The cycle in ants' life

The cycle in the life of ants goes through four main phases: egg, larva, pupa, ant.

  • Egg:This is the first phase of the development of the ant. The queen is the only one who lays eggs in the colony. The eggs are about 0,5 mm in size, white, transparent, oval and sticky. This feature of them helps the workers carry them in clusters, which is far faster and easier.

  • Larva:The second phase of ant's development. After a period of time (depends on species, temperature and humidity) a larva hatches from the egg. It is completely helpless, almost immovable (it can make some small inessential movements, but not shift), half-moon-shaped, white and "hairy". Her hairs have the same function as the sticky surface of the eggs. At this stage of development the ant is completely dependable on the adults. She eats either from a piece of food that she has been given or food regurgirated by another ant. Depending on the conditioins it develops for different period of time. During this time the larva pines several times and increases its size. One can see the digested system in older larvae through their transparent cover.

  • Pupa:The pupa is last but one phase from the development of the ant. After a period of time (depends on the conditions) the larva stops eating. Some species pupate "naked". Their pupae look like white, transparent ants with their legs and antennae folded by the body. Others make themselves a cocoon. They knit it out of a secretion secreted by a gland on theit lip. As the time passes the cocoon gets darker in colour. Later a black stain appears on the back part of it. This is a sign that the digestive system is already formed and can excrete.

  • Ant:The fourth and final phase of the development of the ant. After a period of time (depends on the conditions) an ant hatches out of the pupa. In fact other ants bite of the top of its cocoon and take the ant out. At first it is pale and soft. After a few hours she gets the normal color for its species and can hardly be distinguished among the other ants. During this final stage of development the ant does not grow in size.

According to my observation this is how long each phase continues: egg - 35 days, larva - 7 days, pupa - 23 days.

The observation are done on my own colony (Formica fusca) at comparatively bad conditions.