Blog: The growth of soldier ants

Delta BC

In most ant colonies, the ratio of worker ants to soldier ants remains constant at 90 to 95 per cent worker ants to 5 to 10 per cent soldiers. Ant colonies maintain the balance between soldiers and worker ants by regulating the growth of the undeveloped wing discs in larvae stage with a pheromone. The difference in the size of soldiers and minor workers is caused by the short-term occurrence in the larval stage of a rudimentary wing discs. This rudimentary organ appears only briefly during the final stages of larval development in the soldier ants. It is the rudimentary wing discs that regulate the rapid growth of soldier’s heads and bodies producing soldiers with larger heads, mandibles and bodies. The colony is able to speed up the number of soldier ants produced if the nest requires more soldiers for protection.

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