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16. Ants - The world of ants Feb 2009 Philip S Ward...

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ENT 10 13 Feb. 2009 Philip S. Ward Department of Entomology University of California at Davis The world of ants
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Ant highlights Ecological significance Ants are abundant almost everywhere in terrestrial habitats and ecologically very important, especially as scavengers and predators. In lowland tropical rainforests, about 1/3 of all animal biomass is composed of ants + termites. Ants are important movers of soil Ants are often involved in symbiotic relationships with other organisms. Ants hold potential as biological control agents in some agroecosystems; and as indicator taxa for assessing environmental health. Some ant species have become important agricultural and household pests.
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Ant highlights Behavioral and evolutionary significance Ants live in long-lived colonies with cooperative brood care, overlapping generations, and reproductive division of labor ; they represent the pinnacle of social evolution in insects. They pose a challenge to the question of how such complex societies (and especially worker altruism) evolve.
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