The following is a description for antfolk:

Antfolk are an intelligent species native to an area of Africa, most likely the Congo, and are technically a species of ant. Their description is "abnormally large (4 to 6 inch long adult females on average, and 0.8 to 1.1 inch long males at largest) winged ants with three fingered claw like structures on their two front limbs, significantly better eyesight, and the ability to reproduce human speech and other sounds with the skill of a parrot.(doesnt really matter how, but its used to lure some prey and scare predators) better abilities for respiration than most normal insects thanks to having a more amphibious lifestyle. queens have lost the ability to produce highly mutated clone males, so they require males born from other queens or workers. reproducing workers can only do so sexually, not asexually, and only produce males. males produced by queens will have the desire to reproduce with workers, and males produced from workers have the desire to reproduce with queens, to maximize genetic diversity.". Resistant to the majority of poisonous substances, and with average lifespans of 16 years, upper bound of 30. It should be noted that they live exclusively in supercolonies, and each non-queen female is capable of reproducing, but only once in their lifetime.

Is there any way at all that these could evolve on earth? What would motivate their evolution? If they can't evolve some traits in the way described, what details should be changed or removed? Please let me know what additional details are needed, if any.

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    $\begingroup$ There's a heck of a lot of criteria here. Perhaps you could break the question down into a series of questions, and ask is each characteristic possible (how could it most likely work) in this species. Eg. speech by this method, viability of life in such a large insect, flight in such a large insect etc. We like linked series when it comes to questions, eg: this, this. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2021 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ How intelligent are we talking? Perhaps you could research what is the most intelligent real insect? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 11, 2021 at 17:21
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    $\begingroup$ @stix there are some pretty large insects about, including flying ones. Biggest cockroaches are nearly 4", biggest damselflies are >7", stick insects can exceed 20" apparently. What is going to be a strugggle is providing enough oxygen to a highly complex brain; that certainly seems like it would rule out such things in the current era. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2021 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ What would motivate their evolution? The same thing that motivates the evolution of all species: Random mutations that occasionally are beneficial. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Feb 11, 2021 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime Those are all arguably more delicate and less "meaty" insects than a 4-6" ant would be. In addition, you're not going to be able to fit an intelligent brain in an ant that small, so you'd need a much bigger ant body, hence much more oxygen. $\endgroup$
    – stix
    Feb 11, 2021 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


The hardest thing to swallow is perhaps "vibrating their jaws". Jaws are by nature for eating, so they have a purpose for which they have to be somewhat robust, and now you want them to also move like a reed (or vocal cord) in the wind. Of course, insects do this double duty with wings, but wings happen to be light and fast moving for their normal purpose, and even so, a cicada is not a parrot.

Making them resistant to poison is fairly easy - say "P450 enzymes" and wave your hands. Three fingered claw like structures have been done by birds - having ants evolve to do that is a stretch, but certainly not inconceivable. The workers with a single round of reproduction are unfamiliar, and raise some game theory issues. If they mate separately from the queen, the males have a strong interest in ensuring that their progeny do well in relation to those of the queens ... it seems like things should come apart, but it needs more thought.

Intelligence remains one of the deepest scientific mysteries.

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    $\begingroup$ Vibrating jaws what sounds could they make anyhow? Very small twin diaphragms (not evolved to create full range sound for human ears?) close together without baffling. Kinda squeaky methinks and directional in an erratic way. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2021 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ ive removed the vibrating jaws condition in exchange for the ability to synthesize precise frequencies and emulate vocalizations, it doesnt really matter how. $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Feb 12, 2021 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ the reproducing females can only reproduce sexuall,y and only produce males. these are used to increase genetic diversity, which is also the reason for the supercolonies instead of regular colonies. males have a natural strong preference to reproducing with queens if born from workers, and with workers if from queens. the reproducing workers only do so once at an age in which they can no longer work or support the colony $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Feb 12, 2021 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ @zackit Can you edit your question to include those details too please. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2021 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ ive added those details to the question itself. $\endgroup$
    – zackit
    Feb 12, 2021 at 18:15

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