Since ancient times, ants have been acclaimed for their wisdom. Ants stand out at, or near, the peak of invertebrate development, displaying memory, learning, and the ability to correct mistakes. Like human societies, ant communities have their own expertise at the three primary methods of obtaining food: gathering, hunting and growing.
A caste system divides the workload among workers, soldiers and the queen. They all live together in the same colony. This system is believed to have existed for 30 or 40 million years.
Despite their intelligence, ants are trapped inside rigid and programmed behaviour patterns that are distinct to each species. These patterns produce carpenters, dairymen, soldiers, seed collectors, fungus growers, and even thieves and beggars, among others. Some species of ants raid colonies of other species and use them as slaves to work in their own colonies.
In North America, there are several 700 species, out of the approximately 10 000 species of ants that exist. They are found worldwide, with the exception of Antarctica.