Young of the Colony

The larvae of colony-making insects do much more than just sit around and grow. Although they don’t move around, they actually help the colony with various tasks. Larvae typically consume protein, either from seeds or from other insects. This protein is then digested, released by the larvae as a protein-rich liquid. This liquid then acts as a food source for the more mobile members of the colony. For the Asian giant hornet, larvae perform this task of turning the protein-paste into a liquid, as the adult hornets are unable to properly digest solid protein. In the case of the weaver ant, which makes their nests using tree leaves, larvae produce the silk which the ants use to glue together the tree leaves.

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