Moisture ants are a fascinating species of ants because they are an extraordinary example of collective intelligence and because they’re named after the environment in which they thrive, the moisture ant colony.
Before we dive into what makes the moisture ants so intriguing, let’s first look at where these ant species come from and what they live in.
They are found in many countries, such as Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina in South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and some parts of the United States of America. In addition to being found on land, moisture ants have also been found to inhabit mangrove swamps and seaweed beds!
Their wide range of habitats ensures that there are not as many problems with food sources in any area.
There are over 1,000 Ant Species:
There is one thing that defines an ant. Ants are social insects. It means that you will find more than one ant within a colony.
Ants in a colony will behave differently compared to those in isolation from their territory because they have different roles and responsibilities when many individuals live together. When you think about it, there are over 1,000 species of ants across every continent except for Antarctica—and new ones are constantly being discovered. Ants are social creatures living in organized colonies containing hundreds of thousands or even millions of individuals.
Though we sometimes treat them as pests for their ability to creep into our homes and invade our food supplies, these fascinating insects play an important role in ecosystems around the world.
Where can you find Moisture Ants?
In South America, there are a few different types of ants. They are commonly called moisture ants because they help their colonies deal with periods of intense heat and humidity.
More than half of all ant colonies on earth use some moisture ants to help their territory survive these challenging climates. Moisture ants can be very hard workers and have been seen carrying water back to their nests for hours without ever getting tired.
Some scientists believe that moisture ants get their energy from eating sugar in combination with water rather than from eating food like other insects. That is why it’s so important for them to drink as much as possible when carrying water back home.
It’s also important for them to carry large amounts of liquid at once, which is why they have evolved into larger abdomens than other types of ants.
Carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.):
Native to North America, these are fascinating insects that exhibit a wide range of social behavior. Carpenter ants live in large colonies and will construct nests in hollow trees or wooden structures around your property.
If you spot one of these aggressive pests, contact an exterminator to remove them and repair any damage they’ve caused.
Although carpenter ants aren’t usually considered moisture ants, they may be drawn to moisture sources (such as gutters) on your property if their original nest has been disrupted by human activity.
Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis):
Pharaoh ants (Monomorium pharaonis) are no different. They live in colonies that can contain thousands of individuals. Their colonies can be found almost anywhere, including your kitchen or bathroom!
They prefer to live with other members of their colony. For example, if you see one ant walking around on its own, it is probably lost or looking for food since it cannot survive alone for long periods without help from other members of its colony.
Odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile):
Odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile (formerly Paratrechina sessilis), are a common indoor nuisance pest in many areas of North America. They may also be known as small black ants or moisture ants.
Adult workers measure approximately 1/8 in length and are black to dark brown, with red legs and thoraxes. Nests typically consist of several hundred workers, and colonies can reach over 1000 members.
The odorous house ant is not considered dangerous to humans; however, they can become nuisances when they nest inside homes or structures due to their aggressive nature and unpleasant odor when crushed.
Harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex rugosus):
This arid-region dweller makes up for its poor water source and ability to store moisture. Harvester ants collect water on their abdomens and bring it back to their nest, where they use it as needed.
A few years ago, researchers discovered that harvester ants have a type of microbial in their midgut (where food is pre-processed) that lets them store more of their ingested water for later use. These microbes can double or triple an individual ant’s water storage capacity.
The big question now is whether we can somehow harness these microbes to help us do something similar in a hospital setting. If so, we might be able to give patients access to clean drinking water when they need it most.
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