AntWeb's New Feature That Allows You To Filter By Queens And Males!
For a considerably long time, Antweb has been an incredible resource for those interested in ants. Antweb provides an in-depth catalogue of scientific specimens of ants from around the world.
Myself and others in the community have utilised these images of specimens to help identify ants rather than peruse all the literature filled with complex anatomical jargon . One issue that using these images has is that it is often very difficult to identify drones (males) and queens as the specimens are primarily workers. We often need to make inferences about what we expect the queen to look like based of the workers but in reality the queens can look quite different from the workers.
Antweb today has revealed a new feature that will allow people to see images of the queens and male ants! It's not too complicated to use and is accessible by all members of the public. For example, if you have a male ant from Africa that you want to identify to genus, there is no key for just the males but here is how you can use Ant Web's new tool.
Go to the Afrotropical Bioregion, select images of genera, and then select view male.
The system is by no means perfect but is definitely an exciting push in the right direction. If you are wanting to identify down to species level I would expect for now this is still going to remain quite a challenge as the system only has images of specimens that have been collected and catalogued. Queens and males are substantially less common than workers so evidently there will be less specimens of these ants in collections.
I'm personally a huge fan of antweb and their tireless work for the sake of science and the community of ant enthusiasts across the globe. I highly recommend checking the site out if you haven't before. You can learn a lot through the resources made available by this large collaborative project.