Field Ant, Formica spp.
Look closely at the ground around you, and see if you can follow a busy ant back to its colony!
The ant is one of the most common insects around the world, coming in many colors, sizes, and shapes — some even have wings! Wisconsin ants, commonly known as field ants, are typically black or red. These eusocial insects live with many other ants in anthill colonies in fields, woods, or even lawns. Ants live on every continent except Antarctica, and are so numerous that if you put them all together, they would weigh as much as every person combined!
Due to their incredible numbers, ants have a huge impact — so much that they even alter Earth’s climate. Research suggests that ants change the soil when they create anthills, breaking down minerals and building up limestone, which helps to trap carbon. Researchers are still unsure of exactly how much of an impact ants have on climate change, but by helping to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere, they are definitely pulling their weight! Can you think of any other animals, besides humans, that have a major impact on their environment?