Each ant goes through metamorphosis, which is a change in form from one stage to another. An ant’s metamorphosis consists of 4 stages: (1) egg (2) larva (3) pupa (4) adult. Ants are social insects that live in colonies, usually located in the ground. Colonies are made up of workers, queens, and males. Workers are female, in some species they are sterile, but in others they lay eggs that turn into males or trophic eggs. (Trophic eggs are unfertilized eggs that the colony uses for food.)
Workers come in various sizes and do all of the work for the colony, including building and enlarging the nest, caring for the developing ants, and gathering food. Queens are typically the largest ants in the colony and in some species queens live up to 30 years. A colony may contain many queens. The queen’s entire purpose is to mate and lay fertilized eggs. Males are usually smaller than the queen but larger than workers. Their primary purpose is to inseminate the queens, then they die shortly after mating. Depending on the species, swarmers (winged reproductive ants) leave the nest, mate, and begin a new colony.