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Genera surviving today comprise 56% of the genera in Baltic amber fossils (early Oligocene), and 92% of the genera in Dominican amber fossils (apparently early Miocene).

Termites, although sometimes called 'white ants', are not ants.

Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass.

Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves.

Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication, and rituals.

Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents.

More than 12,000 species are currently known (with upper estimates of the potential existence of about 22,000) (see the article List of ant genera), with the greatest diversity in the tropics.

Taxonomic studies continue to resolve the classification and systematics of ants.

Larger colonies consist of various castes of sterile, wingless females, most of which are workers (ergates), as well as soldiers (dinergates) and other specialised groups.Ants occupy a wide range of ecological niches and exploit many different food resources as direct or indirect herbivores, predators and scavengers.Most ant species are omnivorous generalists, but a few are specialist feeders.Ants evolved from a lineage within the aculeate wasps, and a 2013 study suggests that they are a sister group of the Apoidea. The specimen, trapped in amber dating back to around 92 million years ago, has features found in some wasps, but not found in modern ants.During the Cretaceous period, a few species of primitive ants ranged widely on the Laurasian supercontinent (the Northern Hemisphere).

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