A University of Liverpool study of ants across three continents has revealed that their colour and size is strongly influenced by their environment， and that the dominant1 colour and average body size can change f will cope with rising global temperatures. Ants are ectotherms and so rely on the temperature of their surrounding environment to control their metabolic2 studies from individual locations or single species have found that larger bodied ectotherms with dark colouration do well in cold places. Large bodies retain heat whilst dark， these two traits are highly beneficial as they allow ectothermic individuals to forage3 and remain active for longer even under cool conditions.Researchers at the University39;s School of Environmental Sciences wanted to test whether these ideas of ectotherm thermoregulation held across species and at large geographic4 on the abundance， body size and colour of ants on 14 different mountains from locations in South Africa， Some of the sites were sampled repeatedly for up to seven years. This diversity of elevations5 and latitudes6 provided a huge range of external ambient temperatures .They found that the colder the external temperature is， the larger and darker ants were， and vice7 versa. Consequently， of ants in sites closer to the South Pole or near the tops of mountains， where it was colder， would tend to be dominated by dark and large bodied ants. In warmer places the ant species were smaller and lighter8 in colour.They also found that this effect depended on the amount of UV-B radiation present at the sites. Melanin， the pigment9 which makes ants darker， also protects against harmful UV- desert to be dark in order to counter the extremely high UV-B radiation. Ordinarily， the ants here should have been pale to reflect the harsh desert sun.