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All About Ant Anatomy



Ants, like all insects, have jointed legs, three body parts (the head, thorax and abdomen), a pair of antennae, and a hard exoskeleton. The exoskeleton is made up of a material that is very similar to our fingernails. Ants range in color from yellow to brown to red to black.

Some ants have a stinger and some can even inject poisonous acid from the stinger (the stinger is at the tip of the abdomen, the rear body segment). Ants can also bite using their jaws (mandibles). Ants range in size from about 0.08 inch (2 mm) to up to about 1 inch (25 mm) long.

ant anatomy diagram to label

Abdomen - The abdomen is the segmented tail area of an ant. It contains the heart,Malpighian tubules, reproductive organs, and most of the digestive system (foregut, hindgut and rectum). It is protected by an exoskeleton.

Antennae - Ants have two jointed antennae. They are sensory appendages attached to the head.

Compound eye - Ants have two compound eyes. These eyes are made up of many hexagonal lens/corneas which focus light from each part of the insect's field of view onto a rhabdome (the equivalent of our retina).

Head - The head of an ant (or any insect) is the location of its brain, two compound eyes, its proboscis, pharynx (the start of the digestive system), the point of attachment of its two antennae, etc.

Jointed Leg - Ants, like all insects, have six jointed legs.

Mandibles - Mandibles are the jaws of the ant. The mandibles bite off food and tear it into small, easily digestible pieces.

Thorax - The thorax is the chest area of an insect (including ants). The thorax is divided into three segments; on each segment is a pair of legs. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs move.