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Organism Physiology Paper

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Organism Physiology Paper: Pavement Ants
Amanda James
Bio/101- Principles of Biology
March 19, 2016

Organism Physiology Paper: Pavement Ants
Introduction
We never think about how vital ants are to our environment, perhaps because of their size and their inevitable way of making our homes theirs. The reality is we need ants to survive. The most common species of ants that live near me, Richmond Virginia, are the Tetramorium caespitum. The common name for Tetramorium caespitum is the pavement ant. Tetramorium is the genus and the species is T. caespitum. According to “BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF THE PAVEMENT ANT, TETRAMORIUM CAESPITUM (L.), IN SOUTHEASTERN WASHINGTON (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE: MYRMICINAE)” the pavement ant is the most common ant in North America (1980). These ants, as well as all ants have important roles detrimental to human existence and the environment they live in play a major part in how well they can perform those roles.

Environment Description and Role of Organism Pavement ants live under rocks, sidewalks, pavement, inside houses and inside wood. They don’t build their homes in the open. So when you see the ant nests above ground, those ants are not pavement ants. The pavement ant keeps its home hidden from the human eye. The only time you may see their nest is in the summer months and they are usually seen near the sidewalk in cracks and crevices (Jacobs, 2000). These ants are very territorial! They are fighters and they stick together with their colony. They will go to war with other ant colonies to protect and gain more territory (Vitone & Lucky., 2014). Speaking of colonies, one single colony can have well over 10,000 ants in it. One way that ants help us out is that they turn the soil for us when they dig tunnels. This helps aerate the soil and recycle nutrients back into the soil (Bardroff, 2014). These ants can live for five years and more and the queen can live for as long as 18 years. Pavement ants never stray too far from their territory and they scavenge for every bit of food around it. Sugar is what these ants favor, however they will eat just about anything. They harvest seeds and grain and store them in their nests (Tarkington, 2001). Fun fact ALERT!! According to Bardroff (2014), “You might have thought ants were pests, but there are insects far peskier than ants. Fly, flea, and bed bug eggs, larvae, or nymphs are delicacies for many ants. Fleas can be hosts to parasites, which could affect you! In some countries, flies can carry deadly parasites, so by keeping the populations in balance, ants are saving people” (Ants).

Structures and Functions of the Main Organs
[pic]
Chuanru, 2013 There are three sections that characterize the ant’s structure, which are the Head, Thorax and Abdomen. Starting with the Head, the main organs are the eye, the brain, antenna, the mouth and the mandible gland reservoir. The ant has two eyes and each one is made up of many smaller eyes. The antenna is made up of twelve segments. Ants use their antennas to smell as well as for touching and feeling. Also, the mouth of the ant has a pair of large jaws that open like scissors, however, they never swallow solid food because they can’t chew (Versteegh, 2011). What they do is suck the juices from the food and discard of the solid part. The mandible gland reservoir grasps and carries the food and also cuts and bites food. The thorax is where the six legs are attached to ant. The major organs that run through the thorax are the heart, nervous system, and the digestive tract. The heart actually is a tube that runs from the head to the rest of the body circulating colorless blood that eventually returns to the head. All over the ants’ body are spiracles that take in O2 and emits CO2 through the tiny holes. The nervous system also, run from the head to the rear and all other organs. The abdomen hold most of the major organs of the ant like the stomach and the social stomach, the large intestine, hind gut, anal gland reservoir, the stinger, the dufour’s gland and the pavan’s gland. The social stomach stores food for ants in the colony and the larger stomach consumes the food for itself. Out outer shell of the ant is called the exoskeleton. Fun fact Alert! Ants are extremely strong they can hold 20 times their own weight (Versteegh, 2011).

Physiological Evolution to Become Suited to its Environment Pavement ants are able to survive in almost all environments, but they prefer to live away from any vegetation. So you will see them more in urban areas (Vitone, 2014). They originated in Europe and in the 19th century they were introduced to the United States (Vitone, 2014). Over the years the pavement ants have been recognized in over half of the states of the U.S. They have learned to adapt in almost all kinds of environments. I think they can easily adapt to any environment because they will a variety of foods and they can find a vegetation less habitat just about anywhere.

Transplanted to a significantly different environment If the pavement ant was transplanted to a habitat where there was nothing but vegetation everywhere they went, I think that they would easily adapt to the environment. Their organs probably wouldn’t change much because they normally harvest grains and seed, so around the vegetation they would have more grains and seed to harvest. I think they would build their nest underground being that they seem to like to be hidden.

Conclusion The Pavement ant is a very interesting organism as well as an annoying pest. After studying this organism, I realize how valuable each and every organism is to the earth. I also realize the importance of studying organisms to see how they live, what they eat, how they evolve, and what roles they play in the ecosystem. The next time I see an ant in my pathway I will think twice about stepping on it for sure.

References

Bardroff, J. (2014). Human Would Not Exist Without These 5 Animals. Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animals-that-help-us-to-survive/

Chuanru, Z. (2013). About Ants. The Evolution of Thought. Retrieved from http://zought.blogspot.com/

Jacobs Sr., S. (2000). Pavement Ant. Retrieved from http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/pavement-ant

Schultz, G. W. (1980). BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF THE PAVEMENT ANT, TETRAMORIUM CAESPITUM (L.), IN SOUTHEASTERN WASHINGTON (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE: MYRMICINAE) (Order No. 8025959). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text. (303093631). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/303093631?accountid=35812

Tarkington, L. (2001). "Tetramorium caespitum". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved from http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Tetramorium_caespitum/

Versteegh, D. (2011). Bali Impressions. Retrieved from http://www.farelli.info/pages_bali_impressions/animals/ants.htm

Vitone, T., Lucky, A. (2014). Featured Creatures. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Retrieved from http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/ants/pavement_ant.htm

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