It is highly likely that ants fart. While there are limited studies regarding ant flatus (farts) and whether or not ants actually pass gas from their anuses, possible evidence of farting in ants has been shown through preserved gas bubbles around the anuses of ants that have been trapped in amber.
Furthermore, ants also satisfy the requirements such as specific body parts and the presence of microbes in the gut necessary to produce a fart.
In this article we’ll discuss how ants are capable of farting and why they do so.
How Are Ants Capable Of Farting?
To understand how ants are capable of farting, we first have to identify what exactly makes a fart. And simply put, a fart is defined as gas that is produced in the intestines and released from the anus.
From that definition, we can come up with three basic requirements for farting: intestines, gas, and an anus. Let’s see if ants have all three.
- Do Ants Have Intestines? Yes, ants do have intestines. Ants have a complete digestive system which consists of a tube that extends the length of the mouth to the anus. This digestive system consists of three parts: the foregut, midgut, and hindgut.
Each of these parts have their own functions, but it is in the hindgut which the intestines are located.
The posterior or back-most region of the hindgut consists of an anterior portion of the intestine called ileum. This ileum is then followed by the colon.
- Do Ants Produce Gas? Yes, ants do produce gas. To be more specific, microbes such as bacteria and fungi in the ant gut (gut fauna) produce gas as they break down food for digestion.
- Do Ants Have Anuses? Yes, ants do have anuses. As with us humans and other animals, the ant anus is an opening where the excretory waste leaves the body. Their anuses are located at the very end of their abdomens and are preceded by the rectum, a chamber at the end of the hindgut which regulates the movement of waste materials.
All in all, ants are capable of farting as they satisfy the three requirements necessary to produce a fart.
Farting or Diffusion Through Spiracles
Despite the fact that ants satisfy the requirements for farting, there is uncertainty as to whether ants do indeed fart due to the nature of how gas usually moves in and out of their bodies.
The ant body contains spiracles, small holes in the exoskeleton that allow for the passive diffusion of gas. As such, it is possible that the gas produced as a byproduct of digestion may all simply get expelled out of the ant body through these spiracles.
That said, given how close the hindgut (where gas is produced) is to the anus, it is likely that at least some of that gas gets released through the anus. In fact, fossil evidence has shown gas bubbles around the anus of ants trapped in amber.
Taking into consideration that evidence and the fact that ants are fully capable of farting, it is then highly likely that ants do release gas through their anuses and fart.
Why Do Ants Fart?
Should ants indeed fart, they’d be doing it for the simple reason of releasing excess gas. Unlike other animals such as the herring fish which communicate through farting, ants haven’t been shown to utilize farts in any specific way.
With ants, it’s so far been just about releasing gas. The gas built-up during digestion eventually needs to leave the ant body somehow, and this could be through their spiracles or farting.
Through the release of gas ants also release the tension caused by the excess gas in the body which then possibly allows them to survive. For us humans, gas build-up can cause pain or discomfort, so gas may somehow negatively affect ants as well. In fact, some ant killers utilize gas build-up in ants to cause them to explode and die.
Do Ant Farts Smell?
Given their size, ants will likely release just a very small amount of air when they fart. As such, we probably won’t even notice their farts at all. However, given that ants meat and even dead matter, it’s highly likely that their farts do smell bad and would be very noticeable in high concentrations.
Are Ant Farts Loud?
Similar to smell, we probably won’t notice the sound of ant farts just because ants are too small and the volume of air released is simply too low.
Summary: Do Ants Fart?
The fossil evidence and the fact that ants have the body parts and microbes necessary for farting, all point to the conclusion that ants likely fart. However, the lack of studies and actual evidence of ants actually passing gas through the anus, prevents us from forming a clear cut conclusion.