Most ant species have winged males that fly in swarms with young queens (top), which also have wings. After mating, queens drop to the ground and chew or break off their wings (bottom). They then dig a small hole and start a new colony. The queen lives off her fat reserves and lays eggs that pupate and hatch into workers. These set about bringing her food and digging more tunnels and chambers in the colony, so that the queen can concentrate on egg-laying.
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Natural Sciences Image Library of New Zealand
Reference: In2912Smn/ In2913Smn
Photographs by Peter E. Smith
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