How do ants eat?


Quick Answer

Ants eat with their mouths; they have powerful jaws and are capable of chewing and sawing with them, allowing them to eat many different types of food ranging from drinking nectar to consuming fungus, other insects and even larger animals. Some ants are so voracious that in a large swarm they can overwhelm reptiles and mammals and eat them by working together as a colony.

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Full Answer

Leafcutter ants farm fungus by bringing plant matter underground into fungal galleries where it is stored in conditions that help grow the specific fungi the ants feed on. The leaves are harvested repeatedly for their crops of fungus before eventually being switched out for new leaves.

Some ants feed entirely on nectar and other forms of sugar water. They harvest this nectar from plants and bring it back to their colonies where it is fed to larvae. The high caloric content of sugar water helps larvae to reach their full adult size after they undergo the process of pupation.

Most ants eat a varied diet and are opportunistic scavengers. They hunt around their colonies, looking for insects to kill and drag back into the hill or else for carrion, spilled human food or other sources of nutrition. Ants leave scent trails to mark out such finds for other ants in their colony.

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