Ants are a social insect from the family Formicidae. They evolved from wasp-like ancestors around 110-130 million years ago after the rise of flowering plants.
Of an estimated 22,000 ant species, over 13,800 species have been identified.
Antarctica and a few remote islands are the only places with no indigenous ants.
It estimated that the total number of ants alive in the world at any one time is between one and ten quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000).
Ants are believed to contribute up to 25% of the total biomass weight of land based animals. That's about the same as the total biomass of the entire human race, or equivalent to approximately 1 million ants for every human.
Ant species range in size from 0.75 mm to 52 mm (0.030 in - 2.0 in).
Most ants are black or red in color but some species are green or metallic.
Ants can carry 20 times their own weight.
Ants can build small colonies of less than 100 ants through to very large colonies that occupy large areas and contain millions of individual ants.
Colonies of ants often dividing up labour, but work collectively to solve problems and support the group in a similar way to how human societies work.
"Queen" ants are the head of ant colonies, they lay thousands of eggs. Male ants called "drones" have one role which is to mate with the queen. Non-reproducing female ants form castes of "workers" or "soldiers" who find food, care for the queen and offspring, build the nest, and defend the colony or attack others.
Foraging worker ants can travel up to 200 metres (700 ft) from their nest and find their way back to the colony by following scent trails left by others.
Only female queen ants and male drones, have wings. Queen ants shed there wings after mating with a male, and seek a suitable place to begin a colony.
Queen ants can live up to 30 years, the longest of any insect. Workers live for 1 to 3 years, while male drones usually only survive a few weeks.
Ants can bite or sting, bullet ants, have the most painful sting of any insect, its not fatal to humans though like the sting of the Australian jack jumper ant.