Insects like ants live a very perilous life. If they are not being eaten by predators they are crushed underfoot by any unsuspecting pedestrian with such a precarious lifespan what is the average life expectancy of a typical ant. Well the answer is not as straight forward as we would like to think. The Pharaoh ant can live for up to a year which seems impressive for the little creatures. But the black garden ant can live for 28 years!
But why the discrepancy in the ages?
The lifespan of ant is dependent on many factors most of which are completely out its control. The ant species plays a huge role in how long they live as does the ant colony caste and how much predators love to feed on the ant colony.
The caste determines the lifespan meaning the more important members of the colony get to live in more ideal conditions which prolongs their life span. For example, the queen ant doesn’t go out with the female worker ants to forage for food. She is protected which means she gets to live for longer unless nature takes her out. The female worker ants the other hand are always placing themselves in peril with their little hunting and scouting parties. The male ants live for an even shorter time because they are alive only to mate then they die.
Species also matters in terms of life span. Where one species could live for only weeks as a worker ant another like the black garden ant can live for an average of 15 years. Even the males which live only to mate get two years before they die. The black garden ant is not special in any way.it lives outdoors but will venture indoors looking for sugary treats. They are incredibly adaptable to ay environment living in the city with just as much comfort as they live in the country.
Also how often the colony is invaded by predators matters. The more the invasion the more the ants are depleted and obviously the shorter their lifespan.
The life cycle
The one thing that is common to all ants is the cycle of their lives. Like most insects the life cycle of an ant has four stages. The queen ant will lay eggs which are protected deep in the colony. When the eggs hatch they will become larvae. In this state they are eyeless and have no legs. They also eat food that has been chewed and regurgitated for them by the adult ants. They will then progress to becoming pupae enclosed in a silk cocoon. It is during this time that the body of the ant becomes the adult form we are used to seeing around.