Ants fossilised in Baltic amber
Diagram of a worker ant (Neoponera verenae)
Bull ant showing the powerful mandibles and the relatively large compound eyes that provide excellent vision
Ant head
Seven leafcutter ant workers of various castes (left) and two queens (right)
Meat eater ant nest during swarming
Alate male ant, Prenolepis imparis
Honey ants (Prenolepis imparis) mating
Fertilised meat-eater ant queen beginning to dig a new colony
Two Camponotus sericeus workers communicating through touch and pheromones
A Plectroctena sp. attacks another of its kind to protect its territory.
A weaver ant in fighting position, mandibles wide open
Ant mound holes prevent water from entering the nest during rain.
Two Weaver ants walking in tandem.
Leaf nest of weaver ants, Pamalican, Philippines
Myrmecocystus, honeypot ants, store food to prevent colony famine.
An ant trail
Meat-eater ants feeding on a cicada: social ants cooperate and collectively gather food
A worker Harpegnathos saltator (a jumping ant) engaged in battle with a rival colony's queen (on top)
The spider Myrmarachne plataleoides (female shown) mimics weaver ants to avoid predators.
An ant collects honeydew from an aphid
Ants may obtain nectar from flowers such as the dandelion, but are only rarely known to pollinate flowers.
A meat ant tending a common leafhopper nymph
Spiders (Like this Menemerus jumping spider) sometimes feed on ants
Weaver ants are used as a biological control for citrus cultivation in southern China.
Roasted ants in Colombia
Ant larvae for sale in Isaan, Thailand
The tiny pharaoh ant is a major pest in hospitals and office blocks; it can make nests between sheets of paper.
Camponotus nearcticus workers travelling between two formicaria through connector tubing
Aesop's ants: illustration by Milo Winter, 1888–1956
An ant pictured in the coat of arms of Multia

Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera.

- Ant

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Antenna (biology)

Antennae ( antenna), sometimes referred to as "feelers", are paired appendages used for sensing in arthropods.

Large antennae on a longhorn beetle
Cutaway diagram of a barnacle, with antennae highlighted by arrow
Terms used to describe shapes of insect antennae
Antennal shape in the Lepidoptera from C. T. Bingham (1905)
Electron micrograph of antenna surface detail of a wasp (Vespula vulgaris)
Olfactory receptors (scales and holes) on the antenna of the butterfly Aglais io, electron micrograph

Antennae can also locate other group members if the insect lives in a group, like the ant.

Terrestrial animal

Okapis are terrestrial vertebrates.
Animals do not fall neatly into terrestrial or aquatic classification but lie along a continuum: e.g., penguins spend much of their time under water.

Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g. cats, dogs, ants, spiders), as compared with aquatic animals, which live predominantly or entirely in the water (e.g. fish, lobsters, octopuses), and amphibians, which rely on a combination of aquatic and terrestrial habitats (e.g. frogs and newts).


Insects (from Latin insectum) are pancrustacean hexapod invertebrates of the class Insecta.

Evolution has produced enormous variety in insects. Pictured are some possible shapes of antennae.
A pie chart of described eukaryote species, showing just over half of these to be insects
Insects with population trends documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, for orders Collembola, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Odonata, and Orthoptera. Of 203 insect species that had such documented population trends in 2013, 33% were in decline.
Stylized diagram of insect digestive tract showing malpighian tubule, from an insect of the order Orthoptera
Bumblebee defecating. Note the contraction of the abdomen to provide internal pressure
The tube-like heart (green) of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae extends horizontally across the body, interlinked with the diamond-shaped wing muscles (also green) and surrounded by pericardial cells (red). Blue depicts cell nuclei.
The different forms of the male (top) and female (bottom) tussock moth Orgyia recens is an example of sexual dimorphism in insects.
Gulf fritillary life cycle, an example of holometabolism.
Most insects have compound eyes and two antennae.
A cathedral mound created by termites (Isoptera).
White-lined sphinx moth feeding in flight
The backswimmer Notonecta glauca underwater, showing its paddle-like hindleg adaptation
Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of mimicry, the viceroy butterfly (top) appears very similar to the monarch butterfly (bottom).
European honey bee carrying pollen in a pollen basket back to the hive
Aedes aegypti, a parasite, is the vector of dengue fever and yellow fever
Because they help flowering plants to cross-pollinate, some insects are critical to agriculture. This European honey bee is gathering nectar while pollen collects on its body.
A robberfly with its prey, a hoverfly. Insectivorous relationships such as these help control insect populations.
The common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most widely used organisms in biological research.

Insects are mostly solitary, but some, such as certain bees, ants and termites, are social and live in large, well-organized colonies.


Queen (marked) and workers of the Africanised honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata

The gyne (, from Greek γυνή, "woman") is the primary reproductive female caste of social insects (especially ants, wasps, and bees of order Hymenoptera, as well as termites).


Long-tongued bees and long-tubed flowers coevolved, like this Amegilla cingulata (Apidae) on Acanthus ilicifolius.
The lapping mouthparts of a honey bee, showing labium and maxillae
Head-on view of a male carpenter bee, showing antennae, three ocelli, compound eyes, and mouthparts
Willing to die for their sisters: worker honey bees killed defending their hive against yellowjackets, along with a dead yellowjacket. Such altruistic behaviour may be favoured by the haplodiploid sex determination system of bees.
A Western honey bee swarm
Western honey bee nest in the trunk of a spruce
A bumblebee carrying pollen in its pollen baskets (corbiculae)
A leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, cutting circles from acacia leaves
A solitary bee, Anthidium florentinum (family Megachilidae), visiting Lantana
The mason bee Osmia cornifrons nests in a hole in dead wood. Bee "hotels" are often sold for this purpose.
Honeybee in flight carrying pollen in pollen basket
Karl von Frisch (1953) discovered that honey bee workers can navigate, indicating the range and direction to food to other workers with a waggle dance.
The bee-fly Bombylius major, a Batesian mimic of bees, taking nectar and pollinating a flower.
Bee orchid lures male bees to attempt to mate with the flower's lip, which resembles a bee perched on a pink flower.
Bombus vestalis, a brood parasite of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris
The bee-eater, Merops apiaster, specialises in feeding on bees; here a male catches a nuptial gift for his mate.
The beewolf Philanthus triangulum paralysing a bee with its sting
Gold plaques embossed with winged bee goddesses. Camiros, Rhodes. 7th century B.C.
Beatrix Potter's illustration of Babbity Bumble in The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse, 1910
A commercial beekeeper at work
Western honey bee on a honeycomb
Squash bees (Apidae) are important pollinators of squashes and cucumbers.
Bee covered in pollen
Bee larvae as food in the Javanese dish botok tawon
Fried whole bees served in a Ukrainian restaurant
Nest of common carder bumblebee, wax canopy removed to show winged workers and pupae in irregularly placed wax cells
Carpenter bee nests in a cedar wood beam (sawn open)
Honeybees on brood comb with eggs and larvae in cells

Bees are winged insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey.


Wasps are paraphyletic, consisting of the clade Apocrita without ants and bees, which are not usually considered to be wasps. The Hymenoptera also contain the somewhat wasplike Symphyta, the sawflies. The familiar common wasps and yellowjackets belong to one family, the Vespidae.
Male Electrostephanus petiolatus fossil from the Middle Eocene, preserved in Baltic amber
Social wasps constructing a paper nest
Potter wasp building mud nest, France. The latest ring of mud is still wet.
European hornet, Vespa crabro
Sand wasp Bembix oculata (Crabronidae) feeding on a fly after paralysing it with its sting
Spider wasp (Pompilidae) dragging a jumping spider (Salticidae) to provision a nest
Wasp waist, c. 1900, demonstrated by Polaire, a French actress famous for this silhouette
Detail of Botticelli's Venus and Mars, 1485, with a wasp's nest on right, probably a symbol of the Vespucci family (Italian vespa, wasp) who commissioned the painting.
, one of nine Royal Navy warships to bear the name
Megascolia procer, a giant solitary species from Java in the Scoliidae. This specimen's length is 77mm and its wingspan is 115mm.{{efn | Specimen measured from photograph.}}<ref name=Sarrazin>{{cite journal | last1=Sarrazin | first1=Michael | last2=Vigneron | first2=Jean Pol | last3=Welch | first3=Victoria | last4=Rassart | first4=Marie | title=Nanomorphology of the blue iridescent wings of a giant tropical wasp Megascolia procer javanensis (Hymenoptera) | journal=Phys. Rev. | date=5 November 2008 | volume=E 78 | issue=5 | pages=051902 | doi=10.1103/PhysRevE.78.051902 | pmid=19113150 | arxiv=0710.2692 | bibcode=2008PhRvE..78e1902S | s2cid=30936410 }} Measurement scale on Figure 1.</ref>
Megarhyssa macrurus, a parasitoid. The body of a female is 50mm long, with a c. 100mm ovipositor
Tarantula hawk wasp dragging an orange-kneed tarantula to her burrow; it has the most painful sting of any wasp.
Minute pollinating fig wasps, Pleistodontes: the trees and wasps have coevolved and are mutualistic.
Latina rugosa planidia (arrows, magnified) attached to an ant larva; the Eucharitidae are among the few parasitoids able to overcome the strong defences of ants.
The Chrysididae, such as this Hedychrum rutilans, are known as cuckoo or jewel wasps for their parasitic behaviour and metallic iridescence.
European beewolf Philanthus triangulum provisioning her nest with a honeybee
Wasp beetle Clytus arietis is a Batesian mimic of wasps.
Bee-eaters such as Merops apiaster specialise in feeding on bees and wasps.
Encarsia formosa, a parasitoid, is sold commercially for biological control of whitefly, an insect pest of tomato and other horticultural crops.
Tomato leaf covered with nymphs of whitefly parasitised by Encarsia formosa

A wasp is any insect of the narrow-waisted suborder Apocrita of the order Hymenoptera which is neither a bee nor an ant; this excludes the broad-waisted sawflies (Symphyta), which look somewhat like wasps, but are in a separate suborder.


Defined by the following characteristics: cooperative brood care (including care of offspring from other individuals), overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups.

Co-operative brood rearing, seen here in honeybees, is a condition of eusociality.
Weaver ants, here collaborating to pull nest leaves together, can be considered eusocial, as they have a permanent division of labor.
A swarming meat-eater ant colony
Naked mole-rat, one of two eusocial species in the Bathyergidae

It is mostly observed and studied in the Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps) and in Isoptera (termites).

E. O. Wilson

American biologist, naturalist, and writer.

Wilson in 2003
Wilson at a "fireside chat" during which he received the Addison Emery Verrill Medal in 2007
Wilson addresses the audience at the dedication of the Biophilia Center named for him at Nokuse Plantation in Walton County, Florida.

His specialty was myrmecology, the study of ants.

Mutualism (biology)

Mutualism describes the ecological interaction between two or more species where each species has a net benefit.

Hummingbird hawkmoth drinking from Dianthus, with pollination being a classic example of mutualism
The red-billed oxpecker eats ticks on the impala's coat, in a cleaning symbiosis.
Ocellaris clownfish and Ritter's sea anemones live in a mutual service-service symbiosis, the fish driving off butterflyfish and the anemone's tentacles protecting the fish from predators.
Dogs and sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated.

Another type is ant protection of aphids, where the aphids trade sugar-rich honeydew (a by-product of their mode of feeding on plant sap) in return for defense against predators such as ladybugs.


Bombus muscorum drinking nectar with its long proboscis
Symphyta, without a waist: the sawfly Arge pagana
Apocrita, with narrow waist: the wasp Vespula germanica

Hymenoptera is a large order of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants.