Common Red Ant
|Common Red Ant|
|Official Name||Common Red Ant|
|Common Nicknames||Fire Ant, Flame Ant, Pain Ant|
|Habitat||All Tropical Regions|
As one might assume by their name, the Common Red Ant is rather widespread and known to exist on every continent containing a tropical climate, but their population is mainly centered in Daendroc. The Common Red Ant is an integral part of the ecosystem, assisting in the breaking down of leaves and killing other pest insects such as cockroaches and termites. For most, the fire ant is a pest that often burrows into the grounds near their homes and when agitated, whether accidentally or on purpose, sting their victim mercilessly. These ants are of great interest to scientists, though, due to their polymorphism, ability to survive, and mutualistic relationships with other insects and species that they appear to form.
The Common Red Ant does not have much importance in history. It hails from Daendroc, being found when the Elven Empire first began settling the area. They remained rather undisturbed for the duration of the time that the Nelfin controlled Daendroc, and even when the humans arrived, the Common Red Ant simply stayed as they had for the thousands of years before then. It is believed that the ants began to spread to other continents at this time, hidden away among the cargo on Elven ships, and from their rapidly invading various ecosystems and spreading rampantly.
The Common Red Ant is notable for its polymorphic nature, with there being four different types of Common Red Ant found within colonies. All of these ants have mandibles and the ability to sting from their abdomen as well.
The Queen is often the largest member of the colony and resembles a major (listed below) more often than not. Prior to being fertilized, she was a virgin-queen, or princess, of another ant colony, and took part in a nuptial flight, which gave her the ability to create her own colony of fire ants. She is a wingless ant with an extremely large abdomen, she moves rather slowly and is often found within the darkest parts of the cave, protected by thousands of majors and minors. The queen can be identified because rather than being red, she is actually brown with red stripes.
These are the offspring of the queen that are able to reproduce. Common Red Ants have their nuptial flights in winter, as they inhabit the tropical regions of Aloria. Male Red Ants are often just smaller than the queen that they are spawned from, and are black in coloration, not red. Female Alates, also known as virgin-queens or princesses are often brown, before gaining their red stripes after partaking in their nuptial flights and becoming queens. All alates have wings, though the females lose them shortly after the nuptial flight.
Majors are the workhorses of the colony and they are basically a super-sized version of the minors. Their head and jaw are larger and meant to protect the colony and its inhabitants.The majors also forage for food and carry it back to the nest. They look no different from minors other than having an exponentially large head in comparison to the rest of their bodies. They are colored red, like minors, but can have black colorations throughout their head and body that further differentiate them.
Minors are the workers of the colony. They take care of the queen and her young and remain within the nest for the majority of their short lives. Sometimes, if food is scarce they will venture outside the nest in search of food with the majors, but they do not do so often. They appear as a regular red ant, approximately 3 mm in length.
Like bees, these ants are overwhelmingly female. Males are only produced when nuptial flights are right around the corner and all workers, known as majors and minors, are infertile females produced from the queen. They all share the same general body structure but each has small differences suited to their roles in the collective.
Life Span and Development
All ants begin as an egg, laid by a queen of an existing colony. Most of these eggs become majors and minors, the workers of the colony and the ones responsible for the protection of the queen. They eventually become pupae and then adult workers after a period of three or so weeks. The workers only live for approximately three months if they survive for their entire lifespan. Alates are produced once a year and the males die off after nuptial flights, the virgin-queens, which turn into queens after the nuptial flight live for approximately thirty years if they survive the extent of their lifespan.
Common Red Ants are rather aggressive and territorial. The majors of the colony often attack anything that intrudes on their nest, as they are raised to protect it. Outside of the nest it is not uncommon to see Common Red Ants swarming around a bug, larger insect, or even a small mammal and biting and stinging them. They do not discriminate on what they attack, regardless of size. An strange behavior is that if a new queen is introduced to a colony after theirs is taken or killed, the workers will attack and kill the new queen, despite requiring a queen in order to survive. This causes colonies to die off if their queen dies.
If two differing colony’s workers happen upon one another they will fight to the death, with the surviving ants often alerting the rest of the colony’s workers and an ‘ant war’ will occur where the workers of both colonies fight to the death. The colony that wins will retain control of the lands that they have as well as the previous colony’s land too. This has caused so called “super-colonies” to form, with some colonies owning acres and acres of land without contest simply due to their age and size.
Territory and Groupings
All Common Red Ants live in colonies that have been dug into the ground, comprising of hundreds, and sometimes thousands of separate passages and rooms, used for a variety of purposes, from storage to small “farms”. Their numbers can be in the hundreds of thousands the year’s food was good for food and the colony is old enough. An ant that loses her colony is generally killed within the first couple of days, along with most of the alates that fly during the nuptial flights, scientists estimate only 1% of fertilized queen ants per a specific year’s nuptial flight survive to adulthood and create a colony.
- Some black market dealers have tried to domesticate the animals in order to harvest their venom to sell. No one has successfully done so yet, and many have died trying.