Are Ants Insects?
Ants ARE insects
Ants are classified as insects, belonging to Phylum-Arthropoda, Class-Insecta, Order- Hymenoptera.
Why Are Ants Classified as Insects?
There are distinct characteristics that are required to classify an organism as an insect. They must possess all of the traits of the phylum Arthropoda as well as the class Insecta.
Phylum Arthropoda Characteristics
Belonging to the phylum Arthropoda, all insects have segmented bodies, jointed legs, and exoskeletons. These characteristics alone are not unique insect identifiers because other common classes of Arthropoda share these traits including the Crustacean, Diplopoda, Chilopoda, and Arachnida, which include such organisms as the crab, spider, tick, and millipede.
Class Insecta Characteristics
To be characterized as an insect, the organism must possess the traits of the phylum Arthropoda as well as the traits from the class Insecta, which include three distinct body parts, three pair of legs, one pair of antennae, and usually have wings.
Unique Characteristics Differentiating Ants with Other Insects
Gaster: Though the ant technically has three traditional insect body parts, the ant has distinct separations between the thorax and the abdomen called pedicels or nodes. The ant's three body portions are generally referred to as the head, the abdomen, and the gaster (abdomen with nodes).
Elbowed Antennae: Ants have a pair of segmented antennae that bend like an elbow. The dangling portion of the antennae is called the scape and is segmented. Many ant species have an antennae that bulges at the base known as a club.
Metapleural Glands-Most ants have metapleural glands located in the petiole section of their bodies. These glands have a variety of functions that though not quite understood seem to include secreting fluids that act as antibacterial agents and defense mechanisms, and is possibly the gland that secretes pheromones.