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Army Ants Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Dacia Upkins

Dacia has taught all core elementary subjects for 14 years with a Master's degree in Urban Teacher Leadership.

There are thousands of species of ants, but army ants are especially known because of how they work together to get things done. In this lesson, you will see how they got their name by learning what they look like, how they eat, and where they live.

What Are Army Ants?

The children's song 'The Ants Go Marching' might have been written by someone who was observing army ants. This organized troop of little beasts is known for marching around and taking down everything in its tracks.

Army ants are identified as invertebrates because they have no backbones, and they are grouped with other insects because of their body parts. When they migrate, or move from one place to another, army ants are known for marching by the thousands, over trees and even through houses! But that's just the beginning of what makes them worth knowing about.

What Do Army Ants Look Like?

Looking at ants from far away isn't very threatening. But if you can see one under a microscope, you may think differently. Like other insects, army ants have bodies that are divided into three segments. It also has six legs, two antennae, and a pair of - yes that means two - jaws. Why two jaws? They work like a pair of scissors, which they use to cut, dig, hold things, and even fight! The three segments are called the head, thorax, and abdomen. The antennae are used to help the ants smell, feel, touch, and communicate with other army ants. Some of them also have a stinger, which they rarely use.

Army ants use their scissors-like jaws to cut, fight, dig, and hold things.
Army ant jaws

How & What Do Army Ants Eat?

You can imagine that anything named after the army has got to be pretty aggressive. Army ants are just that. They are carnivores, which means they eat insects and animals, and they go after their prey by the thousands. They use their powerful jaws to cut and tear through their prey, including other insects, spiders, and even some small animals. As a colony, army ants can attack and eat up to 500,000 prey animals a day. They don't live in the same place for long, since they are always on the move to find more food.

Army ants eat insects and small animals.
Army Ants prey

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