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Do Ants Have Eyes? (Explained)

Small and mighty, ants are interesting creatures that work together in a hive-like mindset to care for and protect their colony. These colonies can consist of over 400,000 ants. Because ants are so small, however, it can be difficult to determine what body parts they have. It is not uncommon for people to wonder “Do ants have eyes?” After all, when you look at an ant, you may see its head, body, legs, and even antennae, but can you really see the features on its face?

Do ants have eyes?

Ant head close up
Ant head | Image by Егор Камелев from Pixabay

Yes, ants do have eyes. Most species of ants have two compound eyes, which are large and consist of various eye facets (or smaller eyes) that detect shadows and lights. Even though they have eyes, ants typically rely more on their senses and the info they pick up with their antennas and legs.

Like humans, the actual quality of their eyesight varies from one species of ant to the next. Most ants have rather blurry eyesight, but some species are completely blind. To make things even more difficult, there are even some ant species that have extremely good eyesight.

Are ants blind?

Most species of ants are not blind, though they do see differently than what our human eyes can see. With that said, however, there are some subterranean species that are completely blind.

For example, Dorylus ants, also known as safari ants or driver ants, are completely blind army ants that are native to East and Central Africa. They typically feed on earthworms and, like other ants, use pheromones to communicate.

Do ants have ears and are they deaf?

Flying ant on white
Flying ant on white

Ants may not have ears, but that doesn’t mean they’re deaf. When foraging for food, they use sensors in their feet and their knees to sense vibrations in the ground to hear prey.

These vibrations can also alert them to potential danger. So, while they do hear even without ears, they do so in a completely different way than humans do.

Can ants see?

Although most ants can see, they typically don’t have the greatest eyesight, especially when you compare it to other insects. They can see movement and the area around them, but cannot see very far in front of them.

The bulldog ant, however, which is native to Australia, has amazing vision. They can tell the size and distance of moving objects from up to a meter away from them.

Can ants see humans?

Ants can see humans, though they cannot tell what we are until they get closer. Because of this, ants may come closer to humans to try to figure out just what we are.

They probably think we are inanimate objects until they get close enough to tell that we are actually living beings. Whether they can tell the difference between a human and an animal is yet to be determined.

Are there any places where ants don’t live?

Even though they are small, ants are notoriously hard to get rid of. For anyone who has had to deal with an ant infestation, you know just how frustrating dealing with these tiny creatures can be.

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While ants are found in most areas throughout the world, there are some countries that don’t have to deal with them. These countries are:

There are also some island nations that don’t have ants. Most species of ants live in the soil, while some call decaying plant matter their home. Ants can also live in trees, but can sometimes make their nest inside walls.

How can I keep ants out of my home?

Even though ants are beneficial in many ways, most of us don’t want them in our homes. The best way to keep ants out of your home is to make sure you don’t leave food out for them.

Food entices ants to come in and make themselves at home. Keeping your home free of crumbs and securing food in airtight containers will go a long way to keeping your home ant-free.

Most ants also don’t like the smell of cinnamon, chili pepper, mint, garlic, cloves, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Sprinkling those around the area where you see ants can help deter them.

Conclusion

Ants do have eyes, though how well they see can vary from one ant species to the next. There are, however, some blind ants that don’t have the compound eyes that are commonly found on ants.

Army ant species, for example, don’t have these compound eyes, but some of them do have a single lens eye. Because there are over 12,000 different species of ants, however, it can be hard to lump the features and characteristics of each species together. This just goes to show you just how unique and interesting ants truly are.