Eusociality (Greek eu: “good/real” + “social”) is a term used for the highest level of social organization in a heirarchical classification.The phenomenon of reproductive specialization is found in ants, bees, and wasps. It can manifest in the appearance of individuals within a group whose behavior (and sometimes anatomy) is modified for group defense, including self-sacrificing .It generally involves the production of sterile members of the species, which carry out specialized tasks, effectively caring for the reproductive members.
A typical ant colony contains 3 main castes, i.e.,Queen males and workers. The queens and males are morphologically distinct from worker castes, primarily in structural modifications, in size and explicitly by the possession of wings and well-developed reproductive organs.
On the whole, an ant colony is a feminine monarchy, where females of many generations live together with astounding degree of co-operation, sophisticated mechanisms of communication, with clear, well-organized division of labor. As a consequence, one can see efficient builders, competent foragers, skilled defenders, smart cleaners, dedicated nurses and spectacular reproductives, all integrated together in a colony, in a magnificent way and become eligible to be called as “superorganism”.
Team of weaver ants taking a dead insect to its nest on the tree. Three of them are doing the task and probably the other two ants following them are keeping a watch and will pitch in help if required.
The Weaver ants have built a nest by including the guava .One can observe two ants in the center communicating with each other.
The exchange of information and modulation of worker behaviour that occur during worker-worker interactions are facilitated by the use of chemical and tactile communication signals.
These signals are used primarily in the contexts of foraging and colony defense.
Successful foragers lay down pheromone trails that help recruit other workers to new food sources.
Pheromone trails are also used by patrollers to recruit workers against territorial intruders.
Like many other ant species, Oecophylla workers exhibit social carrying behavior as part of the recruitment process, in which one worker will carry another worker in its mandibles and transport it to a location requiring attention.
As predators, weaver ants hunt practically every kind of invertebrate big enough for a meal—and so effectively that the ants’ territories become patches where many creatures can exist only at low populations, if at all. Chinese farmers noticed this 1,700 years ago and placed nests in orchards to safeguard fruit, making Oecophylla the oldest known form of biocontrol. Lately ecologists have been promoting it in Africa as a safe, effective, and inexpensive alternative to pesticide sprays. The poorest farmer can run strings from a weaver ant nest to fruit trees, and legions of female warriors will tirelessly eliminate fruit flies, caterpillars, and other potential pests for free.
Whenever we see an ant crawling around we should remind ourselves that nature has invented many ways for animals to be powerful and multitudes of ways for them to be smart.
Some clicks were by Kannan
Some very interesting links below