A close-up of the head of a leafcutter ant, Atta cephalotes, showing the metal-infused teeth on its mandibles.
Many small animals make their teeth and claws from a smooth blend of proteins and heavy elements. These materials can form very sharp tools that make it possible to cut tough substances using tiny muscles.
Wes Mountain/The Conversation
Yellow crazy ants are one of the world’s worst invasive species. And it turns out they have unique systems of reproduction that make life in the queendom more complicated than we realised.
Chris R Reid
A type of structure called a 'scaffold' acts like a safety net for ants when they go foraging, preventing them from slipping on steep surfaces.
The European fire ant, Myrmica rubra, is one of the invasive ant species in Ontario. They are known for their painful sting.
Animals that are traded as pets are more likely to be invasive species, including a relatively new pet: ants.
Multiple queens ensure colonies have a steady output of workers.
The spread of tawny crazy ants may be driven, in part, by their need for calcium. The calcium-rich limestone bedrock of the lower U.S. Midwest may provide ideal conditions for populations to explode.
A coat of sand makes an effective armor.
For some sand-dwelling plants, stickiness is a defense tactic that keeps predators at bay.
Caribbean spiny lobsters normally live in groups, but healthy lobsters avoid members of their own species if they are infected with a deadly virus.
Humberto Ramirez/Getty Images
Using distance to avoid getting sick has deep evolutionary roots for humans and many other species.
You’ve probably seen ants marching over your kitchen bench this summer. Should you get out the insecticide, or learn to live with them?
Fire ants like these can give a nasty bite.
Millions of dollars are being spent on trying to eradicate fire ants from Australia. But that might not be the only way to deal with the invasive pest.
They might be a hated household pest, but ants actually live fascinating and complex lives.
shunfa The / shutterstock
Infected ants help the fungus to spread its spores and reproduce.
Argentine ants are a fact of life in many parts of Australia, but can still potentially be banished from Norfolk Island.
Invasive pest ants cause billions of dollars worth of damage to crops, and threaten some of Australia’s World Heritage rainforests. The federal budget has pledged nearly $30m on wiping them out – but how?
The mouse who tidied the shed he lives in fascinated human viewers, but cleanliness isn’t a virtue unique to humans.
Fire ant stings can be deadly to people who have an allergic reaction to their venom.
Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr
Invasive tropical fire ants spread by eating their fat useless sons.
Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash
Ants have something similar to blood, but it’s called haemolymph. Some insects use it in unusual ways. When threatened by a predator, blister beetles can squirt haemolymph from their knees.
Not many people realise ants can make their own medicine.
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that can kill germs. It is found in two things many ants love to eat: nectar and honey dew.
Not welcome: the African big headed ant might be small but it can be a pest if it gets in your home.
The ants were a threat to many native species on Lord Howe Island. They were also a pest if they got into your home.
Folklore says we might be able to predict the coming of rain by observing the behaviour of ants.
Ants have many tricks to deal with rain – like holding their breath, blocking nest entrances or drinking excess water and releasing it elsewhere by ‘communal peeing.’ But can they see rain coming?
New study shows parasitic Escovopsis fungus attacks the bacteria leafcutter ants use to protect themselves.
Ant colonies direct traffic flows of millions of individuals along the best routes – army ants even manage inbound and outbound lanes – but how?
Insects aren’t known for having big brains, and slime moulds and fungi don’t have any. So how do they solve challenges that test the ingenuity of human transport engineers?