Rules & Requirements for Asking for Identification of Ant Species

Help with identifying the species your ants

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Rules & Requirements for Asking for Identification of Ant Species

Post: # 1897Post antscanada
Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:50 am

Greetings ACAF,

Welcome to the Ant Species Identification Center - a place where we can help you determine what species of ant you may have. However we must inform all those wandering into this area of the forum, of the rules and requirements when asking what species of ant you may have.

All we ask are three things in order to identify your ant species:

1) We require a closeup, clear photo of the ant. If possible a camera with Macro setting is the most preferred. For some ant species to be identified it requires an examination of some very minute details like the situation of hairs, shapes of body parts, and for some species an examination under a microscope of internal anatomy! Blurry photos or photos where you cannot see clear details of the ant cannot be used to identify your ant properly.

2) We also require the locality (city/region/country) and date that your ant was caught. The place from which the ant was caught and the date (i.e. date of the nuptial flight from which she had mated before you captured her) gives us clues as to what species she is.

3) Body length in mm and other visual or behavioural characteristics you can provide can give us a good idea as to what species she is, if she looks like she can be several different potential species.

4) Helpful to provide city/region/country and date in the title of the post. So rather than sift through all the ID requests, those who have some knowledge in doing so can quickly see where they can be most effective in offering help. Typically one's ability to identify queens is localized to areas where he/she has lived.

Without these above requirements it is difficult to properly identify your ants, and people will probably end up asking for the three above requirements if you do not provide them initially.

Please feel free to also watch this tutorial on Ant Taxonomy which you may find super helpful (please excuse and forgive my gross "juvenile" outfit. :lol: It was filmed 6 yrs ago):

Thanks, everyone! :D
Ant Love Forever.

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Re: Rules & Requirements for Asking for Identification of Ant Species

Post: # 21844Post BleedingRaindrops
Sat May 27, 2017 12:06 pm

5 simple steps to taking really awesome ant photos:

Step 1: Background
You need high contrast, to help see the outline of the ant. I prefer paper towels, as they are readily available in most homes, and provide a brilliant contrast for most ants. They also help reflect a lot of light, and have a wonderfully textured surface to help spot the ideal focus point on your camera.

Step 2: Lighting
Back lighting is best for ants. Their slightly translucent bodies reflect or transmit light differently in different spots, and using a light source behind the ant you are photographing allows the light to fully illuminate every aspect of them, especially if you have used a good contrasting background.

Natural light is better than incandescent. If you have an open window with a table near it, this will be the ideal location to take good pictures from. I always photograph my ants in the afternoon when the sun is high so that I can use natural light through the window only.

Step 3: Stability
A mounted tripod is best, but lacking that you can simply place your forearms or wrists (the closer to your hands the better) on a solid, stable surface near the ant you are photographing. This will allow you to use bone support, so your muscles are not holding the camera. Muscles tire, and shake. Bones do not. A proper, stable support for the camera will minimize shake, and therefor motion blur.

Step 4: Lens
You can get a cheap, clip on macro lens online to really enhance your photos. This step is not necessary if you follow everything else, but it can allow your phone or camera the extra magnification power it needs to take some really close up shots.

Step 5: Focus
This is what it's all about. To take really sharp photos your subject needs to be in focus, and with all those important details being so small, you need really fine focus. The texture of your background and the added power of a macro lens if you have one will really help with this, but the most important detail is distance. We're taking photos of ants here, so you'll want to be really close to allow the camera to pick up the small details. 4-10 inches away from your subject is best, depending on her size.

Next, you need to master the zoom feature.

If you have an android, go into the settings menu on your camera app and set mode to pro, then select the zoom function from the main camera screen and set it to manual. The latest update will enlarge the image for finer focus.
If you have an apple it should be similar instructions but I don't use Apple products so I can't be certain. Apple tends to have better cameras anyway.
If your phone does not already have a professional level camera app, there are several you can download for free. I recommend ProShot.

If you've done all five steps correctly, you should have some fairly decent shots (at least good enough for identification) and you can move on to cropping out the unimportant bits of the image. Websites like to shrink images to fit the page so removing as much unnecessary data as possible will help keep the important bits in focus when you post the photos.

Best of luck. Ant Love Forever.
Ants kept
Nylanderia sp.
Camponotus sp.
Paratrechina Longicornis
Pheidole sp.


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