The Topic:
Ants

Easier - Ants are small insects, strong for their size, that live in a large group called a colony. Ants often dig tunnels in the ground or in wood. Ants can carry over 25 times their weight. There are many kinds of ants.
 
Harder - Ants are small social insects that live in organized communities called a colony. There are near 20,000 species of ants that vary in size, color, and ways of life. Most are a dull, drab color such as brown, rust, or black. However some ants are yellow, green, blue, or purple. The largest ant species can reach over 1 inch in length, while the smallest is about 1/25 of an inch. Some ants can lift items 50 times their own weight. Ants are distinguished from ant like wasps by a knot like growth or node on top of their waist.
 
Ants are most numerous in warm climate regions, but they live almost everywhere on land except for extremely cold locations. Ants have many different ways of life. Some ants live in underground tunnels or build earthen mounds. Other ants live inside trees or in certain plants. Some construct nests of tree leaves. Army ants do not have permanent nests. Some types of army ants move across the land in enormous swarms eating insects they encounter. 'Slave maker' ants raid other nests and enslave the captured young. Harvester ants collect seeds and store them within their nests. Another species are sometimes called dairying ants, because they keep insects that give off a sweet liquid.
 
An ant colony may be small in number or reach into the hundreds, thousands, or even millions of inhabitants. Larger colonies have many queens whose chief responsibility is to lay eggs. Most colony members are workers. Like the queen(s), all worker ants are female. They build the nest, forage for food, take care of the young, and fight predators. Males, whose only job is to mate with young ant queens, live in the colony nest only at certain times. After mating, a male soon dies.
 
Ants of North America by W. Mackay and E. Mackay
http://www.utep.edu/leb/antgenera.htm
This website contains keys to the genera and species of North American ants.
Related Websites:
2) Antbase from The Social Insects Web
http://research.amnh.org/entomology/social_insects/
3) Ant Exhibition at Harvard University
http://ant.edb.miyakyo-u.ac.jp/Harvard/ANT_MCZ.html
4) Ants from Gakken's Photo Encyclopedia
http://ant.edb.miyakyo-u.ac.jp/INTRODUCTION/Gakken79E/Page_02.html
5) Ants of Costa Rica http://www.evergreen.edu/ants/antsofcostarica.html
6) Ants of West Africa & the Congo Basin by B. Taylor
http://ibis.life.nottingham.ac.uk/~plzbt/wafants/antcover.htm
7) Japanese Ants Color Image Database http://ant.edb.miyakyo-u.ac.jp/HTMLSE/INDEX.HTM
 
Anthony Ant in Cyberspace
http://www.bubblegum-productions.com/anthony/anthony.htm
This site provides an interesting look at ants and their life.
 
Ants from Enchanted Learning
http://www.zoomschool.com/subjects/insects/ant/ and
http://www.zoomschool.com/subjects/insects/ant/Antcoloringpage.shtml
Study the anatomy of ants, their life cycle, and social culture. Then print out an anatomy sheet to color and label.
Related Ant Information Websites:
2) All About Ants http://www.infowest.com/life/aants.htm
3) Ant Information from Ctr. for Insect Science Education Outreach, University of
Arizona http://insected.arizona.edu/antinfo.htm
4) Ants http://www.winnipeg-bugline.com/ants.html
5) Ants at National Park Service http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/IPM/natparks/ants.html
6) Ants from An Amazon Adventure http://jajhs.kana.k12.wv.us/amazon/ants.htm
7) Ants from Greensmiths http://www.greensmiths.com/ants.htm
8) Ants from Canadian Museum of Nature
http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/ants.htm
9) Bug Facts: Ants http://www.burgepest.com/burge/bugs/ant.html
10)Gordon's Ant Page http://www.earthlife.net/insects/ants.html
11)Interesting Facts About Ants http://www.lingolex.com/ants.htm
12)Jeremy's Ant Page http://www.angelfire.com/hi/redant/index.html
13)Life History & Habits of Ants http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/IPM/ento/0551803.html
14)Stranger than Fiction: Ant Feats http://home.att.net/~B-P.TRUSCIO/STRANGER.htm
15)What Are the Three Parts of an Ant? from Ask Earl at Yahooligans
http://www.yahooligans.com/content/ask_earl/20001214.html
 
Myrmecology: The Scientific Study of Ants
http://www.myrmecology.org/mac/nojavaindex.html
This is a comprehensive website has all kinds of information and pictures of ants.
Another Comprehensive Antsite:
2) Ant Colony http://www.antcolony.org/index.htm
 
After visiting several of the websites for ants, complete one or more of these related activities or projects.
 
Complete An Ants WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at the following webQuest site:
WebQuest for Ants (Grades 1-2) by J. Messenger
http://www.mv.k12.nh.us/schools/boscawn/webquest_for_ants.htm
 
Be an Ant-Thologist. Visit Antics: An Ant Thology where an 'Ant word' is any word with the syllable 'ant' in it. Test your skills as ant-Thologist. Guess the word matching the cartoon. Some are obvious, some not. Enjoy and have fun! Create your own 'Ant-words' and illustrate them with your own drawings or other artwork.
 
Read an Online Ant Adventure. Get started at The Adventures of Banph from Left Handed Creations, the tale of an unlucky ant knight's endeavors to defend his kingdom against enemies of the carpenter empire. The story takes place in a future world where insects rule earth. Humans and mammals in general, no longer exist on the planet. Many insect species have evolved and adopted human characteristics.
 
Make Some Ant Food. Find the recipes for 'Ants on a Log' and 'Ant Treats' at Bugfood I: Insect-themed Food from the University of Kentucky Entomology for Kids site.
 
Learn to Draw Ants. Follow the directions found at Drawing Lessons--Ants from Chunky Monkey. After you have this procedure down, be creative and create other types of original ant drawings. Display your finished work.
 
Complete Some Ant Experiments. Ants are amazing creatures. Learn more about them by following the instructions found at Ant Science Projects. Caution! Ants can bite and/or sting. Be very careful when conducting experiments and science projects with ants.
 
Write An Ant Story. Decide what type of ant is your favorite. Then write a short story about your ant. Illustrate your finished ant story and share it with friends, classmates, and your family. You might want to publish it online.
 
Websites By Kids For Kids
Ants, Magnified (2000 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
http://library.thinkquest.org/C004404/
This webpage explains the different ant species, their body structure and behaviors, the various roles they play in the colony, and much, much more.
 
Interview with Arthur Ant by Floris Elementary student, Reid T.
http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/FlorisES/bugs/ant.html
Find out what happened when a student interviewed an ant!
 
Information On Specific Ant Species
Allegheny Mound Ant: (1) Allegheny Mound Ants from University of Kentucky Entomology, (2) Allegheny Mound Ant, (3) Allegheny Mound Ant
Argentine Ant: (1) Argentine Ants from Insecta Inspecta World, (2) Argentine Ants from Wayne's Word, (3) Argentine Ant, (4) Ant Supercolony Dominates Europe from BBC News, (5) Argentine Ant from PestWorld
Army Ant: (1) New World Army Ants, (2) Army Ants from The Animal Diversity Web, (3) Army Ants from Insecta Inspecta World, (4) Army of Ants from Ant Colony, (5) When is an Ant Like a Bicycle?
Carpenter Ant: (1) Carpenter Ants from Ohio State University Extension, (2) Carpenter Ant from Virginia Cooperative Extension, (3) Carpenter Ants from University of Kentucky Entomology, (4) Carpenter Ants from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, (5) Carpenter Ants by B. Ogg from University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, (6) Carpenter Ants from Long Pest Control Inc.,
Crematogaster Ant: (1) Crematogaster Ant from Virginia Cooperative Extension, (2) Crematogaster (Cocktail Ants)
Fire Ant: (1) Hey! A Fire Ant Bit Me! from KidsHealth, (2) Attack of the Fire Ants by A.M. Hayashi from Scientific American, (3) Fire Ants from Ant Colony, (4) Fire Ants in Georgia from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, (5) Red Imported Fire Ants from California Department of Food and Agriculture, (6) Red Imported Fire Ants from Insecta Inspecta World, (7) Red Imported Fire Ants, (8) Fire Ants: Description and Biology, (9) Fireants
Honey Ant: (1) Small Honey Ant from Ohio State University Extension, (2) Honey Ants,
Leaf-Cutter Ant: (1) Leaf-Cutter Ants from Phoenix Zoo, (2) Leafcutting Ants from Insecta Inspecta World, (3) Atta sexdens: Leaf Cutter Ant from The Animal Diversity Web, (4) Leaf-cutter Ant from BBC Nature, (5) Texas Leaf Cutting Ant from Texas Agricultural Extension Service
Odorous House Ant: (1) Odorous House Ant from Virginia Cooperative Extension, (2) Odorous House Ant from Iowa Insect Information Notes, (3) Odorous House Ant from Univ. of California Cooperative Extension, (4) Odorous House Ants: Elimination, Biology, Description
Pavement Ant: (1) Pavement Ant from Virginia Cooperative Extension, (2) Pavement Ant from Iowa Insect Information Notes, (3) Pavement Ant from Univ. of California Cooperative Extension, (4) Pavement Ants, (5) Pavement Ant from What's Bugging You?
Pharaoh Ant: (1) Pharaoh Ant from Ohio State University Extension, (2) Pharaoh Ant from Univ. of California Cooperative Extension, (3) Pharaoh Ant, (4) Pharaoh's Ant from What's Bugging You?
Yellow Ant: (1) Yellow Ant from Virginia Cooperative Extension, (2) Larger Yellow Ants from Iowa Insect Information Notes, (3) Large Yellow Ants, (4) Yellow Ants, (5) Large Yellow Ants
 
More Ant Websites
Ant Cam
http://www.antcam.com/
Here you find two live cameras, archived images, and an online journal.
Related Websites:
2) AntCast from The Natural History Museum, London, UK http://www.nhm.ac.uk/museum/creepy/antcastintro.html
3) Steves Ant Farm http://www.stevesantfarm.com
 
Ant Colony Cycle from American Museum of Natural History
http://research.amnh.org/entomology/social_insects/ants/ant_colony_cycle.html
This website provides a general overview of an ant colony's life cycle.
 
Ants and Ant Control
http://www.doyourownpestcontrol.com/ants.htm#fire
This site provides information on several types of ants and tips on controlling them. Ask your parents before trying the control measures!
Related Website:
2) Ants In and Around the Home from Ohio State University Extension
http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2064.html
3) Structure-Infesting Ants (Other than Carpenter Ants) by M. Potter from University of Kentucky http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/struct/ef619.htm
  
Behavior of Real Ants
http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~mdorigo/ACO/RealAnts.html
Here facts and diagrams show how ants travel from their nests to food sources.
Related Article:
2) Ant Behavior by K. Siemens http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Entomology/courses/en507/student_papers_1995/siemens.html
 
Introduction to Ants (Formicidae) of the Tallgrass Prairie by J.C. Trager
http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/1999/ants/ants.htm
Ants are a little-noticed but important part of the tallgrass prairie fauna.
 
Little Creatures Who Run the World from PBS NOVA Online
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2203crea.html
Humans may think they run the world, but there is another superpower who is really on top. They outnumber us a million to one. And little can stand in their way. Their engineers breach wide gaps in a single bound. Their workers lift weights greater than their size. Their soldiers are studied by U.S. defense analysts. Read this online script for a program on ants.
 
Non-native Ants
http://www.sandiego.edu/~tmcglynn/exotic.htm
Here is an online resource for tracking exotic and invasive ants.
  
Short-beaked Echidna from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife
http://www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/BHAN-5357K5?open
Echidnas, or spiny ant eaters, are familiar to most Australians.
Other Ant Predator Sites:
2) Ant Enemies
http://ant.edb.miyakyo-u.ac.jp/INTRODUCTION/Gakken79E/Page_14.html
3) Home of the Anteater http://www.nauticom.net/www/deg/anteater.html
4) Short-beaked Echidna http://www.discovertasmania.com.au/home/index.cfm?SiteID=133&subsiteid=592
5) Thorny Devil http://www.discovery.com/exp/lizards/low_thorny.html
 
Ants at Insect Pets
http://www.insectpets.co.uk/ants/
This page focuses on ant keeping and ants as pets.
 
Websites For Teachers
Ant Farm Fun
http://entowww.tamu.edu/academic/ucourses/ento489/noframes/lessons/lesson55.html
Here are a series of lesson activities for learning about ants.
 
Food Fit For An Ant (Grades K-3) from Debbie's Unit Factory
http://www.themeunits.com/Ants_sci.html and http://www.themeunits.com/food_fit_for_an_ant.pdf
This ant study activity outlines a science experiment for researching ant behavior.
 
Foraging Behavior at Picnics: The Ants' View
http://www.owu.edu/~mggrote/pp/zoology/f_zoology_foraging.html
In this laboratory exercise you will use a variety of typical picnic foods to learn what factors may be important to ants when choosing among potential food sources. Discuss your ideas with your classmates, write down all your ideas, think how you would test each one, and settle on one idea.
 
My Family and Me (Grade 3) from Ctr. for Insect Science Ed Outreach, Univ. of Arizona
http://insected.arizona.edu/lesson_19/default.htm
The students will observe and record the activities of the ant colony at various times of the day. The students will report on observations and discuss the role of cooperation and contributions to a family unit. They will compare the social structure of ant colonies and their families.
 
Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg (Grades K-3) from SCORE CyberGuides
http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/badant/badanttg.html
This unit is designed to be used as a language arts supplement for Two Bad Ants. It is organized as a cross age tutorial program with an older student helping a small group of primary students read information on the Internet and complete the activities. Student activities lead to a culminating project in which the students write and illustrate their own stories. The whole unit will take from 1-2 weeks to complete.
 
ant
head
thorax
abdomen
larva
caste system
carpenter ant
dairyman ant
soldier ant
seed collector
fungus grower
worker ant
forage
antennae
food hunter
food gatherer
food grower
ant mound
six legs
insect
nest
stinger
winged
egg laying
pest
mandibles
ant eater
termite
wingless
soil
omnivorous
ant hill
pupae
narrow esophagus
jointed leg
colony
ant farm
predator
prey
ant lion
brood
Ant Cam
queen
communication
adaptation
slave
entomology
arthropod
 
 
 
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 6/02.