Do Ants Have Brains?
Ants DO have brains.
All ants have brains. The ant brain is composed of learning and memory, sensory, and motor and mechanical components. The colony thinks together with each member of the colony, queen, males, and workers, providing part of the thinking power for the whole.
Learning and Memory
The part of an ant's brain called the mushroom body controls advanced behavior such as their ability to quickly adapt to new situations. For example, each ant in a colony has an assigned task. One ant may be a housekeeper while another is a food forager. If the needs of the colony change, the ants are able to quickly switch tasks to provide for the needs of all.
Though ants are not visual creatures, their brains are equipped with photoreceptors. Some experts theorize that this part of the brain perceives motion, patterns, and direction rather than clear visual cues. The brain also houses olfactory neurons, upon which the ant relies heavily. The olfactory neurons can process ordinary odors and pheromones. Pheromones are used for food foraging, direction, and as an alarm mechanism. For the purpose of food foraging, the ant assigned this task marks the trail for its fellow ants to follow. They in turn will subsequently reinforce the trail with more pheromones. They use this same form of communication to find their way back to the colony. Ants also use pheromones as an alarm mechanism to warn other ants of impending danger.
Additional communication methods include analyzing vibration and touch.
Motor and Mechanical Stimuli
Much like humans, ants have motor neurons that send signals to the muscles that move body parts such as the antennae and legs. It is believed that the central complex of the ant's brain modulates motor commands and may even be responsible for organized behavior.