Winged male ants and queen ants leave the nest to mate, and after mating, they lose their wings. The queen ant mates with several males during her mating period, and she stores the sperm in an internal sack near the end of her abdomen. The sperm does not move until the queen opens a valve that allows it to enter her reproductive tract and fertilize the eggs.
There are more than 10,000 known ant species found around the world. Ants have large heads, elbowed antennaes, powerful jaws and segmented bodies. They live in nests located underground, in ground-level mounds or in trees.
Ant communities rely on the queen to lay thousands of eggs. Worker ants are winged female ants that don't reproduce, they find food, care for the queen's offspring, work on the nest and protect the community. Male ants have the sole purpose of mating with the queen.
Ants eat leaves, fungi, honey, nectar, small insects and dead animals. They vary in size and color depending on the species of ant. Queen ants can live for several years, while workers may live from a few months to a year and male ants die as soon as they mate.
Ants use chemicals to communicate and work with each other. They often carry food and water in separate stomachs, then regurgitate it to share with the rest of the nest.