Ant and Related Entomology Terms

(terms restricted to the study of social insects; such as, ants and words that apply generally to entomology)

ant, ants
Social insect living in organized colonies; characteristically the males and fertile queen have wings during breeding season; wingless sterile females are the workers.

Ants run much of the terrestrial world as soil turners, channelers of energy, dominatrics of the insect fauna and yet receive only passing mention in textbooks on ecology.

They employ the most complex forms of chemical communication of any animals and their social organization provides an illuminating contrast to that of human beings, but not one biologist in a hundred can describe the life cycle of any species.

Ants are classified as a single family, the Formicidae, within the order Hymenoptera, which also includes the bees, wasps, sawflies, ichneumons (order of parasitic wasps whose larvae feed on other live insect larvae), and similar forms.

—Compiled excerpts from
The Ants by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson;
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press;
Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1990; pages 1-3.
Tropical birds of the family Formicariidae, which follow raiding swarms of army ants and feed on the prey stirred up by the ants.
Butterflies that follow the raiding swarms of army ants and feed on the droppings of antbirds.
antennal condyle
The narrowed, neck-like portion of the first antennal segment that connects to the head surface or referring to the appendage on the head of insects and crustaceans; usually, sensitive to touch and taste.
antennal fossa
The cavity or depression of the head into which the antenna is articulated.
Touching with the antennae.

The movement can serve as a sensory probe or as a tactile signal to another insect.

An ingrowth or other rigid process of the exoskeleton, typically used for muscle attachment.
appeasement substance
A secretion presented by a social parasite that reduces aggression in the host insect and aids the parasite's acceptance by the host colony.
Referring to a hair that runs parallel, or nearly parallel, to the body surface.
aril, elaiosome
A specialized nutritive attachment on ant-dispersed seeds.

Stimulated by the attractants, the ants transport the seeds to new locations, discard them after feeding on the elaiosomes, and so aid in the dispersal of the seeds.

army ant, legionary ant
A member of an ant species that shows both nomadic and group-predatory behavior.

In other words, the nest site is changed at relatively frequent intervals, in some cases daily, and the workers forage in groups.

A cushion-like pad located between the tarsal claws and constituting part of the pretarsus.

The tarsus is the foot of an insect; the one-segmented to five-segmented appendage attached to the tibia, or lower leg segment.

The production of male ants from unfertilized eggs.
The calling together of colony ant members for any communal activity.

Here are two additional word units that deal directly with "ants": formic- and myrmeco-.

Index of additional Scientific and Technological Topics.

Bibliography of Entomology or Insect Terms (The Ants).