IMAGES: Meet the Ants

Science  06 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5659, pp. 739
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5659.739c

Identifying an ant specimen can be tricky even for experts, because field guides are scarce and the original species descriptions are often buried in obscure journals. This pair of sites can help everyone from entomologists to backyard naturalists put a name to a bug. AntWeb features an identification guide for all of the roughly 270 ant species in California as well as some Madagascar species. The growing taxonomic trove curated by Brian Fisher of the California Academy of Sciences and colleagues also profiles all of the ant genera in the world. Visitors can create a virtual mug book of specimens, lining up photos of different species, genera, or families. Ants of Costa Rica covers more than 400 species from this ant-rich country. Along with tips on identification, creator John Longino of Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, tucked in information about each species' natural history and distribution. The site also includes keys and discussions of taxonomically troublesome groups.

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