The Life and Times of the Ant by Charles MicucciThe queen is the mother of all colony members, and for the most part lays all of the eggs. The time from egg to ant is not the same in every species, but a well-known example is the black garden ant Lasius niger which takes approximately eight weeks to finish the process. The development is divided into three stages. The first stage is the egg, followed by the larvae which is in turn followed by the pupae. The eggs are tiny. They have an oval form with a sticky surface.
Journeys Lesson 14 4th Grade Life and Times of the Ant
Natural selection drives the evolution of ant life cycles
A queen ant formally known as a gyne is an adult, reproducing ant in an ant colony ; generally she will be the mother of all the other ants in that colony. Some female ants, such as the Cataglyphis , do not need to mate to produce offspring, reproducing through asexual parthenogenesis or cloning , and all of those offspring will be female. Queen offspring ant develop from larvae specially fed in order to become sexually mature among most species. Depending on the species, there can be either a single mother queen, or potentially hundreds of fertile queens in some species. Queen ants have one of the longest life-spans of any known insect — up to 30 years. Ants go through four stages of development: egg , larva , pupa sometimes cocoon, called metamorphosis depending on the species and adult.
A phylogeny of the extant ant subfamilies. Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees , belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous period, about million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12, of an estimated total of 22, species have been classified. Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist of various castes of sterile, wingless females, most of which are workers ergates , as well as soldiers dinergates and other specialised groups.
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Author contributions: E. The genetic origin of advanced social organization has long been one of the outstanding problems of evolutionary biology. Here we present an analysis of the major steps in ant evolution, based for the first time, to our knowledge, on combined recent advances in paleontology, phylogeny, and the study of contemporary life histories. We provide evidence of the causal forces of natural selection shaping several key phenomena: i the relative lateness and rarity in geological time of the emergence of eusociality in ants and other animal phylads; ii the prevalence of monogamy at the time of evolutionary origin; and iii the female-biased sex allocation observed in many ant species. We argue that a clear understanding of the evolution of social insects can emerge if, in addition to relatedness-based arguments, we take into account key factors of natural history and study how natural selection acts on alleles that modify social behavior.
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