The integument is classified by shape, color, pubesence, and pilosity. The shape of the integument varies both with the species and the caste. The color of ants range from black to brown to red to yellow to several variations on metalic. The colors can appear shinny or opaque. The coloring on ants is not generally patterned, however when it is, the pattern exists mainly on the abdomen. In the cases where the ant is colored, the appendages are usually paler than the trunk.
Pubesence refers to the small hairs you can see covering the ants body, and pilosity refers to the longer hairs, generally used for tactile perception, however they also play a role in development in aiding the removal of the pupal or larval skin. The strigil, or hairs, of an ant take diverse shape and are often quite well designed for specific tasks. For example, strigil of several desert species are used for cleaning the sand from their limbs and bodies. In stark contrast to the adaptation of the desert species, the ants of the genus Basiceros have hairs with thick club-like ends designed especially for maintaining a camouflaging cloak of dirt around them. Until 1985, when the secret of Basiceros' was unveiled, the genus was thought to be exceedingly rare. After the trick was figured out, however, the phantom ant was soon discovered to have fairly large numbers.
The integument is comprised of three layers: the epicuticle, the procuticle, and the epidermis. The epicuticle is a thin outer layer, somewhat analogous to the cuticle of the plant leaf, and is responsible for waterproofing. The procuticle thicker that the epicuticle and is largely responsible for the structural integrity of the integument. With in the procuticle strands of chitin and proteins are woven in a cris-cross pattern, providing for both strength and flexibility. The epidermis is comprised of a single layer of secretory cells below the procuticle. The muscles of the ant are attached directly to the integument.
The integument also houses the spiracles and many of the pheromone excretion and sensory apparatus. Ants have a total of either eight or nine spiracles, the terminal openings of the tracheae through which the ants transport gasses. Most spiracles are hidden by a protective cover.