Ants are insects that live and work in colonies, usually underground in dirt anthills. According to Pest World, there are over 12,000 different species of ants and these insects can lift 20 times their own body weight. Among ant predators, there are many insects that eat ants. Though ants are often seen as pests to humans, to many insects, ants are seen as a delicious and nutritious meal.
Many spider species eat ants whenever they can grab them. The Black Widow, Jumping Spider and the Lynx spider are a few species that prey on ants. Most spiders weave webs from spider silk to trap prey. When an ant is caught in the web, the spider feels the vibration from the ant struggling and will go to feast on their meal. Other spiders hunt for ants by laying in wait for their pray and then jumping on top of the ant to kill it.
According to the University of Texas, a species of fly called the phorid fly specializes in laying its larvae inside the bodies of fire ants. The larvae hatch and then eat their way out of the ant, killing the ant in the process. Because the phorid fly reliably preys on fire ants, this species of fly is often used as pest control to get rid of, or control, the population of fire ants in a particular area, according to the University of Texas.
Antlions and Doodlebugs
Among the more oddly-named bugs that eat ants, antlions prey heavily on ants, making them metaphorical "lions" among ants, according to the Antlion Pit website. Antlions in their larva stage are also called doodlebugs because they leave designs that look like doodles in the sand as they dig pits used to trap ants and other insects to eat. Adult antlions look similar to dragonflies, but with shorter, clubbed antennae. Adult antlions are rarely seen in the wild because they are only active at night.
Often times, ants will eat other ants of different species. Fire ants, for example, will raid the nests of smaller ants. In response to this, some species of ants that belong in the Pheidole genus have developed defense systems against these raids. The Pheidole ants will go out and kill the fire ant scouts. If that method fails, the ants will abandon their nest before the fire ants can attack and steal their brood.