Temporal range: 140–0 Ma[1] Berriasian – Present
Fire ants 01.jpg
A group of fire ants.
Scientific classification e
Latreille, 1809
Type species
Formica rufa
Linnaeus, 1761
Cladogram of






















A phylogeny of the extant ant subfamilies.[2][3]
*Cerapachyinae is paraphyletic
‡ The previous dorylomorph subfamilies were synonymized under Dorylinae by Brady et al. in 2014[4]

Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous period, about 140 million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified.[5][6] They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists.

Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist of various castes of sterile, wingless females, most of which are workers (ergates), as well as soldiers (dinergates) and other specialised groups.[7][8] Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" (aner) and one or more fertile females called "queens" (gynes).[8] The colonies are described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.[9][10]

(video) Ants gathering food

Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass.[11] Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships.[12]

Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems.[13] These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study. Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication, and rituals. Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents.[14] Their ability to exploit resources may bring ants into conflict with humans, however, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), are regarded as invasive species, establishing themselves in areas where they have been introduced accidentally.[15]


The word ant and its chiefly dialectal form emmet[16] come from ante, emete of Middle English, which come from ǣmette of Old English, and these are all related to the dialectal Dutch emt and the Old High German āmeiza, from which comes the modern German Ameise. All of these words come from West Germanic *ēmaitijǭ, and the original meaning of the word was "the biter" (from Proto-Germanic *ai-, "off, away" + *mait- "cut").[17][18] The family name Formicidae is derived from the Latin formīca ("ant")[19] from which the words in other Romance languages, such as the Portuguese formiga, Italian formica, Spanish hormiga, Romanian furnică, and French fourmi are derived. It has been hypothesised that a Proto-Indo-European word *morwi- was used, cf. Sanskrit vamrah, Latin formīca, Greek μύρμηξ mýrmēx, Old Church Slavonic mraviji, Old Irish moirb, Old Norse maurr, Dutch mier.[20]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mier
Alemannisch: Ameisen
አማርኛ: ጉንዳን
Ænglisc: Ǣmette
العربية: نمل
aragonés: Formicidae
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܫܘܫܡܢܐ
armãneashti: Furnicâ
অসমীয়া: পৰুৱা
asturianu: Formiga
Atikamekw: Erikoc
Avañe'ẽ: Tahýi
Aymar aru: K'isimira
azərbaycanca: Qarışqa
تۆرکجه: قاریشقا
bamanankan: Ntigiɲɛ
বাংলা: পিঁপড়া
Bahasa Banjar: Samut
Bân-lâm-gú: Káu-hiā
Basa Banyumasan: Semut
башҡортса: Ҡырмыҫҡалар
беларуская: Мурашкі
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мурашкі (вусякі)
Bikol Central: Tanga
български: Мравки
བོད་ཡིག: འབུ་གྲོག་མ།
bosanski: Mravi
brezhoneg: Merien
буряад: Шоргоолзон
català: Formigues
Cebuano: Hulmigas
čeština: Mravencovití
Cymraeg: Morgrugyn
dansk: Myrer
Deutsch: Ameisen
Diné bizaad: (*wálá-)
Ελληνικά: Μυρμήγκι
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Furmîga
español: Formicidae
Esperanto: Formiko
euskara: Inurri
فارسی: مورچه
Fiji Hindi: Chuunti
français: Fourmi
Gaeilge: Seangán
galego: Formiga
ગુજરાતી: કીડી
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Ngie-kûng
хальмг: Шорһлҗн
한국어: 개미
Հայերեն: Մրջյուններ
हिन्दी: चींटी
hrvatski: Mravi
Ido: Formiko
Ilokano: Kuton
Bahasa Indonesia: Semut
interlingua: Formicidae
íslenska: Maurar
italiano: Formicidae
עברית: נמליים
Basa Jawa: Semut
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಇರುವೆ
Kapampangan: Panas
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: رے
қазақша: Құмырсқалар
Kiswahili: Sisimizi
Kongo: Kinyonya
Kreyòl ayisyen: Foumi
kurdî: Morî
Кыргызча: Кумурска
кырык мары: Кыткы
лезги: Цегвер
Latina: Formica
latviešu: Skudru dzimta
Lëtzebuergesch: Seechomessen
lietuvių: Skruzdėlės
Limburgs: Aomezeike
Livvinkarjala: Kudžoi
magyar: Hangyák
македонски: Мравка
Malagasy: Vitsika
മലയാളം: ഉറുമ്പ്
मराठी: मुंगी
مازِرونی: ملیجه
Bahasa Melayu: Semut
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Mā-ngiê
монгол: Шоргоолж
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ပုရွက်ဆိတ်
Nāhuatl: Azcatl
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Qasikalolo
Nederlands: Mieren
Nedersaksies: Miegamp
नेपाली: कमिला
नेपाल भाषा: इमू (प्राणी)
日本語: アリ
Nordfriisk: Miiren
norsk: Maur
norsk nynorsk: Maur
occitan: Formiga
олык марий: Кутко
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Chumolilar
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੀੜੀ
Pälzisch: Ameisen
پنجابی: کیڑی
پښتو: مېږی
Перем Коми: Кӧдзыв
Plattdüütsch: Miegeems
polski: Mrówkowate
português: Formiga
Ripoarisch: Omöseck
română: Formicide
rumantsch: Furmiclas
Runa Simi: Sisi
русиньскый: Мурянкы
русский: Муравьи
саха тыла: Кымырдаҕас
sardu: Formiga
Scots: Eemock
shqip: Milingona
sicilianu: Furmìcula
සිංහල: කූඹියා
Simple English: Ant
slovenčina: Mravcovité
slovenščina: Mravlje
ślůnski: Mrowcowate
Soomaaliga: Quraansho
کوردی: مێروولە
српски / srpski: Мрави
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Mrav
Basa Sunda: Sireum
svenska: Myror
Tagalog: Langgam
தமிழ்: எறும்பு
татарча/tatarça: Кырмыскалар
తెలుగు: చీమ
ไทย: มด
тоҷикӣ: Мӯрча
ತುಳು: ಪಿಜಿನ್
Türkçe: Karınca
Türkmençe: Garynja
удмурт: Кузьыли
українська: Мурахи
اردو: چیونٹی
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: چۈمۈلە
Vahcuengh: Moed
Tiếng Việt: Kiến
West-Vlams: Miern
Winaray: Tubák
Wolof: Melentaan
吴语: 蚂蚁
ייִדיש: מוראשקע
Zazaki: Morcela
žemaitėška: Skrozdės
中文: 蚂蚁
ГӀалгӀай: Зунгаташ
Kabɩyɛ: Kɛɛmaɣ