Ants can live almost anywhere. There are about 10,000 species of ants. Within each species there are usually many different types. Ants are social insects that live in colonies. Ant colonies include one or more queen, as well as workers, eggs, larvae, and pupae. The worker ants maintain their developed structures known as nests. Nests protect the ants against their enemies, offer some protection against weather, and are often placed close to water and food sources. Some ant species nest in the ground, often under concrete or slabs. Some species are found in wood, such as fence posts, dead logs, hollow trees, or within buildings. Ants cannot eat wood like termites can because they can’t digest cellulose.
The body structure of an ant is typical of almost all insects: six-legged, with a tough, outside skeleton, called the exoskeleton which encases its three separate body parts. It also has two multi-purpose antennae and unlike most other insects, ants have a waist, making them easier to identify. The ant’s exoskeleton protects it from the weather, injury and water loss. Insects with external skeletons have great strength for their size which allows them to carry objects many times their weight.
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