Throw chunks of food on the ground, the first animal to reach it is ants. This is true in most of the mainland where there are ants. In terms of the number of individuals and biomass (weight), fleet ants dominate nearly all terrestrial habitats in the world. Day or night, the army ants vigorously exploring the land, so that they can find food before the other animals find it.
With the ecological dominance, it was natural that the ants can be found everywhere. Of tall buildings to lush forests, from coastal areas to subalpin. Ants are also present in the soil until the tall trees, in the desert to the tundra. In fact, at this time you are most likely not far from the worker ants roaming around you.
Ant dominance is also reflected in the number of insect biomass. In the composition of the biomass of insects in the world, at least one-third consists of ants. The amount is quite large considering the total number of ant species is less than 2% of the total number of insect species. Number of ant species in the world estimated at 20,000, and 12,000 of them have been known to science. In Indonesia alone there are about 1,500 species have been described, but it is estimated there are about 500 more species yet to be discovered.
Identification of ant species in Indonesia is difficult because of the small number of ants taxonomic research here. Even so, do not need a complex research to find out how many species of ants are hanging around our homes. When a simple observation, it can be seen at least 3 species of ants around the house. Several different species more can be found on the home page.
When you observe the ant community around you, do not be surprised if you find a variety of species living in a relatively small area. Most of the small ants, with a length of less than 5 mm. With this small body, the resources needed to survive relatively small anyway. Thus more of the population of ants can survive in a small area compared with animals that are larger in size.
Moreover, an ant colony has a system of division of labor in the fleet workers. In this system, each member of a colony of ants running certain tasks according to the needs of the colony at that time. Jobs colonies are foraging, nest building, keeping the enemy, care for chicks, producing eggs, or reproduction. With this division of labor, the work performed colony effectively and efficiently thereby increasing resilience and survival of the colony.
Ant species coexistence has ecological niches different. This reduces competition niche differences between ant colonies that can suppress populations. For example, one species of ants choose to search for small-sized food particles, other species choose a large food particles. There are ants that chose nest in the ground, there are cracks in the wood, some are in between the leaves of the tree. There ants are nocturnal, some are active during the day. With the differences in life strategy, ant species can share resources environment.
Ant stamped his feet on the earth since 90 million years ago, predating the new man appeared about 250,000 years ago. However, only since 10 million years ago the number of ant species and populations to develop and achieve abundance as it is today. In the history of his long life, ant species evolved adaptations of complex and interesting in terms of morphology, physiology, and social behavior. An example is the emergence of ant farm, ant farmers, socially parasitic ants, silk weaver ants, flying ants, giant ants, ants can even blow himself. With the complexity of such a life, do not be surprised if the ants are considered as the culmination of the evolution of insects, just as humans are the pinnacle of evolution of vertebrates.