Are Ants Reptiles?
Ants are not reptiles, they’re insects. While both are animals, ants, and reptiles have very different characteristics. One major example is that reptiles are vertebrates whereas ants are invertebrates.
In this article, we’ll learn more about why ants aren’t reptiles as we discuss the following:
- What are reptiles and their characteristics
- Similarities between ants and reptiles
- Differences between ants and reptiles
What Are Reptiles?
Reptiles are members of the animal class Reptilia. They include snakes, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, and alligators. 
Reptiles have been around for millions of years. They evolved from amphibians and now represent more than 8200 living animal species.
These species live in different habitats such as deserts, forests, and oceans. There they play an important role serving as both predators and prey.
Characteristics of Reptiles
Like other animals, reptiles are classified according to shared characteristics.
To begin with, reptiles are chordates. They have notochords, dorsal hollow nerve cords, pharyngeal slits, and post-anal tails. Furthermore, they’re also vertebrates and have brains and spines.
What separates reptiles from other chordates and vertebrates though are the following characteristics:
Scales or Scutes
Reptiles have scales or scutes on their skin. These scales or scutes provide protection, prevent water loss and aid in movement. They help prevent injury and regulate body temperature.
Tetrapods or 4-Legged
Reptiles are tetrapods or have four limbs. They use these limbs to move efficiently on land and other environments.
This characteristic is apparent with certain reptiles like lizards and crocodiles. However, snakes are unique in that they have no legs but are still considered reptiles. This is because snakes descended from lizards but lost their legs as they evolved.
Most reptiles are oviparous, which means they lay eggs. This reproductive method is in contrast to mammals and birds, which give live birth.
These eggs are produced sexually through internal fertilization. They are then laid on land with enclosed shells.
There are reptiles, however, that are viviparous. This means that they can give birth to live young. A prime example of this is the viviparous lizard Zootoca vivipara. 
Reptiles are ectothermic or cold-blooded animals. They rely on the environment to regulate and maintain body temperature. They will often bask in the sun to heat up and cool down by seeking shade or water.
Reptiles don’t have the ability to absorb oxygen through their skin. Instead, they breathe in oxygen through the lungs.
Similarities Between Ants and Reptiles
Ants and reptiles have a few similarities. They are as follows:
Ants are Oviparous
Like reptiles, ants are oviparous. They produce eggs instead of giving birth to live young.
In ants, eggs are mostly produced by the queen. These queens can produce millions of eggs in their lifetime. In some species, queens can lay an average of 800 eggs daily.
Ants are Cold-Blooded
Like reptiles, ants are also cold-blooded. They rely on the environment to regulate internal temperature. In fact, ants have developed sophisticated strategies to obtain heat.
For example, their mounds work as solar collectors. They are built with efficient ventilation systems that maintain temperatures within the nest.
Why are Ants Not Reptiles?
Despite some similarities, ants are not reptiles due to the following characteristics:
Ants Have Exoskeletons Instead of Scales
Ants don’t have scales. Instead, they have chitin-exoskeletons that support and protect their bodies. These exoskeletons are composed of two layers.
One is a thin outer layer used for regulating water loss. The other is a thick inner layer used to protect the organs and other internal structures.
Exoskeletons and scales have similar functions but vary in composition.
Ants are Invertebrates
Unlike reptiles, ants are invertebrates. This means that they don’t have spines and an internal bone structure.
In place of bones, ants have exoskeletons that as mentioned, support their bodies.
Ants Have 6 Legs
Ants have six legs instead of four. These legs are specialized and specially adapted for ants. They are jointed and flexible to allow ants to move despite their rigid exoskeletons.
Ants use these legs to move around and climb surfaces.
Ants Have No Lungs
Ants aren’t big enough to accommodate a complex respiratory system. Therefore, they don’t have lungs.
Instead, they have a specialized respiratory system known as a tracheal system. This system allows them to breathe through a network of tubes called the trachea.
These tubes run throughout their bodies and allow for the passive diffusion of gas.
See this article to learn more about how ants breathe.
Are Ants Mammals?
No, ants are not mammals. In fact, ants are much more different from mammals than they are from reptiles.
For example, while ants and reptiles are cold-blooded, mammals are warm-blooded. Mammals are also viviparous while ants are oviparous.
Finally, mammals have mammary glands which no other animals have.
See this article to learn more about why ants are not mammals.
What is the Classification of Ants?
Ants are insects. They have segmented bodies, three pairs of jointed legs, and two pairs of wings.
To learn more, see this article on why ants are insects.
Do Ants Eat Reptiles?
Yes, ants eat reptiles. Most ants scavenge and eat reptiles when they’re dead. Some ants like fire ants and army ants also attack and feed on small reptiles.
Summary: Are Ants Reptiles?
To summarize, ants are not reptiles. Despite having a few similarities, ants are all in all very different from reptiles. They don’t have scales, lungs, or spines, and have six legs instead of four.