Ant and Related Entomology Terms

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

carton nest (s) (noun), carton nests (pl)
A lodging created by ants: Ants transform large cavities in the soil and tree trunks by filling them with carton nests whose internal structure is partitioned and resembles a sponge. A carton nest consists of a cardboard-like substance made up of chewed plant material often mixed with soil, and made by certain insects for building nests.

The ant carton consists of particles of wood, dry vegetable material, and soil glued together with sugary secretions collected by the ants from aphids and other homopteran insects (bugs that pierce plant tissues and suck out the sap).

The fungal mycelium (loose network of delicate filaments hyphae or threadlike filaments that form the body of a fungus) grows through the walls of the carton which are strengthened by the symbiotic fungus which reinforces them in the same way that steel mesh or rods reinforce the walls of buildings.

—Compiled excerpts located in the section
"Ant-Fungus Symbioses" from The Ants by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson;
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press;
Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1990; page 607.
chain transport
The relaying of food from one ant worker to another one in the course of transporting it back to the nest.
claustral colony founding
The procedure during which ant queens, or royal pairs in the case of termites, seal themselves off in cells and rear the first generation of workers on nutrients obtained mostly or entirely from their own storage tissues, including fat bodies and histolysed wing muscles (dissolution and absorption of tissue).
Thickened; especially, toward the tip.
cleptobiosis, nest robbing
1. The relation in which one species of ants robs the food stores or scavenges in the refuse piles of another species, but does not nest in close association with it.
2. A widespread form of competitive exploitation in ants known as "robbing food" or "stealing food".
coefficient of relationship, coefficient of relatedness, degree of relatedness
The probability that a gene possessed by one individual is also possessed by another individual through common descent in the previous few generations.
A group of individuals, other than a single mated pair, which constructs nests or rears offspring in a cooperative manner; as opposed to aggregation.
colony fission, sociotomy
The multiplication of colonies by the departure of one or more reproductive forms, accompanied by groups of workers, from the parental nest, leaving behind comparable units to perpetuate the "parental" colony.

This mode is referred to occasionally as hesmosis in ant literature and sociotomy in termite literature. Swarming in honey bees can be regarded as a special form of colony fission.

colony odor
The odor found on the bodies of social insects which is peculiar to a given colony.

By smelling the colony odor of another member of the same species, an insect is able to determine whether it is a nest mate.

column raid
A raid conducted by army ants in branching columns, the termini (boundaries or limits) of which are headed by a relatively small group of workers laying chemical trails and capturing prey.
Symbiosis in which members of one species are benefited while those of the other species are neither benefited nor harmed.
compound nest
A nest containing colonies of two or more species of social insects, up to the point where the galleries of the nests anastomose (come together or open into each other) and the adults sometimes intermingle but the broods of the species are still kept separate.
Heart-shaped, as the outline of the head of an insect.
corpora allata
Paired endocrine organs located just behind the brain; the source of juvenile hormone.
Referring to a body surface that is wrinkled in appearance.

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).