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AntWiki: The Ants --- Online

For more than fifty years Rüdiger Wehner and his collaborators have studied how Cataglyphis forage and navigate. Wehner and his collaborators have revealed how these ants use polarized light in the sky, the Earth’s magnetic field, wind direction, a step counter, panoramic “snapshots” of landmarks and more to successfully locate a small, unadorned nest-entrance in the ground. "Desert Navigator" provides a lively and lucid account of the remarkable skills of these charismatic desert dwellers, the experiments that revealed how they solve complex navigation problems, and a personal narrative of how this work progressed over more than 50 years of field research.


In Army Ants we see how these insects play a crucial role in promoting and sustaining the biodiversity of tropical ecosystems. The ants help keep prey communities in check while also providing nutrition for other animals. Many species depend on army ants for survival, including a multitude of social parasites, swarm-following birds, and flies. And while their hunting behavior, and the rules that govern it, are clearly impressive, army ants display collective behavior in other ways that are no less dazzling. They build living nests, called bivouacs, using their bodies to protect the queen and larvae. The ants can even construct bridges over open space or obstacles by linking to one another using their feet. These incredible feats happen without central coordination. They are the result of local interactions—self-organization that benefits the society at large.

Through observations, stories, and stunning images, Daniel Kronauer brings these fascinating creatures to life. Army ants may be small, but their collective intelligence and impact on their environment are anything but.


  • Guide Madagascar.jpg
    Ants of Madagascar: A Guide to the 62 Genera. Brian Fisher and Christian Peeters have published a wonderful guide to the fascinating Madagascar ant fauna. Brian Fisher began studying ants in Madagascar in 1993 and Christian Peeters in 2004. Madagascar has over 1300 ant species, the result of > 80 million years of isolation from continental Africa and Asia. This guide covers their natural history and ecology, distribution patterns, and how to identify specimens to genera. Two of the most aggressive ant groups found in Africa and Asia, army ants (Aenictus and Dorylus) and arboreal weaver ants (Oecophylla and Polyrhachis) are absent in Madagascar, and this allowed striking radiation of other lineages. You can read more about this guide on the Myrmecological News blog.


  • La formiche del Veneto. The ants of Veneto. Antonio Scupola (WBA). A field guide for the ants of Veneto, Italy. This excellent book not only provides information that can be useful to a naturalist interested in ants, it is also a great resource for biologists and myrmecologists that want to study ants in this region of Italy. The book includes general information about ant morphology and biology, keys (in Italian and English) and species accounts.


  • Pinkalski et al. (2017) have discovered that coffee leaves are able to take up nitrogen from ant faecal droplets of Oecophylla smaragdina left on the leaf surfaces. The abundance of ant foragers on tropical vegetation suggests if this mechanism of foliar nitrogen uptake operates across many plants species, it could represent a highly significant provider of key nutrients for plants


November, 2016

  • An AntWiki Milestone
    AntWiki recently added its 600th identification key! While many of these are taken straight from the literature, a number have been updated to include recently described taxa, some of these taxa being keyed for the first time. AntWiki editors are now adding images to these keys as well adding new keys and updating existing keys.

August, 2016

  • Ants of Africa cover.jpg
    Brian Fisher and Barry Bolton's just published Ants of Africa and Madagascar is a must-have for anyone interested in the biology and identification of ants, even those never intending to visit Africa or Madagascar. It sets a new standard for regional treatments, bringing together a vast amount of information and illustrations in a very accessible and well presented format. Congratulations to both on pulling off such a huge task.
  • Marek Borowiec has just published his generic revision of the ant subfamily Dorylinae. He recognizes 28 genera (27 extant and 1 extinct), an increase from 20 in the previous classification scheme. Two new genera are proposed, 8 are removed from synonymy and 7 are placed in synonymy. Of the 805 species in the subfamily, 175 are transferred to new genera. These transfers include Cerapachys species being scattered across 9 genera while Sphinctomyrmex species are placed in 3 different genera. A superbly illustrated key to genera is included, along with full illustrations for each genus together with descriptions, biological notes, distribution maps and species lists. Overall it is an extremely well done revision of a large and biologically diverse and interesting group of ants. Well done Marek!

July, 2016

June, 2016

  • Leptomyrmex has been puzzling from a biogeographic standpoint. Most extant species occur in Australia with a few found in Indonesia, New Guinea and New Caledonia (see Leptomyrmex species by Country). However, there is a 17 million year old fossil, Leptomyrmex neotropicus, known from Dominican amber. Is this an Australian group that somehow dispersed to Central America, or a Central American group that dispersed into Australia? We now know the answer. In a recent study by Brendon Boudinot and colleagues, a new species of Leptomyrmex, Leptomyrmex relictus, has been described from Brazil and the biogeography of the genus examined. And the answer? Leptomyrmex originated in the New World and found its way to Australia, where it has radiated since its arrival, and has almost gone extinct in its original homeland, where only a single extant species is known. Mystery solved.
  • The Ant Tree of Life (AToL) group are at it again. This time it's the subfamily Amblyoponinae that has received their attention. Phil Ward and Brian Fisher have just published a paper looking at the evolutionary history of the "dracula ants", a subfamily containing 10 genera and 133 species. The subfamily is famous for larval hemolymph feeding, a type of feeding where workers and queens feed on hemolymph from larvae within their colony. To see how this paper impacts species in your area, see the summary of changes.
  • It is with great sadness that we share that Rudy Kohout passed away last night (26 May) after a long illness. Rudy was not only an outstanding taxonomist and expert on Polyrhachis, but he and Eva (Rudy's wife) were very good friends to many and amazing people.

Stefan Cover notes that while was Rudi an outstanding myrmecologist who leaves behind an extraordinary body of valuable work, he was an even greater friend and colleague to us all. Rudi was a devoted and productive researcher. Our modern understanding of Polyrhachis, one of the most important ant genera in the Old World tropics, is founded almost entirely on his work. Rudi loved his ants, but he was also incredibly kind and generous to us, his somewhat less lovable human colleagues. I always enjoyed his visits to the MCZ - Rudi was one of the few who could come and stay as long as he liked. He was an engaging companion and an endless fund of good stories.

I will never forget his wonderful Czech accented Austalian English - we will never hear the likes of that again I’m sure!

From the entire ant community, Rest in peace our dear friend!

Rudy at the 2014 IUSSI meeting, Cairns, Australia.
Rudy, Eva Kohout, Simon Robson and Corrie Moreau.
Rudy, Eva and Steve Shattuck

May, 2016

  • Extensive Army Ant Collection at the University of Connecticut To Go On Parade. The Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection, housed at the University of Connecticut and containing more than two million specimens, will soon be widely accessible, thanks to a three-year, $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The University, in partnership with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, will curate, digitize and catalogue this collection and its associated materials which, in addition to the more than two million specimens of about 114 species of army ants, includes 92,000 specimens of guests representing 187 species, 5,000 Kodachrome slides and about 30 hours of digital videotape. One of the more noticeable products of the grant will be the installation of 4-foot replica army ants on the side of the collection facility building. See full details.

March, 2016

February, 2016

October, 2015

  • Some AntWiki statistics: 25,335 content pages; 102,612 uploaded files; 413,050 total edits; 20.2 million total page views. Some Google Analytics statistics (for the last month): 16,872 sessions; 11,109 users; 58,368 pages views; 3.46 pages per session; 3:50 minutes average session duration; users are from (top 6 countries in order) USA, Australia, Germany, Brazil, United Kingdom, India; 42% are return visitors who view (on average) 5 pages and send 6:20 minutes. Content statistics: 405 genera, 15,179 species and subspecies, 419 identification keys and 255 regional taxon lists. AntWiki has been a great adventure and continues to exceed our expectations. A very sincere thanks to our dedicated editors and growing audience for helping us achieve our first 20 million page views, and we hope to continue to provide useful information on the world's most important group of animals, the ants.

September, 2015

  • Students from this year's Ant Course have produced a series of videos showcasing three aspects of the course: learning about myrmecology, learning about ant natural history and learning research techniques. These are a great introduction to why we study ants.

August, 2015

  • The latest issue of Asian Myrmecology is now available. Asian Myrmecology is a peer-reviewed, yearly journal dedicated to the study of Asian ants. It publishes original refereed research papers on ants in or from Asia and covers all different areas of modern ant research, including Taxonomy, Biogeography & Distribution, Ecology, Ethology and Applied myrmecology. All papers are open access and can be freely downloaded.

July, 2015

  • Peeters, Heraty & Wiwatwitaya (2015) report the first known case of a eucharitid wasp parasitising a Diacamma species, Diacamma scalpratum.
  • Evan Economo, Benoit Guénard and the AntMaps team are pleased to announce the launch of AntMaps. AntMaps is an interactive tool to visualize geographic distributions of all ant species as well as aggregate diversity patterns. AntMaps is based on the Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) database, which aggregates records from over 8500 publications, plus museum and online databases, currently consisting of 1.6 million records in total. We hope you will find this new tool useful in your research.
  • Sociobiology is pleased to announce that the Special Issue on Taxonomy, Morphology and Phylogeny of Ants has now been published online, with open access. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the trust deposited by authors in this project, the hard work of the co-editors for this Special Issue, Rodrigo Feitosa, John Lattke and Ted Schultz, the Editors-in-chief of Sociobiology, and the work of the staff in the editorial office. We hope you find it interesting!

June, 2015

May, 2015