If you've looked at a line of ants marching across your kitchen counter and wondered if they were boys or girls, you were right if you decided on girls. Most ant colonies need far more females than males for the basic reason that females do all the work. With ants, though, it gets complicated. In the average ant colony, two kinds of females exist: those who mate and those who don't. The non-mating females are all daughters of the queen. The non-mating females raise the babies, gather the food, maintain and expand the nest, and look after the queen, who does nothing but lay eggs continuously.
'Asexual' Ants May Be Having Sex After All
'Asexual' Ants May Be Having Sex After All | Science | AAAS
Scientists studying the habits of two related species of harvester ants have discovered that during sex, the queens will essentially steal sperm from unwitting male ants of the other species. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shed light on the evolutionary arms race between two species that can play out in a battle of the sexes. Researchers from the University of Vermont studied two species of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants that live in the desert around the border between Arizona and New Mexico. These two ant species can mate with each other, but these liasons only produce sterile hybrid ants.
Male ants are pretty much just flying sperm (and other amazing ant facts)
Have you have seen ants this year? One of somewhere between 12, and 20, species , they are the scourge of gardeners — but also fascinating. The small, black, wingless workers run around the pavements, crawl up your plants tending aphids or collect tasty morsels from your kitchen.
To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today. Even ants can't completely swear off sex. A new survey of a Latin American species famed for being one of the world's few asexual ants has uncovered a surprising find: secret nooky. And that could explain why the insect has managed to survive for so long.