Imported Fire Ant Life Cycle Game: True or False Questions

Imported Fire Ants April 12, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Life Cycle Game Questions: TRUE or FALSE

Winged adults

1) Winged adults are most abundant in the late spring and early summer but can be found at any time of the year. TRUE
2) Winged adults are also known as “alates.” TRUE
3) Red imported fire ant male alates are much bigger than the female alates. FALSE
4) The nuptial flight of the male and female alates occurs at midnight. FALSE
5) The male alates fly out of the nest first and are joined by the female alates in the air. TRUE
6) After the nuptial flight the female alate lands, sheds her now useless wings and begins searching for a suitable nesting site. TRUE
7) Winged adults have four wings that are the same size. FALSE
8) The wings on the winged adults are clear (transparent) and hairless. TRUE


1) A new queen only lays one egg to begin her new nest. FALSE
2) A new queen lays 10 to 15 eggs to start her new nest. TRUE
3) The eggs laid by the queen hatch in 7 to 10 days and are fed by the queen. TRUE
4) The feeding of the newly hatched eggs by the queen is by trophallaxis (mouth-to-mouth exchange of foods). TRUE
5) The queen can live up to 7 years and lay more than 1,000 eggs per day. TRUE
6) A new queen uses her wings to fly and search for food for her newly hatched eggs. FALSE
7) A new queen excavates a brood cell to lay her eggs in. TRUE
8) The eggs develop into male worker ants. FALSE


1) The eggs hatch into larvae. TRUE
2) The larvae are black with 12 legs. FALSE
3) The larvae develop through four progressively larger stages called instars. TRUE
4) The larvae molt (shed their “skin”) between instar stages. TRUE
5) The larvae molt four times over a 12- to 15-day period. TRUE
6) The oldest larvae (last instar) digest the food given by the worker ants and secrete a nutritious liquid that the workers feed on and pass to the queen through trophallaxis. TRUE
7) Worker larvae are relatively small, while future queens and males (known as “reproductives”) develop from larger larvae. TRUE
8) The oldest larvae crawl around looking for food to feed the youngest larvae. FALSE


1) The last larval instar becomes a pupa. TRUE
2) Instead of spinning a cocoon, the larva sheds its outer skin to reveal a pupa that gradually changes from white to brown. TRUE
3) The pupae are black with 12 legs. FALSE
4) Imported red fire ant pupae are all one size. FALSE
5) The pupae take 9 to 16 days to develop. TRUE
6) The pupa is the last stage before the adult. TRUE
7) The large pupae eat more food than the smaller pupae. FALSE
8) The pupae, part of the fire ant brood, develop into different size workers and winged forms. TRUE

Adult workers

1) All worker ants in the colony are females that sting but cannot lay eggs. TRUE
2) There is only one worker ant in each mound. FALSE
3) The worker ants feed and care for the queen ant. TRUE
4) The queen ant is fed by the worker ants through trophallaxis. TRUE
5) The largest workers in the colony can be as much as 10 times the size of the smallest workers. TRUE
6) The smallest workers are referred to as “minims.” TRUE
7) Young worker ants are assigned the job of caring for the developing brood. TRUE
8) Middle-aged worker ants maintain and protect the colony. TRUE
9) The oldest worker ants forage for food. TRUE
10) A fire ant mound can have more than one queen. TRUE
11) The fire ant queen leaves the mound once a day for fresh air. FALSE

If you need more questions in a section, change some of the TRUE statements to make them FALSE, or vice-versa, such as changing, “There is only one worker ant in each mound. (FALSE)” to “There are many worker ants in each mound. (TRUE)”

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.