[Contracted from the Saxon word emmet.] An insect of the family Form.icidce, which embraces between two and three thousand different forms, widely distributed in temperate and tropical countries. Ants usually live together in swarms, sometimes many thousands in number, and are distinguished from insects generally by their extraordinary intelligence. Among them, as among bees, there are workers, besides the males and females. The females are the largest, the males next in size, and the workers the smallest and without wings. Ants are very active and strong for their size, and among the most industrious of all animals. Their dwellings usually consist of hillocks of earth, most wonderfully constructed, and containing many little rooms, in which they store their provisions, and nurture their young. The food of ants consists chiefly either of animal matter, or of sweet vegetable substances, such as honey, sugar, and fruit. There are many species of ants, differing considerably in their habits - as the agricultural, carpenter, foraging, honey, amazon, etc. They have many remarkable habits, fighting battles in which large armies take part, keeping and milking the aphis, or ant-cow, cultivating certain grasses with palatable seeds by the destruction of other species, and displaying other evidences of high intelligence. The insects known as termites, or white ants, are not properly ants, but belong to a different class of insects, yet resemble the ants in intelligence. They live in hot countries, and sometimes gnaw out all the inside of the beams of houses, leaving only a thin casing. In Africa white ants live together in vast colonies, some living in houses which they dig underground, some burrowing in wood, while others build up large mounds, ten or twelve feet high, with smaller mounds around them.

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