Did you know! Ants are capable of lifting objects that weigh several times their own body weight, and they are also able to defeat larger animals.
But which of the species are the strongest of them all?
The Strongest Ant
The world’s strongest ant species are the Leaf Cutter Ants, which are capable of carrying over 30 times their weight.
These dark red ants are approximately 0.7 inches in length.
Leaf cutter ants cut out leaf parts from plants and trees.
These ants are capable of carrying leaf parts that are significantly heavier than their own weight, often exceeding 30 times their body weight.
Additionally, they are able to transport these heavy loads over long distances.
The leaves carried by Leaf Cutter Ants are home to a distinctive fungus known as Leucocoprineae,
which serves as their primary source of nourishment. It provides the protein necessary for their extended journeys and contributes to their physical strength.
Moreover, the presence of this fungus offers additional benefits to the ants.
Ants vs. the World: Who Holds the Title for Strongest Insect?
While ants are indeed strong, they are not the strongest insects on Earth.
The horned dung beetle holds the title for the world’s strongest insect, capable of lifting objects 1,141 times their body weight.
To put it in perspective, that’s like an average man lifting two fully-loaded 18-wheeler trucks.
These brown to black, round beetles typically range from 5 to 30 mm long and are resilient to various weather conditions, making them widespread in different habitats, except Antarctica.
They can be found in deserts, forests, farms, and mountains, and they can even invade homes.
Exploring the Anatomy of Mighty Leaf Cutter Ants
Ants share some common physical characteristics with other insects such as jointed legs.
Three body segments (head, thorax, and abdomen), antennae, and a tough exoskeleton that resembles human fingernails.
One example of such ants is the leafcutters, which are notably large and have elongated legs.
The scientific name for the leafcutter ant is Atta.
Subtribe: Higher Attine
The colour of Leaf-Cutter Ants is dark red, and they possess three pairs of teeth or spines at the back of their thorax.
Aiding in the transportation of materials like leaf fragments on their backs, in addition to the typical ant anatomy including jointed legs, three body parts, antennae, and a hard exoskeleton resembling fingernails.
The specialized tasks of Leaf Cutter Ants are made possible by their differently-sized heads.
Moreover, they can secrete antibacterial liquids to safeguard their fungus from infections.
Leaf Cutter Ants inhabit a variety of forests, including rainforests, deciduous forests, open woodlands, and scrub forests.
They can also be found in agricultural areas that encroach upon their natural forest habitats.
Unleashing the Herculean Strength of Leafcutter Ants
These ants are incredibly strong, able to lift 50 times their weight, which is like a human lifting a truck weighing 3,000 kilograms.
They also work tirelessly to create their food. Since they can’t digest leaves, they have a process where they create an assembly line.
They grow fungus on the leaves and mix it with saliva and ant waste. They work non-stop to ensure their survival.
Leaf cutting Ants: Harmless or Hazardous?
If an intruder threatens their nest or food gathering, Leafcutter worker ants may bite as a defense mechanism.
However, they are not aggressive towards others who do not pose a threat.
Leafcutter ants pose a significant threat to agriculture as they are capable of stripping foliage in a short period of time.
Their presence can cause a significant reduction in crop yield, which can result in losses amounting to billions of dollars in North and South America.
Bull ants are a type of large and attentive ant species, capable of reaching sizes of up to 40 mm.
They possess distinct features such as big eyes and elongated, slim mandibles, as well as a powerful sting filled with venom.
Additionally, they exhibit exceptional eyesight, allowing them to detect and trail invaders from distances as far as 1 meter.
Furthermore, various bull ant species have vivid red or orange hues on their heads or abdomens.
Australia is home to roughly 90 distinct types of bull ants, each exhibiting unique behaviors and developmental cycles.
In the city of Sydney, nine species of bull ants have been documented, though there could be additional species yet to be identified.
Some of the smaller bull ant varieties have earned the moniker “jumper ants” due to their tendency to aggressively leap towards intruders.
Ants are incredibly strong insects, with the Leaf Cutter Ants being the strongest, capable of carrying over 30 times their weight.
They use this strength to carry leaf parts to feed their fungus, which serves as their primary source of nourishment.
However, the horned dung beetle holds the title for the world’s strongest insect, capable of lifting objects 1,141 times its body weight.
Leaf Cutter Ants are not dangerous to humans, but they pose a significant threat to agriculture.
Bulldog ants are a type of large and attentive ant species found in Australia, with unique behaviors and developmental cycles.
Some varieties of bull ants are called “jumper ants” due to their aggressive leaping towards intruders.