The answer to the question of how many legs an ant has is very simple: any ant has 6 legs. And regardless of the type, size, color and habitat - this is the main difference of any ant from its distant relatives - ticks, spiders and crustaceans. In general, all the ants in the adult stage, all six legs are clearly visible and distinguishable, and therefore it is relatively easy to calculate them.
Each pair of legs of the ant is located on a separate part of the chest. These segments have different sizes and proportions in different kinds of ants and even in individual castes of the same species, but in general the arrangement of the legs is common for all ants.
The front legs of ants are located on the prothorax. On these legs, the ants have a special device, similar to a small brush, with which the insect can clean the antennae and other legs.
On the hind legs of the ant there are spurs performing different functions. Most often they are used by ants soldiers to participate in battles with other ants.
Thanks to the special structure of their feet, ants get many useful abilities from them.
How do ants stay on steep surfaces
Surfaces of almost any degree of smoothness and sheerness are not an obstacle for ants. The smaller the ant, the smoother the surface, it can run. For example, a home pharaoh ant , quietly moves through the glass, which can not do, for example, a black cockroach.
In such acrobatic tricks, ants are helped by tiny barbs on their paws, by which they can quite successfully cling to projections that are only visible in a microscope. Of course, tree trunks and stone surfaces in nature for them - like a comfortable staircase.
It is interesting
Some ants from the phaeton family can run at a speed of about 4 km / h, being one of the fastest growing insects in general (today the record of running is registered with beetles and Madagascar cockroaches) . Paws are the only salvation of these ants living in some of the most extreme biotopes of the world in general - in the sandy and clay deserts of Africa, Asia and America. These ants can withstand the air temperature up to 50 ° C, but if in such conditions the ant linger in the sun and in time will not reach the anthill, it will simply be roasted.
In addition, thanks to their feet, some ants know how to swim. This, for example, is characterized by Australian bulldog ants, unique in many of their qualities, insects. They are able to easily swim water barriers 15 cm wide (for example, small puddles).
It is interesting
Ants Bulldogs also know how to make great jumps - up to 50 cm in length. Only they do this not with the help of the feet, but pushing from the ground with their jaws.
6 paws as a distinctive feature of ants
It is by the number of legs that ants differ from most other arthropods. So, some poorly savvy tourists in biology can confuse ants with very small mites or spiders. All arachnids (which include mites) have eight legs, and only after counting how many claws the "ant" can unequivocally say, is it really an ant.
In addition to spiders and ticks, there are no more arthropods in the fauna of our country, with which it is possible to confuse ants. But some beetles very skillfully mimic the shape of the ants body in order to penetrate into their anthills and live there. Such beetles seldom come to their eyes, and without special knowledge to distinguish them from ants can be very problematic.
On a note
But to distinguish the ant's queen from the working individual is quite simple: the uterus is much larger and more massive than the working ants, while they also have 6 legs.
Only do the ants use their feet to run
Ants can do a lot of operations with their feet. It is thanks to the strength of the legs and the ability to place them wider than the body itself, the ant can quite lift above itself and carry a load 50 times larger than its own.
On a note
From a purely physiological point of view, there is nothing extraordinary in such super abilities of ants. With a decrease in the size of the body of any living being, the cross section of the muscles of his body decreases disproportionately. That's why, in comparison with your body, this tiny insect raises the weight, which for a person would turn into 3 tons. The ratio of the mass of muscles to the body weight of the ant itself is much larger than this ratio in humans.
Legs of desert ants are used to measure distance. This is for them a kind of navigation tool: the ant remembers how many steps it made after each turn, and on the way back makes a correction exactly to this angle and for the same number of steps. If the length of the paws is changed (what the experimenters did when studying this phenomenon), the ant will either miss the target, or, conversely, run across it.
And weaver ants, widely known for their skill in making nests from leaves, use paws to pull the leaves together. Several ants (sometimes several dozen) grasp the edges of one sheet with jaws, and the other with paws, then press the edges one against the other, and the other ants bind the leaves with a secret secreted by the larvae. So it turns out a very comfortable nest for a whole colony, a living "skeleton" of which the first few hours are working individuals.
Feet glands as a tool for orientation
They also use their ants to transmit odor signals. Scientists have found on the legs of ants glands, emitting strongly smelling pheromones. Ants leave these substances as marks on different objects in the course of their movement, making the path more visible to other individuals.
The more ants run along such a path, the more tags there are on it, the more attractive it is for other individuals. Accordingly, the most visited trails look like an ants for ants, while the newly marked routes are comparable to them with a barely walked path in the forest.
It is because of the mistakes in the arrangement of such labels that the famous ant circles occur: if an ant runs around in a circle and closes its own path with a fresher trace, obeying the instinct, then it continues to run around in a circle. Several of his brothers can join him, and when the number of ants exceeds a few hundred, such a circle can become a real disaster for the family - the ants in it can run to the point of exhaustion. However, such a circle can arise only in the absence of noticeable external landmarks, when ants are forced to use only their aromatic traces for navigation.
So if the next time you see an ant - take a look at his paws. These subtle and inconspicuous organs at first glance help small labor to create real miracles!