Ants play a crucial role on our planet. They are populous in number and essential for soil aeration, fertilization, and ecological balance. Ants are also a vital food source for other creatures. The extinction of ants would cause catastrophic damage to our ecosystem.
There are roughly 10,000 species of ants, and they have been around for over 80 million years. They are incredibly adaptive and can survive almost any climatic condition. Some ants are considered pests, while others are beneficial. However, the benefits of ants outweigh the damage they cause to us, humans. A few species of ants are facing extinction, and this can be disastrous for our environment.
Many humans see ants as pests and annoying insects, quick to reach the interiors of our homes and deteriorate our furniture or pick on our stored food. To know what will happen if ants go extinct; our exterminators in San Antonio want you to learn their essential role in our ecosystem.
Reduction in soil aeration
Ants dig tunnels when they build their colonies. These tiny tunnels allow oxygen and water to flow to the roots of crops and trees. This is known as soil aeration and is a very crucial part of plant survival. The extinction of ants would destabilize the plant’s growth and destroy the symbiotic relationship between the plants and our ecosystem.
Reduced soil fertility
Another crucial component of plant life, soil fertilization, is supported by ant colonies and feeding activity. Ants feed on leaves and move large quantities of leaves into their nest. Upon decaying, these leaves turn into vital fertilization for plants near the ant colonies—similarly, ants aid in decomposing dead animals and carcasses. The extinction of ants would result in reduced plant growth due to a lack of nutrients.
Imbalance in ecology
Ants are the top predators. Ants scavenge on tiny organisms and prey on insects larger than them – this behavior helps create an ecological balance. Additionally, ants are the foundation of the food pyramid. If ants went extinct, the food chain would collapse, and it would affect every organism.
If ants go extinct many other insects, birds, and animals that rely on ants as a food source will also suffer. These include:
Anteaters that feed only on ants
Young bear cubs that love to feed on ants
Aardvark, pangolins, and skunks that feed specifically on ant colonies
Insects, including spiders and phorid flies, feed on ants
Woodpeckers, turkeys, starlings, hummingbirds, flickers, antpittas, grouse, and sparrows prey on ants.
One interesting fact is that humans too prey on ants for their nutrition as a source of protein.
Overexploitation and pollution are the main factors that result in ant extinction. Ants are vital to the smooth functioning of our ecosystem. A sudden decline in ant population will immediately disrupt the food pyramid. We as individuals should understand the value of ants and not endanger them. However, ants are still pests and can cause significant problems if left unchecked.