Many people consider ants don’t have a heart as there is no complex chambered structure in their bodies, but these insects have a simpler heart based on the dorsal vessel.
How Big is an Ant’s Heart? Ants have a long tubular heart extending from the head to the abdominal region. It is a few inches smaller than the overall body size as 1 inch long ants have a 0.7 to 0.8-inches long heart. Moreover, it weighs less than the ant’s body and controls the blood flow through the entire body. Furthermore, it is located in the abdominal region or gaster and beats at a rate of 52 to 54 beats per minute.
The ant’s heart works like humans as they contract and relax rhythmically and transfer hemolymph to different body parts.
However, it does not carry oxygen as their breathing pores are present on their abdomen, unlike humans, and these spiracles can transfer oxygen directly to body tissues.
What is the size of an ant’s heart?
They are tiny insects having only a few simpler organs inside their bodies, unlike humans, which have lots of space to hold larger and more complex organs.
It is challenging to estimate the size of internal organs as their bodies are too small. Still, biologists are struggling to determine the actual size of their internal organs.
The heart of an ant is a thin tube-like structure having a small diameter, but it extends all along the body to distribute blood equally in all directions.
One end of the dorsal vessel connects to the brain for blood supply to the brain cells. The other end is located in the abdominal regions having two distinct chambers.
The length of the dorsal vessel is only a few inches smaller than its overall size. It covers almost 85% to 90% of the body and reaches the head region.
Accordingly, the size of an ant’s heart is supposed to be 0.7 to 0.8 inches (18 to 20 mm) when its body is 1 inch (25 mm) long, as this tube runs almost all over the body.
However, it is difficult to get an idea of the exact diameter of the dorsal vessel as it appears thin.
Its exact length and diameter are still not clear, but it is estimated to be around 0.7 to 0.8 inches long on average.
How much does an ant’s heart weigh?
They have lighter bodies as their size is small, carrying a few internal organs and legs, antennae, stinger, and a hard exoskeleton.
Comparatively, they are much smaller than humans, as millions of ants collectively weigh around 1 pound. Their overall weight is approximately 2 to 4 mg on average, which equals to 0.002 to 0.004g.
It is difficult to measure the exact weight of its heart which is much smaller than their bodies. It is supposed to weigh in micrograms according to its average weight.
The digestive system, heart, and brain are the internal organs that add to their weight. Some external structures are also added to its weight, like legs, stinger, antennae, abdomen, head, etc.
So, it is not possible to get an accurate measurement for these tiny structures distributed all over their smaller bodies and particularly when its heart appears like sand grain.
How many hearts does an ant have?
Ants have only one heart extending from the head to the abdominal region. It is a muscular tube-like structure having open endings to allow the blood to flow in and out of the dorsal aorta.
They do not have a four-chambered structure, like humans, and lack narrow blood vessels like arteries and veins.
They have long vessel or duct known as dorsal aorta that helps deliver blood to different body parts. This tube is connected to the brain in the head region to maintain continuous blood flow.
Moreover, they have two-chambered structures at both ends of the dorsal aorta, allowing the blood to transfer to the body tissues after the contraction of muscles.
In addition, metathoracic and prothoracic chambers are present within the dorsal aorta, separated by narrow openings or valves known as Ostia.
They do not have lungs and breathe through breathing pores or spiracles in the abdominal region. Accordingly, they do not need a heart-like structure to collect oxygen and transfer it to body parts.
Therefore, they have dorsal vessels to transport nutrients all along the body and distribute hormones and essential molecules to the body tissues.
How does an ant’s heart work?
The heart of an ant works on a simple mechanism as it lacks blood vessels and a complex chambered structure. Instead, hemolymph flows through the dorsal aorta to nourish cells.
The white or yellowish fluid carrying nutrients begins to flow from the abdominal region. It is directed towards the head and reaches back to the abdominal area.
They have an open circulatory system based on a single tube bathing body tissues. Moreover, it is a muscular structure that contracts and presses the internal fluid to get out of the vessel.
Accordingly, it gets relaxed after the entry of fluid inside the vessel and transfers it to the heart in the abdominal region. The dorsal aorta is responsible for the transfer of nutrients to the cells.
Furthermore, pumps are present at the ends of appendages allowing the hemolymph to transfer to both its antennae and wings on the head and thorax region.
What is the heart rate of an ant?
Most commonly, the pulse rate of ants does not differ among species, which means the heart of black ants operates at the same rhythmic pattern as that of carpenter ants.
Their average pulse rate is 52 to 54 beats per minute.
Their heart beats faster than elephants having a pulse rate of 32 beats per minute, but it is a bit slower than the average pulse rate of insects.
Accordingly, the pulse rate of cockroaches and butterflies is around 67 beats per minute and 64 beats per minute.
In contrast, winter ants have low heart rates as they bring modifications in internal systems to survive in cold weather. As a result, their blood flow rate and metabolism slow down at low temperatures.
Additionally, some variation exists in Argentine ants as their pulse rate is more than the average pulse rate found in other species.
These brown insects have pulse rates of almost 56 to 58 beats in a minute, while it is less than 50 times per minute for winter ants.