Ants are featured on the cover of Oracle PL/SQL Programming, Fifth Edition. At least 8,000 different species of ants can be found everywhere on Earth except the North and South Poles. Ants preserved in amber suggest that these insects existed 50 million years before humans.
Humans have long been fascinated by ants, because these tiny insects are accomplished builders, nurses, miners, and even farmers. Fables such as “The Ant and the Grasshopper” extol the virtues of hardworking, forward-looking ants. (Hail ants!) It is true that individual ants are able to perform amazing feats: an ant can carry up to 50 times its body weight, can travel the human equivalent of 40 miles a day, and can climb vertical heights the equivalent of Mount Everest. However, the greatest accomplishments of ants are those performed together for the good of their community.
Queen ants establish new communities, or nests, after their mating flight. On this flight the queen mates with several males. After mating, the males fall to Earth and die. The queen then finds an uninhabited nest, settles into it, and pulls her wings off. She will never fly again, and after removing her wings she is able to absorb the wing muscles as nutrients for her eggs. She will continue to lay eggs, thousands of them, for years.
During the three-stage development process, which takes about two months, the eggs, larvae, and pupae are cared for by the nurse ants, who feed, clean, and carefully move the young to warmer or cooler ...