Science  22 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5563, pp. 2183
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5563.2183a

This tubby ant may look like she swallowed a marble, but she's actually packed with food critical to her colony's survival. Some Australian honey pot ants serve as living larders. Stuffed to bursting with sugary fluid, the ants dangle from the ceiling of a dark chamber, and their nestmates occasionally tap them like a keg of beer. Researchers looking for more information on ant habits, taxonomy, anatomy, distribution, and conservation should visit Antbase, a portal maintained by myrmecologist Donat Agosti of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Among the eight databases accessible from the site is a gallery teeming with more than 800 ant images, including representatives from 60% of the world's subfamilies. If you're digging for ant literature, try the bibliography of taxonomic works that stretches back to 1758, or follow a link to FORMIS, a broader collection highlighting some 30,000 references. For questions on nomenclature, the Hymenoptera Name Server from Ohio State University lists more than 100,000 valid scientific names and superseded synonyms. There's also a roster of 152 threatened species compiled by the World Conservation Union. Features from the museum itself include an anatomical primer, a gallery of panoramic images from lush ant habitats in Brazil, and a cheeky slide show on honey pot ants and the humans who eat them.

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