How Many Legs Do Ants Have?

How Many Legs Do Ants Have? Ants are common insects that are present all around the world. Like cockroaches, ants also are known as insects because of their bite. Ants are very hardworking insects.

Ants are members of the family Formicidae. They are also related to wasps and bees; in this way, they developed from the wasp throughout the Cretaceous period. 

Their legs are named based on their origin:

  • The front legs are prothorax.
  • The mid legs are known as mesothorax.
  • Hind Legs are metathorax.

Ants are different from other insects because of their waist structure which is formed by a mismatched structure which is the same as the nodes.

There are many species of ants, like house ants and fire ants. All species of ants have unique structures and other features. They have many body parts, and their legs help them to walk from one place to another.

To learn fascinating facts about ants’ legs, keep reading this article.

How many legs do ants have?

How many legs do ants have?

Ants have legs which help them in locomotion. An ant consists of three pairs of legs. Two legs are located in the front, and two are in the middle and back. The legs are in the mesosoma part of their body, and the wings.

The muscles present in this area provide energy to the legs. Because of their tiny size, you cannot count them with the naked eye.

Do all ants have six legs?

Ants and spiders belong to the arthropods. Spiders are known as arachnids and have eight legs. All the ant species have six legs but walking with the help of all six legs is a difficult task. 

Ants adopt a unique method of locomotion in which legs are split into two parts. Only one part is used during walking at a time. During motion, only one part meets the ground, and the other is not touched. This type of phenomenon is known as the aerial phase. This is also seen in animals as well as in humans.

An ant walks with the help of three legs on the ground, which is called sprinting gait. This phenomenon enables them to start running without any prior preparation.

Besides ants, sprint gait is also seen in birds, cockroaches and crabs.

What are parts of an ant’s legs?

Many different parts combine to form an ant’s legs. Each ant has three joints and two hooked claws. Claws are present at the end of the feet, which enables them to climb at any surface because they hold the surface on which the ant is walking. 

The touch receptors help them to know about the surface it is walking on. The ants also use them to be in touch with others.

Aside from the claws and touch receptors like humans, ants also have a tibia and femur. These body parts are very important to help in locomotion from one side to the other and flee from predators.

Why do ants have hair on their legs?

Why do ants have hair on their legs?

Like other arthropods, an ant also has hair on its body. These hairs are called setae and are attached to the nervous system. Setae and receptors are on each leg which helps to feel the other’s communication sound.

An ant can also hear from their leg’s hairs.

Can an ant’s legs grow back?

No, ants cannot regrow their legs once they are lost. While other insects, like cockroaches, can grow back their limbs and legs through moulting. Ants live through the complete metamorphosis process and can no longer moult like adults. So if they lose any part of their body, it will be permanent.

What are ants’ legs for?

Ant uses their legs for different purposes like walking, running, climbing and grooming.


The primary use of an ant’s legs is locomotion. Modern technology has shown that ants use an alternative tripod system for walking. They walk with three legs, fore and hind legs from one side and the mid leg of the other for each footstep.

They boost their stride length and adopt a “ ground running “method to run and walk faster. In this method, all their legs do not lose touch with the ground. 

This method provides better stability and enables them to run fastly, prevent falls off and move through rough routes. 

Faster ants like Saharan Silver ants gallop and simultaneously leave their feet off the ground when moving at higher speeds. They can change their gait based on their speed.

Besides walking and running, ants use their legs to climb on the walls. They use adaptations like pretarsal adhesive pads, hooked claws and the hair of their legs to hold themselves vertically and upside down. They can climb on walls, ceilings and even other materials.

Although Some large ants can move around the water. They utilize their front legs to push ahead through water.


As described earlier, ants use tibial spurs on their front legs to cleanse their antenna. These spurs are like claws and have many types of hair, all designed to clean dirt from important and delicate parts of the body.

During cleaning, ants use their coarse bristles to clean the biggest particles. After that, they use quality hairs to clean smaller particles through adhesion. 

Sense and communication

Ants use their legs to communicate. The tibia consists of subgenual organs, a crucial type of chordotonal organ that finds substrate-borne vibrations. These vibrations contain drumming and stridulatory signals, which helps ants to communicate mating signals.

Spider legs vs ant legs

Spider legs vs ant legs:

As you know, ants and spiders are both arthropods. Spiders are members of the arachnids group, and ants are hexapods.

Ants, like other insects, have three body parts: head, thorax and abdomen but spiders have two heads and abdomen. Spiders and ants are not members of the same species and are completely different from each other.


No doubt Ants are beautiful creatures and look very small, but if you see them closely, they will surprise you. You may have seen remarkable adaptations they have. Ants have six legs that connect to the thorax. Ants use their legs for essential purposes like locomotion, climbing, and even sensing and communicating.

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