Small But Mighty


Wave Staff

Emily Reisinger, Staff Writer

Ants are an animal that are often overlooked. Since they are so common, many people do not realize their importance. They can be difficult and annoying to deal with when they are found inside a box of granola or peanut butter. The annoyance even goes past food, with fire ants even causing over 3 billion dollars of damages, yearly. But, even with their less than fun influences on humans, it can not be denied that their mighty strength, high intelligence, and plentiful numbers makes them an interesting insect.


Despite them only being 5 to 15 millimeters long, ants are actually incredibly strong. Ants can hold anywhere from 10 to 50 times their body weight. To put that in perspective, an average human can weigh around 170 pounds. If humans had the same strength ratio as ants, it would be the equivalent to that person lifting 1700-8500 pounds. Not just lifting these weights is impressive, but they are also able to withstand 5,000 times their weight! This information is from a study from Ohio State University. 


Carlos Pernalete Tua

Scientists are looking to ants for creating robot designs due to the ants’ carrying capacity. A professor of computer science at Harvard, Radhika Nagpal, is one of the people working on this. The main species she focuses on are Army ants. She has created her own group of ants, and they can work together and do many things that have been mentioned throughout the article, such as picking and carrying items. She has made over 1,000 of these robots!


Ants have shown incredible intelligence for their size. They are one of the smartest insects. Even though it’s hard to prove the amount of intelligence animals have, most agree that they have shown signs of high intelligence. They have shown to be able to reason effectively when presented with different objects and use various objects as tools. They also build and design their mounds to properly regulate temperature inside, allowing them to live in various climates. Ant hills are also extremely complex, just showing how intelligent ants truly are.


Ants share some habits with humans. Like humans, they farm other insects as well as certain mushrooms. It is also believed that ants are clipping the wings of the insects they farm, called homopterans, to keep them from leaving. Similarly to humans, ants have also been known to wage war on other ant colonies. In some cases, they even have tournaments to decide winners. This can be due to various reasons, such as competition for territory or resources.


Small Army Ant

One of the very interesting things about ants is that they have been found all over the globe, minus Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland and other locations that just aren’t suitable for life. They have been labeled the most common animal on Earth, with their being around 20 quadrillion ants with around 12,000 different species. For reference, there are 7.98 billion people on earth. That is 2.5 million times more for ants than people. 


Even with the irritating nature of any food being stolen and pesky bites, ants are undoubtedly cool. No other species  can build such complex and strong tunnels. Next time you think about stepping on an ant pile, think about how intelligent and interesting these creatures are.