Which Ants Care For the Eggs on the Colony?
Depending on species, ants have a four-stage life cycle, including egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Ants live in highly organized communities, and the queen has a very important role in their lives. However, ants are very vulnerable species, and they must be protected to ensure the survival of the colony.
Among ants, there are three distinct castes: queens, workers, and reproductives. The queen lays eggs and feeds the larvae, while workers and reproductives forage and build a nest. The queen also controls sex of offspring. Workers are female, and they are specialized to protect the nest and gather food.
Workers are the largest and most visible of the colony’s ants. The queen is the only ant capable of laying eggs, so it’s important for the colony’s survival to protect her.
The queen has to produce large numbers of eggs at once to ensure the colony’s survival. She also must make sure the colony expands and stays stable. As a result, she uses stored fat for nourishment.
Queens lay eggs, but some eggs are eaten by the colony’s adult members. Some ants, such as Lasius niger, discriminate between viable and trophic eggs, and will feed only on trophic eggs.
Workers also discriminate against heterospecific brood. They can recognize different brood by size and stage of development. Some workers, such as carpenter ants, have also been shown to act on egg odor profiles.
Ants are very sensitive to environmental conditions and often live in well-organized communities. The colony’s survival depends on protecting the queen and feeding the larvae.