Do Ants have hearts?


I know ants don't have true hearts or bloodvessels but how do they push things around their bodies? Where is the "pump" located?

Thanks
Lynn

Dear Lynn,

Ant, like all other insects, do not have an arteries or vein system, but they do have an open circular system. Their blood is called haemolymph, it is almost colorless and it does contain only 10 % blood cells, most of its volume is plasma. This haemolymph is used for the transport of hormones, nutrients and metabolic products, but not for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

To enable the circulation of this haemolymph, ants have a very simple heart which is located at the abdomen of ants. Their hearth is like an arteria which is surrounded by some small muscles. When this heart contacts by these muscles (going from the back to the head), the haemolymph is pressed into the different body parts, a significant part is directed to the head of the ant. Insects may also increase their haemolymph circulation by pressing their abdominal parts.

For their oxygen supply, they have small openings called spiracles at each body segment which supply their body directly with fresh air. When the oxygen enters the body, it goes via tracheal trunks and the smaller tracheal tubes to the different body parts and organs. As this system works mostly by passive air exchange, the body size of insects is limited to the dimension we know, so huge monster insects know from certain movies could not exist as they simply could not breathe.

Thank you for contacting us at Antblog!

Dirk Mezger & the AntAsk Team

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