Do some insects use slaves to survive?

Yes. Ants are social insects that live in colonies, or underground chambers, which may house as many as 500,000 individuals. Ant chambers are connected to each other and to the surface of the earth by small tunnels. There are rooms for food storage, rooms for mating, and nurseries for the young. A queen produces eggs to supply new ants for the colony. The colony is built and maintained by legions of worker ants, who carry tiny bits of dirt in their mandibles (a pair of appendages near the insect’s mouth) and deposit them near the exit of the colony, forming an ant hill. While most ant colonies are self-sufficient, Amazon ants, aggressive red ants found in the western U.S., steal the larvae of other ants to keep as slaves. The slave ants build homes for and feed the Amazon ants, who cannot do anything but fight. They depend completely on their slaves for survival.


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