromones. Pheromone is a scented chemical and this smell varies according to the information it needs to express. These smells of pheromone are used for various kind of activity like defending the colony, attacking the prey, for finding the food source etc.

Let’s see how they communicate?

If an ant finds any food, it consumes the food and returns to their colony. While returning, it releases pheromone continuously, making a continuous line of pheromone. In the colony it gives the taste of food to other ants so that they can follow the line of pheromone to reach the food source and other ants intensify the line of pheromone by releasing it.

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Ants also communicate by touching mandibles of one another (as shown in picture). They exchange information about colony or tasks assigned like collecting food etc., they get this information from the particular odour of the chemical present in the mandible.

Ants also communicate by vibrating its body about danger or tasty foods.

But remember, ants don’t communicate directly or consciously.

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Susmita Dasgupta

Susmita is a trained, veteran primary school teacher. She loves to teach and to make learning exciting for children. One of her great passions in life is to create in her students a curiosity about life and all its accompanying mysteries.

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