Difference Between Ants and Termites

Ants vs Termites

Termites and ants are significant life forms in the terrestrial habitat. These two insect groups mostly inhabit the same kind of environment, also, they are smaller animals. They contribute significantly to the terrestrial biomass. With respect to the anatomical and morphological structuring, the ants are different from the termites, and the behavioural structuring of the termites is much improved.

Ants

The first records of the ants are 130 million years old. Belonging in the Order: Hymenoptera, the ants are of more than 22,000 potential species and out of which more than 12,500 species are described by the scientists. The characteristic body structure of the ants is depicted by the very distinctive waist between the thorax and abdomen. Also, the tagmetization (specialized segmentation of body parts) is very clear. Ants are social insects, and there is a queen in every colony. These colonies are highly organized, and different ant individuals are assigned tasks appropriately; sterile females as workers and soldiers, fertile female to be the queen for breeding with the fertile males. Interestingly, the queen lives about 30 years and a worker up to three years. However, the male ants are not long lived, and the lifespan is as shorter as a couple of weeks.

Termites

They evolved on the Earth, 140 million years ago. Termites belong in the Order: Isoptera with about 4000 estimated species. More than 2600 termite species are described by the scientists so far. Sometimes, the termites are called as ‘white ants’ because of the typical colour of their body. Also, the termite bodies are soft, and they do not have a very distinct waist. Their habitats can be either soil or wood. It is said that the termites are eusocial animals, i.e. they have a very higher level of social organization. The colonies consist of different castes depending on the size of the individual. Nest workers, foragers, and soldiers. Both male and female termites can fall into any category. Nest workers care for the eggs and make the nest by chewing the wood in case of a wooden habitat. Foragers are responsible for finding food while the soldiers are always guarding the home against attacks because there are frequent attacks by ants on the termite colonies. In the termites’ social structure, any individual can progress up to the reproductive stage (wings are developed by now) to mate with a female. Once, a male finds the sexual partner, its wings are shed for the rest of the life.

Ants vs Termites

- Both ants and termites are a social animal groups of the Class: Insecta.

- Termites are more organized and more skilful animals than the ants; hence, they are referred as eusocial insects whereas the ants are not.

- The ant colonies have only one queen, and sometimes two queens. In the case of termites, there may be different pairs of kings and queens according to the genetic studies.

- Ants are more diverse than the termites. Also, the body structures differ between the two, with ants having a distinct waist but not the termites.

- Additionally, ants have comparatively harder and darker bodies than termites.

Moreover, the ants and termites are interesting animals with a great capability of building their own homes, thus they are natures’ architects.