Ants colonies have hundreds of babies because they have a high reproduction rate and fertilize eggs quickly. In addition, you can easily differentiate ants babies from adults due to different physical features.
What Do Baby Ants Look Like? Baby ants or larvae have white, yellowish, or translucent bodies and look like maggots. Moreover, they are smaller than adult ants and are only 2 to 3mm long. Their bodies are covered with tiny hair used to hang on chamber walls and help maintain position because they do not have legs or wings. Furthermore, they have simpler bodies with soft exoskeletons and larger heads but lack eyes.
Adult ants are mature insects performing nest activities to ensure the colony’s survival, but babies do not have to fulfill such responsibilities because they cannot do it.
What does a baby ant look like?
Baby ants look different from adults in terms of size, color, and physical or behavioral features. They are oval-shaped structures and appear like a worm or a banana sometimes.
Adult insects are fully developed and grown, having completely differentiated organs. In addition, they have six legs on the thorax regions that help them move out of their nests.
The reproductive members have two wings because they have to engage themselves in a nuptial flight during mating.
However, immature babies lack fully differentiated organs because they have not yet passed through developmental stages.
Accordingly, they do not have legs and wings on their soft bodies because they pass through consecutive molting.
Their exoskeleton is not a hard chitin shell because it becomes challenging when they get mature and reach the adult stage like other nest mates.
What is the size of a baby ant?
Baby ants are tiny egg-like structures passing through internal developmental stages and are many times smaller than adult ones.
They have a large head only, unlike adults having three differentiated body segments.
Moreover, they are almost 2 to 3mm (0.2 to 0.3 cm) long, meaning they are nearly one-fourth of the rice grain.
However, they can extend to almost 20 to 38mm (0.8 to 1.5 inches) when their bodies get differentiated into the head, thorax, and abdomen.
Furthermore, they look like small transparent grains in the queen ant’s mouth when she is feeding or tending them to grow quickly and shifting to a new location while carrying them in her mouth.
Do baby ants have hair?
The ant eggs are sticky structures because they have glue on the outer surface of their bodies, keeping them connected.
There is a risk of eggs falling from the nest if they are not sticky, as dry structures can get dispersed during the wind. The presence of glue helps avoid unnecessary movements of eggs.
In the same way, their babies have hair on their soft bodies serving a function similar to glue.
These tiny hair help suspend larvae to the chambers’ walls only when they are at the fourth-instar stage.
Moreover, these have anchor-tipped hair on the dorsal side in almost 4 to 5 rows at this stage. This behavior of hanging babies to the chamber walls is common among most ant species.
What color are baby ants?
The newborn babies of ants have a different color in contrast to the adult nest members with differentiated organs and larger bodies.
Most commonly, these immature babies appear white or have translucent bodies. However, their body colors darken with age, and they will attain a typical body color according to their species.
Some are slightly yellowish, but the whitish shade is more dominant, making them appear like fly maggots. All of the eggs in the brood appear white and are almost equal in size.
Moreover, their outer skin or cuticle is frequently replaced with the newer one because these developing eggs pass through molting stages.
However, they will get a typical permanent reddish-black or red color after the hardening of their exoskeletons when they are getting closer to maturity.
Do baby ants have eyes?
Baby ants are not mature colony members, meaning they do not have complex and differentiated structures. For example, they do not possess eyes on their head like adult mates.
In addition, they are not able to capture the image and process it using their brain cells. It is the primary stage of their life when they undergo internal development.
However, two black dot-like structures appear on mature pupae heads, resembling eyes in adults. Pupae do not have complex eyes, which means they cannot process images.
So, these newborn ants lack eyes and are unable to capture and recognize images, and are completely dependent on adult workers for their survival and nutrition.
What do baby ants eat?
Baby ants cannot move and navigate surroundings to get food to fulfill their nutritional requirement. Instead, workers collect food in their stomachs and feed larvae through regurgitation.
Larvae can eat both liquid and solid food, broken into simpler compounds by workers. The first or second instar larvae prefer to eat liquid food like sugar syrup and honey.
However, older babies can easily digest the solid food particles fed by workers. Queens feed larvae with secretions released from their salivary glands when there is no forager in the colony.
In addition, some of them can consume eggs unintentionally because eggs and larvae are present together in the form of a pile.
Their dietary habits differ from adult members, as they need a protein-rich diet for quick growth and development, while adults need carbohydrate-rich food to get instant energy.
What do baby ants do?
Newly born ants have nothing to do with the nest activities as they cannot perform any tasks related to foraging and reproduction.
They cannot go out to collect food due to the absence of legs and antennae and are restricted within nests. They cannot even protect the nest, lacking stinger and poison glands to kill prey.
Moreover, these larvae are kept under the observation of queens and workers because they need protection from larger insects that keep strolling territories in search of food.
They usually consume food and remain together in the form of bulky piles until they grow and possess specialized organs internally and externally.
Do all baby ants look alike?
Most baby ants look alike as they have the same physical features and have similar developmental changes while transforming from egg to adult.
All of them have a whitish or yellowish color, but they will get their characteristic color later in their lives when the molting process stops.
In addition, they all lack legs, wings, and eyes that will appear at different times of their life cycle because some species have shorter lifespans and grow quickly.
The duration of developmental stages varies according to species, as some take only 12 to 15 days to become pupae, while few enter the next stage of their life cycle in 25 to 30 days.