It seems as though entomologists cannot stop learning new and fascinating things about ants. Despite their tiny bodies and what seems like a lack of mental sophistication, ants are capable of many behaviors that some would consider advanced. They have been know to clean themselves, so they care about personal hygiene, and they work in groups to transport large chunks of food. Now scientists know that ants identify members of their group by smell.
Researchers at the University of California at Riverside have discovered that ants can even communicate through hydrocarbon chemicals that exist on their cuticles, or their outer shells. These cuticles emit odors that ants can smell and in turn use to identify different members of their colonies. The ants were observed to be precise in their smell-based judgments of other ants as they would communicate to form groups in order to tackle a challenge. Ants have evolved advanced and large families of olfactory (smell) genes that are more sophisticated than the vast majority of other insects.
Have you ever watched a colony of ants for a period of time in order to observe how many different tasks ants are capable of accomplishing through group efforts?