OCT 21, 2019 3:37 PM PDT

How Desert Ant Queens Establish a Colony

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

When a founding desert ant queen is ready to establish her own colony, the harsh environment compels her to do something that no other queen would ever dare do: share her territory with other queens.

While sharing territory might seem counter-productive for a queen, these desert ants have adapted to use it to their advantage. Having several queen ants laying eggs all at the same time ensures that the colony grows big and strong in a short period of time. After the eggs hatch, the queens will have everything they need, including ants that work on the colony, others that gather food, and even some that pamper the royalty.

After a queen lays a stack of eggs, she coats each one with her antibiotic saliva, preventing the eggs from being overrun by a destructive fungus. In time, the eggs hatch into larvae, and later pupate to become full-blown worker ants.

All worker ants are born female, however unlike the queen, they’re sterile and unable to reproduce. Given the circumstances, each worker ant has just one role in life: to serve the queen, whatever her needs might be. Some ants will go searching for food, while some work on the colony itself. A smaller subset of worker ants stays behind to pamper the queen and to help her with the egg-laying process.

Had it not been for sharing their territories early on, each desert ant queen wouldn’t have such a large colony to be proud of afterward.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 23, 2020
Plants & Animals
Groups Led by Dominant Males Are Less Cooperative
JUL 23, 2020
Groups Led by Dominant Males Are Less Cooperative
When aggressive males led groups of fish in a complex task, those fish did poorly on the task compared to groups led by ...
AUG 20, 2020
Plants & Animals
Flamboyant Cuttlefish Are Usually Understated
AUG 20, 2020
Flamboyant Cuttlefish Are Usually Understated
Cuttlefish are well known for their incredible camouflaging abilities; they can rapidly change the color and texture of ...
SEP 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Sets New Diving Record
SEP 24, 2020
Cuvier's Beaked Whale Sets New Diving Record
Marine mammals are uniquely adapted to dive to incredible depths. New research from Duke University Marine Laboratory do ...
OCT 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
Genetically Engineered Foods Could Alleviate Nutritional Deficiencies
OCT 19, 2020
Genetically Engineered Foods Could Alleviate Nutritional Deficiencies
There are over two billion people around the world that don't get the recommended levels of minerals and vitamins in ...
OCT 22, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Legacy chemicals found in migratory birds
OCT 22, 2020
Legacy chemicals found in migratory birds
A study published in the journal Environment International has found long-forgotten chemicals, called legacy chemicals, ...
NOV 23, 2020
Plants & Animals
Can Kelp Help Reduce Acidification in the Ocean?
NOV 23, 2020
Can Kelp Help Reduce Acidification in the Ocean?
Our oceans are becoming more acidic; their pH is going down as they absorb CO2 from Earth's atmosphere. It's thought tha ...
Loading Comments...