Why Do Ants Have Two Stomachs?

Ants have two stomachs. One is for personal consumption; the other is for feeding fellow ants, larvae, and queens.

When harvesting food, this amazing insect can decide what passes through its personal stomach and what it keeps for redistribution. In its “social stomach” the menu is pre-digested and stored in liquid form. Upon arriving at the anthill, the ant regurgitates its contents drop by drop by a kind of mouth-to-mouth either with fellows who remained in the nest or with larvae.

This is because only elite, about 10% of individuals, go out in search of food. They take care of the livelihood of all the others without having a privileged connection to one or the other. To indicate that it needs to eat, an ant “touches” the antennas of the nourisher with its own. The importance of this mode of transmission is known, but researchers do not yet know the details of the operation.

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