Ant colonies have different castes, including males, queens, soldiers, and workers, and their number varies according to the size of the colony.
Moreover, workers are the prominent members of a colony that help collect food and play a role in introducing soldier ants to a nest.
Do All Ant Colonies Have Soldier Ants? All ant colonies do not have soldier ants as they do not need these for their protection. Moreover, they have developed better defensive capabilities that help them survive. Additionally, they can release poison to form itchy blisters and swollen wounds, making them helpless. Furthermore, only polymorphic ant species can have solder ants as they have large-headed workers having visible mandibles.
You will probably not see a maximum number of soldier ants in a colony as the workers are good at dealing with all the external and internal activities.
Are soldier ants present in all ant colonies?
A colony consists of multiple members that are assigned different roles and are essential for these insects’ survival and improved lifestyle.
You can see soldier ants in a few colonies as helpers of workers in carrying heavy food particles and as protectors of all other members to reduce the risk of predator attack.
Moreover, there are almost 10,000 to 12,000 ant species, but this caste is present in only eight species belonging to the Pheidole genus.
However, it is also studied that almost 900 to 1000 species of ants carry genetic material from their ancestors to become powerful fighters, but they do not use this feature and live as workers.
Moreover, they have wing discs in their bodies at rudimentary stages, but their wings do not develop if the larvae have to become soldiers instead of being a queen or worker having wings.
Furthermore, there is a balance between the number of workers and these soldiers as a colony of 100 members contains almost 92 to 95 workers and 5 to 8 soldiers as they are enough for protection.
The workers and soldiers have divided the nest activities and perform crucial tasks as they carry food, feed members, and clean the nest while the latter helps them.
So, all the colonies do not have these types of ants, but a few have natural abilities to introduce these defenders to ensure their safety and security.
What type of ant colonies have soldier ants?
You cannot find many colonies with soldier ants as a member as they do not feel a need to have them and can fight environmental changes like climate change.
A few colonies have the ability and desire to introduce a soldier when they do not consider themselves to defend against a predator attack.
Those having low defensive capabilities and the strength to fight with larger animals and insects will introduce soldier ants for fierce fighting.
Moreover, you can see them in the polymorphic ant species with workers of different sizes leading to the formation of soldiers.
A monomorphic species contains a single type of worker as all have the same size, while the polymorphic ones have multiple sizes with slightly varying features.
They have varying features as their heads are slightly bigger than the workers and size is more than that of other members, excluding the queen.
Furthermore, these are almost 0.20 to 0.30 inches long and appear black or dark brown in color. Not only are they longer in size than workers, but they are more powerful.
In addition, they have strong mandibles, which make them able to fight predators that can penetrate their jaws deep into the skin and make them feel helpless.
Why do some ant colonies not have soldier ants?
All colonies do not need soldiers as their workers can efficiently manage all the activities like fighting and protection.
The colonies with less capability to fight and less advanced defensive mechanisms to fight against the attackers, need support from powerful organisms belonging to their species.
Moreover, many of them have developed advanced defensive systems and do not need these ants.
They have pinchers and stingers on their bodies and mandibles in the mouth that can help sting on the intruder’s body and make them fly away from their nest and territory.
In addition, they have poison glands or pouches that release venom of alkaloid nature responsible for making wounds bad as they inject venom into the scorched skin resulting in blisters.
This poison and powerful stings can cause swelling and redness in the affected area and helps protect a colony from attack.
Furthermore, they can spray formic acid on the skin to defend themselves, as it can cause itching on the skin.
The pheromones have enabled these insects to communicate and call their mates for help, as they can fight better collectively without help from soldiers.
How long do soldier ants live?
The soldiers can live for a long time as they can protect themselves in a better way due to fierce fighting capabilities. As a result, they are more vigilant and survive for almost 10 to 15 years.
They have a longer lifespan due to advanced defensive capabilities that can resist external and internal changes like climate change or shortage of food resources.
Additionally, these are sterile females and have nothing to do with reproduction and increasing the population. Accordingly, they have a lesser risk of death, unlike males that die after mating and queens that have to face death during the nuptial flight.
How many soldier ants are present in a colony?
Colonies are well-organized structures with specific sizes; some are small, while a few have enormous sizes and spread on a large surface area.
They have a calculated number of members as there is only a single queen and multiple larvae, males, and workers.
Moreover, you can find almost 5 to 8 soldiers in a colony with around 92 to 95 workers, indicating that it is not completely dependent on the soldiers.
However, some enormous colonies that are well established on a large surface area can have almost hundreds or thousands of soldier ants to protect as they have to improve their survival.