Ants are socialinsects of the family Formicidae (pron.: /fɔrˈmɪsɨdiː/) and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist.
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryoticorganisms of the kingdomAnimalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance.
Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago. Animals are divided into various sub-groups, including birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and insects.