Superorganism Ant Colonies

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Founding Stage: after mating, a queen (or queens) starts a new nest and raises her first worker offspring.

Growth Stage: the colony grows larger by producing more workers, which perform all tasks except reproduction.

Reproductive stage: when the colony reaches a critical size (usually takes several years), it produces new queens and males, which fly away to mate with ants from other colonies and start the next generation.

Life Cycle of an Ant Colony

colony lfe cycle

An ant colony begins in the founding stage. After mating, the queen(s) starts a new nest and raises her first worker offspring. This is the only time in a queen’s life that she does work in addition to laying eggs.

During the growth stage, the colony grows larger by producing more workers. The workers now perform all the colony’s jobs except laying eggs. This period may last for several years.

When the colony grows large enough, it enters the reproductive stage. Now the colony produces new queens and males. These winged adults fly away to mate with ants from other colonies. The queens then start the next generation of colonies. Colonies may reproduce year after year until their queen(s) dies.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Life Cycle of an Ant Colony
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: December 21, 2009
  • Date accessed: October 16, 2018
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/ant-colony-life-cycle

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2009, December 21). Life Cycle of an Ant Colony. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved October 16, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/ant-colony-life-cycle

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Life Cycle of an Ant Colony". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 21 December, 2009. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/ant-colony-life-cycle

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Life Cycle of an Ant Colony". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 21 Dec 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 16 Oct 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/ant-colony-life-cycle

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
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