Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ants, or Formicidae, are a family of Hymenoptera. They live in communities composed of three different sexes, viz. males, females, and neuters. The males and females are both winged, but are found only for a short period every year, as after pairing the males die, and the females lose their wings. The neuters, of one or more classes, are wingless; they are produced from underfed female larvae, and the ants regulate the proportions of females and neuters by varying the food supply to the larvae. The neuters do the whole work of the community. The males are stingless. The queens are fertile females. Like most social animals they are remarkably intelligent, and it is now generally admitted that many of their operations are controlled by reason and not by instinct. Thus some ants, e.g. Atta, store up grain for the winter, and prevent its germination by gnawing the radicle; others, e.g. Eciton, the foraging ant, make organised attacks on the nests of other ants, remove the larvae to their own, and make the young into slaves; others again, as Hypoclinea, keep aphides for the sake of their milk; and some South American ants make tunnels under wide rivers. The "White Ants," or Termites, are not true ants, but belong to the Neuroptera.