Most ant species have marginal to excellent sight, depending on how they get their food. But there are some which are completely blind, especially those that have to spend most or all of their time underground. In fact, the eyes themselves can vary from species to species. Some species will have compound eyes that help them hunt down prey, while others have ocelli, which are three simple eyes that are used to detect light. Those that do not have the best sight will rely on other senses to find food.
There are two main ant species that are known to be blind – army ants and Martialis heureka. Army ants are more of a group than a single species, and this group encompases 200 other subspecies over 18 genera and six subfamilies. In order to be considered as part of this family, a subspecies of ants must showcase an aggressive swarming predatory behavior where they use their numbers to catch prey. Interestingly, these ants have no use for sight, instead relying on their antennae and pheromones to navigate the world.
Martialis heureka are a relatively newly discovered species. It was found in the Brazilian forest in 2003, and it is considered one of the most primitive species of ants that we’ve ever come into contact with. It is pale and eyeless, and when researchers around the world first had a look at it, they said that it might as well be from another planet, given how different it is from other ant species. In fact, the name Martialis heureka basically translates to “From Mars! Wow!”
How most ants make their way through the world
Most ant species travel the world through three main means. First, they use their antennae to sense, taste, and smell the world around them. They then rely on the pheromones of other members of their colony. If one forager finds a source of food, it will leave a pheromone trail to it, which other foragers will follow. Thirdly, ants do not actually hear. Instead, they perceive vibrations in the mediums around them. That is how they detect sound.
But no matter if they’re blind or not, ants still seem to be able to find their way into our homes. If you are having problems with ants, contact us today and we will perform an inspection, evaluate the status of the infestation and then remove it.