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Do ants 'go to the bathroom'

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 8 months ago

2000.04.07 Do ants "go to the bathroom"?


They do in a quite literal sense. Ants use out-of-the-way chambers in their nests as bathrooms. They may also deposit trash in the same chambers. Of course, when they are outdoors, the ants simply deposit waste wherever they happen to be.


Like all animals, ants both defecate and urinate. Feces are the undigestible particles that pass through the digestive tract, and since ants have very narrow gullets and swallow only liquids and very small particles, they don't produce much feces. Urine is the metabolic waste released by cells into the blood, and then filtered out by organs called Malpighian tubules. In ants, the main component of urine is whitish crystals of uric acid. Usually the urine and feces are excreted together as light brown droplets. To ant farmers, these droppings are visible as small brown smears in one corner of artificial nests. --Dr. Ant

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