Ants are intelligent creatures that can learn quickly and store information in their brains located in the head region.
In addition, their memories can help them deal with their previous experiences in a better way. It can also help colonies organize their social behavior and coordinate activities.
Do Ants Have a Brain? Ants have a brain consisting of 250,000 cells that help regulate different activities, including movement, and determine the distance they will cover. Moreover, the brain can help detect damage, interpret visual signals, and analyze chemical signals. Furthermore, they can detect vibrations and mechanical stimuli and remember their routes due to memory cells in the brain.
Reproductive ants, including males and queens, have bigger brains than workers as they have longer bodies.
Moreover, these insects can regrow their brains and make them larger when competing to become a queen after the death of an old one.
How many brains do ants have?
Almost all animals have brains to perform the crucial functions of their life, as it is not possible to survive without a complex structure of neurons controlling all of the senses.
Ants have only one brain consisting of around 250,000 cells, which is many times smaller than other higher organisms.
Moreover, it weighs around 0.1 mg, which is considered a bigger structure according to its body size. A large number of ganglia are spread in their body regions that control limb movement.
In addition, it appears smaller in size but controls multiple activities that ants perform in their life.
These insects are capable of perceiving external environmental signals and interpreting them quickly to give related responses in a short time.
Furthermore, their smaller bodies do not need a complex and large brain to manage their activities as they have simple mechanisms and functions.
Why do ants need brains?
The brain is an essential organ for ants, like every living organism, as it controls crucial life processes and improves their living standards.
It controls breathing processes, thinking patterns, and feeding habits and helps detect vibrations and chemical signals as it holds control of internal and external organs.
Control behavior and breathing
Brains control the movement of limbs, faces, and eyes and determine when and how long they have to move. Motor neurons in their muscles control the extent of movement and direction.
The wings and legs are allowed to move when they have to reproduce and feel hunger as they have to fly for mating and crawl for foraging.
Moreover, this organ controls their behavior as they cannot make decisions without interpreting and identifying the signals.
It controls body temperature and hunger, allowing ants to reach warm areas and food when there is cold outside, and they require nutrients.
Furthermore, their breathing process is also processed by it as the brain detects when there is less or no oxygen and makes them close the spiracles to store oxygen.
Detect damage to the body
The brain of ants helps detect damage in the body as they have no pain receptors like other higher animals and only feel discomfort when they get injured.
Their antennae have many sensory receptors that can detect mechanical stimuli and send information through ganglia to the brain for analyzing the signal.
Moreover, it allows insects to respond according to the signal and move away from the object if it threatens their survival.
In the same way, it can detect injuries, limb loss, and other minor damages when something hits them hard, as their touch receptors can send a signal to the head.
Ants have a good memory as their brains store the processed information for a few days, which helps them remember the routes.
They can easily get back to their homes as they remember the exact path by memorizing the landscapes and sceneries on their way.
Moreover, they can also be trained due to their sense of smell and ability to memorize experiences by conditioned learning methods.
They can return to their nests because they can interpret related signals and recognize the images stored in their minds while passing through the same route.
Furthermore, it is interesting that they can even remember the number of steps taken when moving away from their nest.
To interpret visual signals
The brain controls the movement of the eyes and sensations of the face in addition to the interpretation of visual signals transferred from the eyes to a simpler structure in the head.
It is found that these insects store short-term memory on one side of their brain, while long-term memories are stored on the other side.
Moreover, the visual signals are based on the color of light and patterns of objects that are processed by the eyes, and an image is sent as a signal for interpretation.
Accordingly, it tells them that there is no danger from objects appearing red and green, while they are not attracted to yellow and pink colors.
Their visual memories are stored in their minds for some time, helping them navigate the same route without following any trail.
Detect chemical signals
Ants are good at recognizing chemical signals like pheromones released by other colony members that help communicate and transfer messages.
Every member in a colony gives off a particular scent that helps recognize them as nest mates and indicates that there is no danger when detected by olfactory receptors.
In addition, they leave chemical trails on the ground detected by antennae and analyzed to identify the trail when the followers have to follow the leading insect.
The information about the type of smell or odor molecules detected by these insects is sent to their brain, which helps decode it.
Furthermore, it responds appropriately to chemical signals, as pheromones have different chemical structures released in different situations.
The chemicals released by the injured or dead insects differ from those produced by foraging members and indicate a danger.
Do ants have a high IQ?
Ants are intelligent insects that can interpret their surroundings quickly as they have a high IQ. They become smarter when they are working in the form of a group.
A single ant is not intelligent enough to make decisions, and its activities get disturbed when they get alone. A single ant begins to roam in the territory and cannot perform efficiently.
Most commonly, you have seen these insects moving in groups when they have to forage for food or attack prey and make collective efforts.
These tiny brains of the whole colony become equal to a larger and more complex one that can perform better and makes them perform tasks efficiently.
In addition, it becomes challenging for a single insect to complete the tasks like food collection and nest cleaning because they are not good at doing them individually.
Furthermore, the colony can express remarkable intelligence as their collective decisions allow them to navigate the territory and fight with their predators.