Jerry Roth, age 10, of North Hollywoo , California, for his question:
Do ants ever have wings?
Once in a while you find a group of winged ants in an ant nest. They seem very out of place, for we are used to seeing the tiny creatures scurrying around on their six legs. As a matter of fact, the busy little worker ants do not have wings. The queen ant and the drones, or princes, have wings, but only for a short time.
The queen and the drones use their wings to fly only once. That is for the marriage flight of the queen. After this, the queen gives all her time to laying eggs and more eggs. She has no time now for flying through the air and no need for her gauzy wings. Perhaps they even get in her way. For when the queen settled down to her egg laying duties she bites off her wings.
The little worker ants manage very well without wings throughout their busy lives. Some ants have tough‑jawed soldier ants to defend the nest. But they must be content with being foot soldiers, for they have no wings.