Thristy ants

Hi AntAsk,

I am in seventh grade and i'm doing a science project on ants. I'm studying a colony of Linetithema humile, and I was curious, if, and when, ants drink water.


Hello Dominica:

Ants, like other living organisms, are mostly water. In general, ants from desert climates are a little better at avoiding water loss than are those from more humid or cooler climates, but interestingly they do this mostly by behavioral means, such as foraging at night or only during the coolest hours of the day, or climbing above ground level on stems or pebbles periodically to avoid the heated ground surface. And of course, they drink water when they encounter it. Adult ants consume an almost exclusively liquid diet, so they do acquire a lot of water from their diet, but like any other animal, when the water content of their body fluid is low, they experience thirst, and drink water from dew, droplets in moist soil or sand, or the lawn sprinklers.

Indeed, it is landscape irrigation that allows Linepithema humile to survive in California and the Mediterranean Region of Europe, where the climate is too dry for these ants, originally from humid, subtropical Argentina and Paraguay.

James C. Trager and the AntAsk Team

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