AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
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Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology

The Museum of Comparative Zoology was founded by Louis Agassiz
Established 1859
Location 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Type Private Academic Institution

The Museum of Comparative Zoology

Overview of MCZ Ant Collection

Dedicated to the memory of William Morton Wheeler who worked here from 1908 until his death in 1938, this is an important collection of more than 3,500 primary ant types from all over the world. Housing more than 1.5 million mounted ant specimens, this ant collection has been built up over the years by William Morten Wheeler, William Mann, Neil Weber, William Brown, E.O. Wilson, Stefan Cover, Gary Alpert and many other myrmecologists.

MCZ Alcohol Collection of Ants

The MCZ maintains an alcohol collection of ants. Ants are stored in 100% alcohol at -20 degrees Fahrenheit in Sarstedt vials with 0-ring gaskets. Archival specimens are stored in -80 degrees Fahrenheit in a cryogenic facility.

Montage Imaging System

Leica Application Suite (LAS) software and a Leica MZ16 stereomicroscope with autofocus and a Leica DCF420 digital camera is the basis of the imaging system. The microscope accessories include a Leica Dome Light, a carriage shift so that the microscope can be used for specimen identification as well as imaging.


The databasing of the ant specimens is an ongoing, long-term project. Presently, less than half of the ants in the collection are databased. Many type specimens and some non-type specimen records include automontage images.

Search the MCZ database [1].