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The queen of the Anthill

  The queen is the most important ant of the colony because it is the mother of all the others. A new colony is found by a queen who is single at the beginning, but in large nests, which can be fifty years old and contain thousands and thousands of ants, it exists several queens who lay at the same time. The complex nests, like those of the ants of genera Iridomyrmex of South America, indefinitely increase importance because the increasingly many queens lay unceasingly. In the colonies which have only one queen, or in the young colonies, the death of the queen condemns the anthill: it could not be born any more from new ants and the workers who exist age and die.

 In colonies in full activity, workers make the toilet of the queen with their tongue, nourishes her and carries eggs as soon as laid. During the day, when the sun heats the surface of the ground, eggs are placed in nurseries located on the higher floors, then the evening, when the air cools, eggs are descended in major nurseries and more heats. Much larger than the workers, queen passes her life to lay at the rhythm of eggs all the few minutes. At the beginning of her life the queen is winged. She does not occupy herself of the construction of the nest or research of food. All work is exclusive spring of the workers; each colony comprises some winged males which them either don't work.

The winged individuals live comfortably until a certain day. This day, or day of nuptial flight, young winged males and females fly away, testing their wings for the first time. Nobody can know the date of this day but ants seem to know, to a kind of "internal signal" in connection with their complex physiology. At the time of the flight the winged ants are carried by the wind very far and that explains why one finds the same species spread at long distances. 

This day all the ants are very excited, then abruptly the flight starts. Even the nonwinged ants are in such a state of irritation that they run at any speed of right-hand side and left and climb at the top of the grass stems, plants and large stones. But obviously only the winged individuals can fly away.

The Birth Of a Colony

 High in the air males couple with female, then they die quickly and for the female a new life begin, an extraordinary adventure starts. They let carry by the wind and finally lands. then at a long distance of its old nest, alone,but queen knows what they have to do.before the nuptial flight queen dig a hole in the ground or while slipping under a stone; after which it is locked up under ground in a cabin and it is ready to lay. 

At once installed and walled in its cabin, the young female gets rid of its wings while cutting them with its mandibles or while rubbing: she will never fly again because here she is become queen. Although she can live up to 15 years, never again she will go up on the surface of the ground, never again she will not see the sun. 

The queen must wait long weeks, sometimes even eight month for queens of ant-carpenters and their nymphs rest in the royal rooms nine months, before she laid first egg did not give ants able to work. The first egg are of 
small size and the queen eats a certain number of it to be maintained herself alive. She finds also another source of food in muscles of her wings. Like she does not have any more wings, muscles became useless. They are reabsorbed little by little, providing an appreciable supplement of food to the queen. 

When the first larvae hatch, the queen must nourish them with juice coming from her salivary glands. She must wait until its first larvae transform themselves into nymphs then as young adults. The first workers made at the adulthood are weak but quickly they take forces and, in spite of the brevity of their life, they manage to dig a way of the room of the queen towards the outside and leave to research of food. From the moment when it is nourished with flesh of insect or miellat, the queen is able to lay again and without interruption. Quickly the colony becomes populated adults in good health and it increases quickly. The young workers dig new tunnels and arrange new rooms. 

Some eggs will give winged males and a very small number of winged females; but the greatest number of eggs will be transformed into workers. Those are females without wings, of the incomplete females which cannot lay. It is the adult form which one generally see.