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The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:36 am
by AntsDakota
I have created this topic in hopes of lessening confusion with vocabulary used by more advanced ant keepers to newcomers. I hope it is useful.

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:45 am
by AntsDakota
Ant Taxonomy and Myrmecology

Myrmecology- The study of ants.

Taxonomy- Taxonomy is classifying organisms into specific categories (family, genus, species, etc.) to bring order to the chaos of so many common names in so many different languages for one organism.

Levels of classification-

Subfamily (optional, used commonly in ants)
Subspecies (optional)

What I am describing is commonly referred to as an organism's 'scientific name'. The name consists of the organism's genus and then species. For example- Lasius (genus) niger (species). The genus is always capitalized, and the species is lower case. A proper scientific name is always italicized.

Formicinae- The family in which all ants are included. It is in the order Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, ants)

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:56 am
by AntsDakota
Ant Colony Structure/Castes

Queen- The queen is the most important member of an ant colony, due to the fact that she is the only member who lays eggs. Queens can be identified by their large abdomens (back section) and thoraxes (mid section). Most queens are noticeably larger than their workers.

Polygyne- If an ant species is considered polygynous, then it will tolerate multiple queens in the same colony. This can be beneficial, as the colony has a better chance at not loosing all its queens (if the queen dies, the colony dies).

Monogyne- Monogynous ant species only tolerate one queen per nest. Their queens will fight to the death at or soon after contact.

Pleometrosis- In pleometrophic species, queens will found a colony together, yet will kill each other once workers arrive. DO NOT MISTAKE THIS FOR POLYGYNE!

Worker- Workers comprise the majority of an ant colony. They forage for food, care for young and queen, and carry out nest maintenance. All workers are female.

Nanitic- These are the queen's first set of workers. There are usually between one to ten. Nanitics are smaller and less well built than normal workers.

Minor- Minors are the smallest worker caste. They comprise the majority of worker population, and fulfill every task described in 'worker'.

Major and Supermajor- These workers are very large compared to their minor sisters, and have huge heads. They are specialized in foraging, colony defense, and lifting heavy objects. Only polymorphic species have them.

Polymorphism- Species which have majors and supermajors are considered polymorphic.

Monomorphism- In monomorphic colonies, only minor workers are present.

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:37 pm
by AntsDakota
The Ant Life Cycle/Reproduction

Brood- Ant young. They are dependent on workers for survival and transportation.

Egg- The first life stage which is laid by the queen. It is where the zygote cell develops into a larvae.

Larvae- The wormlike stage in which the ant reaches full size. Comparable to the butterfly caterpillar and fly maggot.

Pupae- Where the larva transforms into an adult worker. In some species, they are naked (looking like a white curled up ant) or have a cocoon. Comparable to the butterfly chrysalis.

Alate- Winged reproductive. They are produced every year to participate in nuptial flights. Females will one day become queens.

Nuptial flight- Every year, elates of the same species swarm out of the nest and mate in the air. Males die shortly after, as it is their sole purpose while females drop to the ground to become dealates and search for a suitable place to found a colony. This is when ant keepers catch them. Nuptial flights often occur just after a rain storm.

Dealate- A young queen in search of a new nest sight.

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:46 pm
by AntsDakota
The Founding of a Colony

Claustral cell- The small chamber in which a queen raises her colony.

Fully Claustral- The queens of these species seal themselves off and live solely on their wing muscle stores until their first workers arrive. It is unnecessary to feed them during the founding process.

Semi-Claustral- These queens leave their claustral cell to forage, as they don’t have enough wing muscle stores to last through the founding stage. Feeding is necessary.

Parasitic- Parasitic queens search cannot found a colony on their own. Instead, they need a host colony in order to found a colony. They penetrate the host nest, kill their queen, and assume her pheromone identity and lays eggs in the host colony, assuming the role as queen. You will need to provide callow (newly hatched and white) host workers for her, as they will not attack the queen.

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:50 pm
by AntsDakota
Ant Keeping

Formicarium- Another name for an ant farm.

Test tube setup- A test tube partially filled with water, with a piece of cotton blocking of the water (yet it makes the cotton damp) and a chamber above that. This is the recommended method of founding a colony.

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:08 pm
by AntsDakota
Ant Anatomy

Head- Front section of which the mandibles and antennae are attached. Location of the eyes and brain.

Thorax- Mid section. It is where the legs are attached.

Abdomen- Back section. It contains the stomach, heart, intestine, excretory system, and ovaries.

Petiole- The bridge between the thorax and abdomen.

Antennae- The ant’s ‘feelers’. They help the ant find its way around, and detect pheromones.

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:18 pm
by antnest8
Wow amazing work AntsDakota!

Re: The Ant Dictionary For Newcomers

Posted: Thu May 21, 2020 8:20 am
by BwaltonSketch
Thank you for this it was very helpful :D