Browse by letter: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Acheta domestica– scientific name of the species of cricket commonly used in the pet trade as a feeder insect. They are commonly fed by ant keepers to ants.
acrobat ant – ant belonging to the genus Crematogasternotorious for their heart shaped gasters, which bend over their heads and to the sides of their bodies when shooting formic acid for defense and attacking.
Adventures Among Ants – best-selling book on ants by highly acclaimed National Geographic writer and photographer Mark Moffet. The AntsCanada Ants Store interviewed Mark Moffet on The Amazing Ants of AntsCanadaYouTube channel regarding his book, experiences, career, and general thoughts.
alate– a reproductive male or female ant. They are born with wings. During nuptial flight they take to the air and mate. Males die shortly after mating, and females shed their wings becoming dealates and begin searching for a suitable location to found her colony as the queen.
allele– one of two or more forms of the DNA sequence of a particular gene.
alitrunk – name given to the mesosoma or the middle part of the body, or tagma, in ants. It bears the legs and in alates, the wings. In Apocrita Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), it consists of the three thoracic segments and the first abdominal segment (the propodeum). [See mesosoma]
Amazing Ants of AntsCanada – The popular YouTube Channel [Youtube.com/AntsCanada] created on July 14th, 2009 which eventually gave rise to The AntsCanada Ants Store in 2010. It is currently the highest suscribed ant-dedicated channel on the net, and has acquired international praise and viewership for its simplistic entertainment and education value. It is hosted by the President, Co-Founder/Owner, and Creative Director of The AntsCanada Ants Storeand holds frequent contests, draws, and interactive videos for its subscribers.
ant farm – the common name for a formicarium. The first commercially-sold formicarium was introduced around 1929 and patented in 1931 by Frank Austin, an inventor and professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Austin included painted or wooden scenes of palaces, farms, and other settings above the ground level, for a whimsical look. The creator of the company Uncle Milton Industries Inc took this concept and created the popular plastic ant farms incorporating the farm setting within it, which became a popular novelty product over many decades. Uncle Milton Industries Inc currently own the rights to the brand name “Ant Farm”, and have since sold millions of ant farms worldwide. These ant farm educational toys have yet to be accepted in the world of serious pet ant keeping as suitable, healthy, long-term homes for ant colonies [See also ant farm and Uncle Milton Industries Inc].
ant love– colloquial term coined by The AntsCanada Ants Store describing myrmecophilia, i.e. the love of ants.
ant woodlouse – a tiny blind, eyeless white crustacean that lives in ant nests and feeds on ant droppings and fungus. Its scientific name is Platyarthrus hoffmannseggiand is also known as a ‘white woodlouse’. They are only found in ant nests and rarely come above ground.
antenna (pl. antennae) – paired appendages used for sensing in arthropods
anterior– situated before or at the front of
AntsCanada – The commonly known nickname of the President/Co-Founder/Owner/Creative Director of The AntsCanada Ants Store, Mikey Bustos, and/or of The AntsCanada Ants Storeand team that runs it
AntsCanada Ants Store (AntsCanada.com) – You’re here! We are the world’s #1 leading innovators of pro ant keeping equipment, providing quality pet ant keeping products to ant lovers all over the world. Our clients also include producers of The Discovery Channel, schools/educational instutes, and museums. We also provide ant keepers with up-to-date information on caring for ants, ant biology, ecology, and promote bioliteracy and conservation. See the ABOUT US section of this website for more info. The store is a division ofBustos Entertainment Inc.
Antstore– a German-based online ant keeping store [Antstore.net] which sells a variety of standard formicaria and ant keeping products, as well as live ant colonies to Europen countries. It also hosts an online ant-related forum for ant keepers of various European languages, including English.
Antweb – an online [Antweb.org] catalogue of the world’s ant species organized regionally, and includes information, distribution data, and closeup photographs of preserved specimens. It is hosted by The California Academy of Sciencesand is run by curator and biologist Dr. Brian Fisher. Antweb is based in San Francisco, California and is funded from private donations and from grants from the National Science Foundation.
Antworks – a formicarial product manufactured by Uncle Milton Industries Inc which consists of an upright plastic enclosure containing a gel medium which acts as a venue for ants to dig tunnels and also nourishes worker ants for a short term. They are also known as gelfarms. The formula for the gel is derived from a NASA experiment and contains electrolytes for workers to stay alive. These ant farms like those of other ant products released by Uncle Milton Industries allow for mail-in ants (usually a Pogonomyrmex or Messorspecies) which are sent to the purchaser (just workers and no queen), upon receipt of the coupon enclosed with the ant farm. These gelfarms are for observing worker ants and their effectiveness in serious ant propagation is limited. Uncle Milton ant products have yet to be accepted by the serious ant keeping community as a proper home for the healthy, long term rearing of ant colonies. [See also gelfarm and Uncle Milton Industries Inc]
aphidicole– an animal that lives among aggregations of aphids
aphidicolous– describes an animal that lives among aggregations of aphids
aphids – any of numerous tiny soft-bodied insects of the family Aphididaeof worldwide distribution, that suck the sap from the stems and leaves of various plants, some developing wings when overcrowding occurs. Many species of ants farm aphids for the sweet secretions they excrete called honeydew.
Apocrita– the suborder of insects in the taxonomic order Hymenoptera that includes wasps, bees and ants, and consists of many families. This suborder includes the most advanced Hymenopterans and is distinguished from the Symphyta (another suborder within Hymenoptera) by the narrow “waist” (petiole) formed between the first two segments of the actual abdomen.
aposematism – most commonly known in the context of warning colouration, describes a family of anti-predator adaptations where a warning signal is associated with the unprofitability of a prey item to potential predators. The word originates from apo- meaning ‘away’ and sematicmeaning ‘sign/meaning’.
army ant – common name for over 200 ant species, in different lineages, due to their aggressive predatory foraging groups, known as “raids”, in which huge numbers of ants forage simultaneously over a certain area, attacking prey en masse. They are nomadic, i.e. do not construct permanent nests and move almost incessantly over the time it exists. It is also known as the legionary ant or “Marabunta”. Examples of army ants include those belonging to the genera Eciton in South America and Dorylusin Africa.
arthropod – an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda (from Greek arthron meaning “joint”, and podosmeaning “foot”, which together mean “jointed feet”), and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others.
Arthropoda – Phylum of arthropods, which include insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others. [See also arthropod]
autoclaved aerated cement (AAC)– a porous, cement material which is water absorbent and is often used to create formicaria, by way of carving tunnels and chambers into the cement. AAC and smilar material, is also known under other names such as Ytong and hebel brick.
autotroph– any organism capable of self-nourishment by using inorganic materials as a source of nutrients and using photosynthesis or chemosynthesis as a source of energy, as most plants and certain bacteria and protists
BIFA – Black Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis richteri
biologist– someone who studies the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena, esp. with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior.
biology– the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena, esp. with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior.
bivouac– in ants, it is an encampment made from improvised shelters, as seen in ants whose colonies are nomadic.
black ant – common name given to several dark-coloured ant species including Lasius niger and several other black species belonging to the genus Formica
bradymetabolism – refers to the lowered metabolic speed of an organism during a resting period, e.g. during hibernation or estivation.
brood– the young of an animal or a family of young, especially the young (as of a bird or insect) hatched or cared for at one time. In ants, it includes a colony’s eggs, larvae, and pupae.
brood boosting – a strategy used by ant keepers in which pupae (and sometimes eggs and larvae) are obtained from a mature colony (usually in the wild) and given to a queen in the founding stage of her colony in captivity. It is thought to increase the chances of captive colony success, but it involves the risk of introducing disease between colonies and it sometimes is unsuccessful at helping queens along, resulting in cannibalism or death of the pupae. Brood boosting is often carrried out for queens that have trouble founding their first set of workers, but is also often used to have a fledging colony grow much quicker. Brood boosting is done using young from the same species as the queen/colony being boosted, or at least within the same genus.
camouflage– concealment by some means that alters or obscures the appearance, in insects by way of exoskeleton markings, body shapes, and movements
carnivore– animal which eats meat or invertebrates
carpenter ants – common name for a number of species of ants that create nests in wood, belonging to the genus Camponotus. They are often regarded as domestic pests for this reason. These ants do not eat the wood like termites, but rather excavate by tearing away small pieces of wood fibre. They are a relatively larger species of ant and polymorphic.
caste– a specialized level in a colony of social insects, such as ants, in which the members (such as the queen, majors, media, and minors) carry out a specific function.
cf.– abbreviation of the Latin “confer” meaning “compare to”. This is used to refer a specimen to a known species even though it may not be of that species. It is most often used when an identification is not confirmed.
chitin– a main component in the exoskeleton of arthropods. Its chemical formula is (C8H13O5N)n and it is a long-chain polymer of a N-acetylglucosamine, a derivative of glucose, and is found in many places throughout the natural world.
citronella ant – common name for a yellow-coloured ant species that generally belong to the genera Acanthomyops or Lasius (e.g. Lasius claviger), that emit a citronella-smelling odour. They are generally a social parasitic species [See also social parasite]
claustral cell– the fully or partially enclosed living quarters assumed by a newly mated queen ant, where a young colony of first-born workers (nanitics) is reared by the queen. In fully-claustral species of ants it is a chamber (usually underground or in wood) that is completely sealed off, and the queen never leaves this chamber. As the colony expands, the workers pioneer and extend the living space of the claustral cell by excavating tunnels, which eventually gives rise to a full ant nest.
cocoon – a pupal casing made by moths, caterpillars and other insect larvae. In ants, the cocoon is created through silk from the larva. In some species the spinning of a cocoon is facilitated by the workers who provide the larvae debris as a framework for the pupating larvae to spin their cocoon. Ants belonging to the genus Formica are known to bury the mature larvae with grains of dirt until the larvae have spun their cocoon. Not all ant species spin cocoons for pupation, and instead have naked pupae, as seen in ants belonging to the genera Myrmica, Pogonomyrmex, and Tetramorium, for instance.
colony– a group of the same type of animal or plant living or growing together, esp in large numbers; a family of ants living together in a nest or set of nests
compound eye– an arthropod eye subdivided into many individual, light-receptive elements, each including a lens, a transmitting apparatus, and retinal cells
cork nest– a type of formicarium with pre-made tunnels and chambers carved out of cork which absorbs water for nest hydration
cosmopolitan– in ecology, describes growing or occurring in many parts of the world; widely distributed.
coxa (pl. coxae) – the segment that connects the leg to the thorax
crop – social stomach where food is initially stored and processed before being fed to other members of the colony via mouth-to-mouth transfer [See also trophallaxis]
cryptic– fitted for concealing; serving to camouflage
cuticula– the invertebrate cuticle, a multi-layered structure outside the epidermis of many invertebrates, notably roundworms and arthropods, in which it forms an exoskeleton. The main structural component of arthropod cuticle is chitin, a polysaccharide composed of N-acetylglucosamine units, together with proteins, lipids, and catecholamines.
dearth– an inadequate amount, esp of food; scarcity
decomposer– any organism in a community, such as a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down dead tissue enabling the constituents to be recycled to the environment
dichthadiiform queen – the unique type of queen of army ants belonging to the subfamilies Aenictinae, Ecitoninae, and Dorylinae.
dimorphism – in biology occurs when there are two phenotypes that exist in the same population of a species, i.e. the occurrence of two clear forms or morphs. In ants it is usually more confined to the worker cast in this way: A polymorphic species in which the minors and majors still exist but the medias disappeared. E.g. most Pheidole species. Some Pheidolespecies have a supermajor cast alongside a major and a minor caste and are called trimorphic.
diploid– A cell or an organism having two sets of chromosomes in somatic cells. In ants, all female ants are diploid, containing twice the number of chromosomes of males ants. The number of chromosomes determines ant sex, therefore an unmated queen can actually give birth to young, but because she would lack a male’s sperm to complete the full number of chromosomes and create diploid females, the young would all be haploid, and be males.
dirt nest– formicarium containing soil, sand, or other similar medium for digging
ditritivore – also known as detritus feeders or saprophages, are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing organic matter). By doing so, they contribute to decomposition and the nutrient cycles [See also decomposer, heterotroph, and saprophagy].
Dolichoderinae– subfamily of ants with genera that use chemical warfare to their advantage. They are either odorous or spraying venom as a projectile weapon. They also all have one waist segment, and lack any hairs along the tip of their gaster.
dorsal– of, pertaining to, or situated at the back, or dorsum.
dulosis – the process of stealing slave-pupae and the whole way of life that accompanies it. When the pupae eclose in the nest they are “used” as slaves for the upkeeping of the nest, care of the larvae, nest construction, defence, etc. Dulosis can be observed in species like Polyergus rufescens, Strongylognathus alpinus, and Harpagoxenus sublaevis.
eclose – the act of emerging from the pupal stage [See also pupa]
ectoparasite– a parasite that lives on or in the skin but not within the body. Ants have a variety of known ectoparasites, most of which are mites. Infestation with an ectoparasite is called an ectoparasitosis.
ectothermy– the process of active thermoregulation (the regulation of body temperature) by an organism by moving to areas of varying temperatures, e.g. a lizard basking in the sun to warm up or retreating to shade or water to cool off
endoparasite – A parasite, such as a tapeworm, that lives within another organism. Though largely unexplored, ants do have some known endoparasites, including a type of tachinid Strongygaster globula the maggot of which lives inside a young Lasius queen host, stops her egg laying, and eventually exits the queen without killing her. Here the maggot is cared for by the queen while it pupates. The queen dies shortly after and the adult fly emerges from the cocoon approximately 15 days after pupation, exiting the nest. In fact,The AntsCanada Ants Storeis one of the first to document this entire process (in a YouTube video). Infestation with an endoparasite is called an endoparasitosis.
entomologist– someone who studies insects
entomology– the scientific study of insects
epicuticle– the waxy film that coats the bodies of ants
epinotum– former term for propodeum
ergate– a worker
ergatoid– refers to a worker-like individual that can be either a male or a female
eudulosis – the process where a social parasite colony adopts a slave colony in total, i.e. the slave queen is killed in the process. Eudulosis can be observed in Formica (Coptoformica) naefi with its host Formica (Serviformica) sp..
estivation– a state of dormancy achieved by organisms in most cases in response to low food/water availability and high temperature.
exoskeleton– an external skeleton that supports and protects an animal’s body
exterior– pertaining to or connected with what is outside
extreme workerless inquiline – workerless inquiline (permanent social parasite without workers) that has undergone severe morphological adaptations like pupoïd males, degeneration of the mouthparts and some glands, development of some glands used for attracting host-workers. Examples of extreme workerless inquilines include the species Anergates atratulus aka Anergates friedlandi, Tetramorium microgyna, Tetramorium parasiticum, Pheidole neokohli, Pheidole acutidens, and Pheidole argentina. The species of Teleutomyrmex falls under this category but they also fall under thr group of ‘social ectoparasites’. [See also inquiline, workerless inquiline, and social ectoparasite]
flagellum (pl. flagella) – the part of the antenna beyond the elongated basal segment, or scape. Primitively, it has 11 segments in females and 12 in males, but in many ant genera these numbers of segments are reduced in at least the females.
fluon– a chemical known as Polytetrafluoroethylene. In ant keeping, the liquid form is used as a barrier keeping ants from escaping open top outworlds. It is sometimes refered to as PTFE or the brand name ‘insect-a-slip’.
fire ant – a variety of stinging ants with over 280 species worldwide belonging to the genus Solenopsis. Also, another stinging species native to Europe (but invasive in other parts of the world) Myrmica rubrais sometimes referred to as the European fire ant.
forage– to wander in search of food or provisions
formic acid– also called methanoic acid, it is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in bee and ant venom, used primarily for attacking and defense. There are some species which lack the ability to spray it, however these species usually have stingers.
formicarium (pl. formicaria) – the technical term for an enclosure that acts as a nest for an ant colony, designed for housing ants for the purposes of observation or study. The first commercially-sold formicarium was introduced around 1929 and patented in 1931 by Frank Austin, an inventor and professor at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Austin included painted or wooden scenes of palaces, farms, and other settings above the ground level, for a whimsical look. They are more commonly called ant farms [See also ant farm].
Formicidae– the taxonomic family to which ants belong
Formicinae– a subfamily of ants with genera whose members have only one waist segment, and produce chemicals like formic acid. They lack a stinger.
founding chamber – the fully or partially enclosed living quarters assumed by a newly mated queen ant, where a young colony of first-born workers (nanitics) is reared by the queen. In fully-claustral species of ants it is a chamber (usually underground or in wood) that is completely sealed off, and the queen never leaves this chamber. As the colony expands, the workers pioneer and extend the living space of the founding chamber by excavating tunnels, which eventually gives rise to a full ant nest. [See also claustral cell]
fully-claustral– describes a queen who seals herself up entirely in a chamber during the initial stages of colony founding. She fasts and lives off energy stored in her wing muscles until her first workers arrive.
fungal grower – ant species which specialize on feeding from fungus grown in their nest reared from organic material, e.g. pieces of plant matter as seen in leaf-cutter ants belonging to the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. The type of material gathered above ground to culture their fungal gardens depends on the species. There is even a fungal grower species which cultures fungal gardens from collected caterpillar droppings.
fungivore– animal which eats fungus
ganglion (pl. ganglia) – a mass of nerve tissue that controls various functions like movement. In insects, it typically runs down the center of the body, which is why many insects are still capable of movement even if they are physically split in half or decapitated.
gaster– the metasoma or sometimes called abdomen. However, because ants along with wasps and bees are distinguished from other insects including those belonging to the other suborder (Symphyta) within Hymenoptera, by the narrow “waist” (petiole) formed between the first two segments of the actual abdomen (the first abdominal segment is fused to the thorax, and is called the propodeum), it is general practice, when discussing the body of an ant, wasp, or bee in a technical sense, to refer to the mesosoma and metasoma (or “gaster”) rather than the “thorax” and “abdomen,” respectively.
gelfarm – a toy antfarm which uses a gel medium for the ants to dig and also provides worker ants sustenance. The formula for the gel is derived from a NASA experiment and contains electrolytes for workers to stay alive. It was released by a company called Uncle Milton Industries Inc. under the product name Antworks. The gelfarms are sold commercially worldwide as a novelty product, but have yet to be accepted in the pro-ant keeping global community as a long-term, healthy habitat for housing whole ant colonies. Its design caters to keeping worker ants belonging to Pogonomyrmex or Messor (which can be ordered in the mail from the company) alive and housed for the length of their lifespans. [See also Antworks and Uncle Milton Industries Inc]
gemmae (sing. gemma) – defined by Holldobler and Wilson in The Superorganism 2009 as a pair of small, club-like thoracic appendages covered with sensory hairs richly endowed with exocrine cells. The function of these glands is not known, but it is likely that they secrete chemical functions inducing the mutilation process. These glandular organs are located approximately where wings would be in an alate queen. They are found on Diacamma ponerine ants. In these ants, when workers eclose in a nest with an established and fertile reproductive female (known as the gamergate), their nestmates immediately sever the gemmae. Amputation of the gemmae evidently causes phychological and morphological changes in the central nervous system that directs the transition from aggressive to timid behavior. [See also gamergate]
genotype– the genetic constitution of a cell, an organism, or an individual (i.e. the specific allele makeup of the individual) usually with reference to a specific character under consideration.
genus (pl. genera) – a low-level taxonomic rank used in the classification of living and fossil organisms. In a scientific name it precedes the species. Examples of genera are Camponotus, Crematogaster, Myrmica, Lasius, and Formica.
granivore– animal that feeds on grains, nuts, and seeds
gynandromorph – an organism that contains both male and female characteristics. The term gynandromorph, from Greek “gyne” female and “andro” male, is mainly used in the field of Lepidopterology (butterfly/moth study) or entomology (all insects). Gynandromorphism has been observed in ant species like Myrmica rubrawhere very isolated ants appeared to have both male and female parts.
gyne– a queen ant
Habitat Nest – the signature nest of The AntsCanada Ants Store, it is an original formicarial product pioneered, engineered, and invented by The AntsCanada Ants Store in 2009. The Habitat Nest’s solid, cement-type base contains pre-excavated chambers and tunnels. The inside of the Habitat Nests possess properties of soil, lined with a gravel layer as well as a state-of-the-art water absorbent layer developed by The AntsCanada Ants Store known as Soakstone©. This dual layer within the habitat nests allows the colonies to be completely hydrated while allowing the ants to customize their living space without being able to burrow away from the glass. It is 100% mold resistant and is the most naturalistic formicarium available in the pet trade today. In 2010, The AntsCanada Habitat Nests were used to film a nature documentary with ants for The Discovery Channel.
hamulus (pl. hamuli) – hooks on the front side of the hind-wing between the fore and hind wings of an adult ant alate, wasp, bee, or similar insect.
haploid– A cell or an organism having half the number of chromosomes in somatic cells. In ants, all male ants are haploid, containing half the number of chromosomes of females ants (i.e. workers and queens). The number of chromosomes determines ant sex, therefore an unmated queen can actually give birth to young, but because she would lack a male’s sperm to complete the full number of chromosomes and create diploid females, the young would all be haploid, and be males.
harvester ant – common name given to ant species that gather grains and seeds (i.e. granivorous), typically belonging to genera like Pogonomyrmex and Messor
hebel brick– a porous, cement material which is water absorbent and is often used to create formicaria, by way of carving tunnels and chambers into the cement. Hebel brick, and smilar material, is also known under other names such as autoclaved aerated cement (AAC) and Ytong.
hemolymph– a fluid in the body cavities and tissues of invertebrates, in arthropods functioning as blood.
heterotroph– an organism requiring organic compounds for its principal source of food, e.g. animals and fungi
herbivore– animal which eats plants or plant matter
hibernation– a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals, characterized by lower body temperature, slower breathing, and lower metabolic rate. Hibernating animals conserve food, especially during winter when food is short, tapping energy reserves, body fat, at a slow rate.
histogenesis – the process of growth by the remaining cells in the transforming insect within a pupa, using the nutrients from the broken down larva that resulted from histolysis. [See also histolysis]
histolysis – the process of excreting digestive juices while inside the pupa, to destroy much of the larva’s body, leaving a few cells intact and providing the nutrients needed for histogenesis [See also histogenesis]. It also is the process where the flight-muscles of a colony-founding queen are broken down to be converted to larval food (or food for the founding queen herself!).
holometabolism– the type of metamorphosis where the larvae differ markedly from the adults. Insects which undergo holometabolism pass through a larval stage, then enter an inactive state called pupa, or chrysalis, and finally emerge as adults. Holometabolism is also known as “complete” and “complex” metamorphosis. Ants are insects which undergo holometabolism.
honeydew– a sugary material secreted by aphids, leafhoppers, scale insects, psyllids, and other homopterous insects, which are often relished by ants
honeypot ant – common name for ant species within five different genera most notably Myrmecocystusknown for their repletes, which are gorged with food by workers, to the point that their abdomens swell enormously, a condition called plerergate. Other ants then extract nourishment from them. They function essentially as living larders.
host – In biology, a host is an organism that harbors a parasite (that is, a virus, a bacterium, a protozoan, or a fungus), or a mutual or commensal symbiont, typically providing nourishment, support, and/or shelter. In botany, a host plant is one that supplies food resources and substrate for certain insects or other fauna. In ants, it typically refers to a species whose colony is the target of social parasitic or slave-making ants, however it can also refer to the species inside/outside the body of which a parasite receives nourishment and shelter. [See also social parasite and slavery]
hydric – describes a habitat or soil that is formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part. It is one of a triad of terms to describe the amount of water in a habitat. The others are xeric and mesic. [See also xeric and mesic]
hydrostone– brand name given to a plaster product very similar to plaster of paris but more mold resistant. Hydrostone is sometimes used to create formicaria, however, like plaster of paris, also grows mold in time.
Hymenoptera – one of the largest orders of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants. There are over 130,000 recognised species, with many more remaining to be described. The name refers to the heavy wings of the insects, and is derived from the Ancient Greek humen meaning ‘membrane’ and pteronmeaning ‘wing’. The hindwings are connected to the forewings by a series of hooks called hamuli.
hyperparasite – a parasite whose host is a parasite. An example of a hyperparasitic ant species is Lasius fuliginosus, which parasitizes the social parasitic species Lasius umbratus, which parasitizes the host species Lasius niger. [See also social parasite]
inferior– in anatomy, describes being lower in place or position; situated below another
inquiline– a permanent social parasite
inquilinism – the relationship where a social parasite is dependent on a host species for as long as the colony exsists. Without the host-species’ workers, the colony will disappear. Inquilinism can be observed in species like Polyergus rufescens (employs dulosis.), Strongylognathus alpinus (also employs dulosis.), Strongylognathus testaceus (no dulosis; the workers are useless; when the host-workers die, the colony disappears.), Myrmoxenus kraussei (no dulosis; the workers are useless; when the host-workers die, the colony disappears.),Myrmoxenus stumperi (employs dulosis.). [See also dulosis]
insect – animals within the class Insecta [See Insecta]
insect-a-slip– brand name given to the liquid form of the chemical known as Polytetrafluoroethylene. In ant keeping, it is used as a barrier keeping ants from escaping open top outworlds. It is sometimes referred to as PTFE or fluon.
Insecta– a taxonomic class within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae. They are among the most diverse group of animals on the planet and include more than a million described species and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million, and potentially represent over 90% of the differing metazoan life forms on Earth. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, the crustaceans.
insectivore– animal which eats insects
instar– the stage in the development of an arthropod between any two moults. Ants have 3 – 5 larval instar stages. The shed skin is chewed into a small pellet and fed to the larva that shed it or to another larva.
interior– of or pertaining to that which is within
invasive – desribes being not native to, and also tending to spread widely in a habitat or environment. Invasive species often have few natural predators or other biological controls in their new environment. Although not always considered harmful to an environment, invasive species can become agricultural or ecological pests and can displace native species from their habitats. Invasive species are often introduced to an environment unintentionally. An examples of invasive species include Solenopsis invicta (also known as RIFA or Red Imported Fire Ants) and Linepithema humile(also known as Argentine ants).
invertebrate – an animal without a backbone. The group includes 95% of all animal species, and include all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebratawhich encompass fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
jerdon’s jumping ant – common name for the species Harpegnathos saltator
kinopsis– the alarm communication or recruitment mediated by the sight of categories of kin
LC50 – a standardized measure for expressing and comparing the toxicity of gaseous chemicals and toxins, but is otherwise the same as LD50 [See LD50].
LD50– a standardized measure for expressing and comparing the toxicity of chemicals. The LD 50 or LC 50 is the dose that kills half (50%) of the animals tested. LD = “lethal dose”.
leaf-cutter ant – fungal grower species which specialize on feeding from fungus grown in their nest cultured from chewed up pieces of plant matter. Examples of leaf-cutter ants include those belonging to the genera Atta and Acromyrmex. [See also fungal-grower]
legionary ant – army ant [See also army ant]
mandibles– sometimes refered to as jaws, a pair of appendages near an insect’s mouth, and the most anterior of the three pairs of oral appendages. Their function is typically to grasp, crush, or cut the insect’s food, or to defend against predators or rivals. Insect mandibles, which appear to be evolutionarily derived from legs, move in the horizontal plane unlike those of vertebrates, which appear to be derived from gill arches and move vertically.
Marabunta – South American name for army ant [See also army ant]
maxillary palp– appendages under the head
meconium– the fecal pellet excreted by a mature larva right before pupation. Larvae only deficate once in their entire life and it is when the meconium is expelled. This happens inside the cocoon and appears as a visible black dot on the cocoon tip.
media – the middle-sized caste of worker ant in polymorphic ant species, possessing characteristics of an ordinary worker ant. They are smaller than majors but larger than minors. [See also polymorphism]
mesic – In ecology, describes a type of habitat with a moderate or well-balanced supply of moisture. Mesic is one of a triad of terms to describe the amount of water in a habitat. The others are xeric and hydric. [See also xeric and hydric]
mesonotum– second segment of the mesosoma
mesosoma– the middle part of the body, or tagma, of arthropods whose body is composed of three parts, the other two being the prosoma and the metasoma. It bears the legs, and, in the case of winged insects, the wings. In Apocrita Hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), it consists of the three thoracic segments and the first abdominal segment (the propodeum). For historical reasons, in ants it is commonly referred to by the alternative name alitrunk.
metamorphosis – a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal’s body structure through cell growth and differentiation. There are two main types of metamorphosis in insects, hemimetabolism (also called incomplete metamophosis) and holometabolism (complete metamorphosis). [See also holometabolism]
metanotum – the third mesonotal segment. The metanotum is visible in winged ants, and as a narrow, transverse sclerite in many workers [See mesonotum].
metasoma – the gaster or abdomen portion of an ant, bee, or wasp. [see also gaster]
microhabitat– small-scale localized environment of a particular organism or population. A microhabitat is often a smaller habitat within a larger one. For example, a fallen log inside a forest can provide microhabitat for insects that are not found in the wider forest habitat outside such logs. A microhabitait can be big or small depending on how much it varies.
midden– the room or rooms of an ant colony where the trash is taken
mimicry – the close external resemblance of an organism, the mimic, to some different organism, the model, such that the mimic benefits from the mistaken identity, as seeming to be unpalatable or harmful. One form of mimicry, where the mimic lacks the defensive capabilities of its ‘model’, is known as Batesian mimicry (e.g. a harmless aegeria moth which is a mimic of the stinging yellow jacket wasp). A second form of mimicry, known as Mullerian mimicry, occurs when two organisms share the same anti-predation defence and mimic each other, to the benefit of both species (e.g. honeybees and yellow jacket wasps are Mullerian mimics, both of which display the black and yellow stripes which many predators may know to avoid). There exist a family of jumping spiders belonging to the genus Myrmarachnewhich mimic ants by waving their front legs in the air to simulate antennae. Some species also look strikingly like an ant.
minor– the smallest caste of worker ant in polymorphic ant species. Characterized by its tiny size, it specializes in handling and caring for the young, the queen, and simple nest duties.
monogynous – describes a species that only sustains one queen in a single colony. Examples of monogynous species include Pogonomyrmex californicus and Camponotus pennsylvanicus.
monogyny – the behavioural trait of a species to sustain only one queen in a single colony. Examples of monogynous species include Pogonomyrmex californicus and Camponotus pennsylvanicus.
monomorphism – in biology occurs when there is only one phenotype that exist in the same population of a species, i.e. the occurrence of one form or morph. In ants, it describes one existing form, particularly of the worker caste. Examples of this include species belonging to the genera Myrmica, Tetramorium, and Formica. Holldobler and Wilson in The Superorganism describe monomorphism as the existence in a colony of only a single worker subcaste. An entire species can be monomorphic, as well. Examples of monomorphic ant species include the species Pristomyrmex pugens which lacks a queen caste, where all the members of the colony look the same and every worker is capable of laying eggs even without mating with a male (via a process known as ‘parthenogenesis’). Species belonging to the genus Dinoponera is also an entirely monomorphic spcies lacking a queen caste. Also, ants belonging to the genera Diacammaare monomorphic as they do have a queen caste but she looks exactly like the workers.
Myrmarachne– a genus of jumping spiders which imitate an ant by waving their front legs in the air to simulate antennae. Some species also look strikingly like an ant. Spiders in this genus are commonly called “antmimicking spiders”, although there are many other spiders that mimic ants.
myrmecochory– the process of plant seed dispersal by ants.
myrmecologist– someone who studies ants
myrmecology– the scientific study of ants
myrmecophilia– the love of ants; ‘ant love’ as coined by The AntsCanada Ants Store in 2009.
myrmecophobia– the irrational fear of ants
Myrmecos Blog– a popular blog [Myrmecos.net] by acclaimed biologist, researcher and photographer Alexander Wild
Myrmicinae– a subfamily of ants with genera whose members have two waist segments. They possess a stinger.
necrophagy – a carnivorous feeding behaviour in which a predator consumes corpses or carrion that were not killed to be eaten by the predator or others of its species [See also scavenger]
nest– a place or structure in which birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, mice, etc, lay eggs or give birth to young; a number of animals of the same species and their young occupying a common habitat
nest cycling– the AntsCanada-recommended routine but infrequent (e.g. once a year or once every two years) replacement of a colony’s formicarium, for the purpose of colony hygiene
nomadic – the characteristic of tending to relocate living area. An example of nomadic ants include ants belonging to the genus Dorylus, the colonies of which are constantly moving and are set up in very temporary nest sites before moving to a new location.
nomadic phase – A phase in which a colony moves almost every day from one bivouac to another one. The queen’s gaster is contracted to protect the delicate intersegmental membranes during the moves. No egg-laying. During this phase there are big dayly raids to collect lots of food for the developing larvae. This is common in ants belonging to the genus Dorylus, for instance.
nuptial flight– a special time period when alates (or the reproductive males and females who are born with wings) engage in mating. For every species it takes place at a specific time every year. Some species fly twice a year (e.g. Spring and Fall). The male alates die shortly after mating and female alates break off their wings and venture off to seek a suitable location to found her colony as the queen.
nursemaid – the smallest caste of worker in polymorphic ant species, synonymous to the word ‘minor’, which specialize in caring for the young and queen [see also minor and polymorphism]
oligogyny -The living together of a very small number of queens in an ant nest. These are spaced out throughout the nest because the queens are hostile to each other. [See also pleometrosis]
outworld – an enclosure separate from the main nest area which is designed to create a living area for a captive ant colony for foraging and hunting. It provides the ants with an outer world or environment outside of the main nest where workers forage for food. It is usually connected to a formicarium through tubing or other means and may or may not be completely sealed. Some refer to it as the basin [See also formicarium]
patrollers– ants that travel restlessly throughout the colony switching tasks as needed
pavement ant – common name given to ants belonging to the genus Tetramoriumknown for nesting under and around pavements and sidewalks in an urban environment
permanent social parasite – known as an inquiline or inquiline parasite, it is a social parasite that is dependent on a slave species for as long as the colony exists. Without the slave-species’ workers, the colony will disappear. Inquilinism can be observed in species like Polyergus rufescens (employs dulosis.), Strongylognathus alpinus (also employs dulosis.), Strongylognathus testaceus (no dulosis; the workers are useless; when the slave-workers die, the colony disappears.), Myrmoxenus kraussei (no dulosis; the workers are useless; when the slave-workers die, the colony disappears.), Myrmoxenus stumperi (employs dulosis.). [See also dulosis and inquilinism]
petiole– the stem formed by a restricted abdominal segment which connects the thorax with the gaster (the remaining abdominal segments often referred to as simply ‘abdomen’) in ants and some bees and wasps.
phenotype– any observable characteristic or trait of an organism: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior (such as a bird’s nest). Phenotypes result from the expression of an organism’s genes as well as the influence of environmental factors and the interactions between the two.
pheromone– secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Pheromones are chemicals capable of acting outside the body of the secreting individual to impact the behavior of the receiving individual. It is the primary mode of communiation in ants and other insects.
physogastrism (adj. physogastric) – the condition of a queen’s gaster enlarging and becoming extremely swollen with eggs, i.e. ‘termite gaster’ [See also termite gaster]
plaster nest– formicarium made from plaster of paris. In the past it was a common method for housing ant colonies, however the disadvantage with using plaster of paris for a nest is its propensity to grow mold. Many use hydrostone which is similar to plaster of paris but more mold resistant. Hydrostone, however, also grows mold in time.
pleometrosis – the process of one or more queens banding together to raise a colony specifically during the founding stage. The advantage of this is that it increases the chance of colony success. In many pleometrotic ants, when the first set of workers arrive the queens fight, resulting in death of all but one queen, until one dominant queen is left. [See also oligogyny].
plerergate – a condition in repletes (i.e. living storage worker ants) where their abdomens swell enormously [See also honeypot ant and replete]
poikilothermy– the characteristic of having a body temperature that varies with the temperature of the surroundings. It is often referred to in laymen’s terms as ‘cold-bloodedness’. Examples of poikilothermic organisms include reptiles, amphibians, and insects, which of course includes ants.
Ponerinae– subfamily of ants that possess an ill-defined postpetiole that connects to the gaster with a large surface area. They also tend to be either specialized predators and or almost completely subterranean.
polygynous – describes a species that harmoniously sustain more than one queen in a single colony. Examples of polygynous species include Solenopsis invicta and Camponotus vicinus.
polygyny – the trait of a species to harmoniously sustain more than one queen in a single colony. Examples of polygynous species include Solenopsis invicta and Camponotus vicinus.
polymorphism – in biology occurs when two or more clearly different phenotypes exist in the same population of a species, i.e. the occurrence of more than one form or morph. In ants, it describes the various existing forms, particularly of the worker caste. Examples of polymorphic ant species include ants belonging to the genera Camponotus and Pheidolewhich possess varying sizes and shapes of workers that specialize in various tasks.
polyphyletic– relating to or characterized by development from more than one ancestral type.
post-petiole– body part that is present in some ants; it is a constricted third abdominal segment
posterior– situated behind or at the rear of
pronotum – the first segment of the mesosoma [See mesosoma]
propodeum– the first abdominal segment in wasps, bees and ants. It is fused with the thorax to form the mesosoma. It is a single large sclerite, not subdivided, and bears a pair of spiracles. It is strongly constricted posteriorly to form the articulation of the petiole, and gives ants, bees, and wasps their distinctive shape.
prosoma– a term which means the head of an insect, but also refers to the first (anterior) major body section in arachnids and malacostracan crustaceans.
PTFE– a chemical known as Polytetrafluoroethylene. In ant keeping, the liquid form is used as a barrier keeping ants from escaping open top outworlds. It is sometimes refered to as fluon or the brand name ‘insect-a-slip’.
pumice nest – original formicarium pioneered, engineered, and invented by The AntsCanada Ants Storein 2009 created from pumice stone, which is fashioned from volcanic rock. It contains pre-excavated tunnels and chambers and possesses a watering system. which keeps the entire nest humid, even though the pumice material itself is not particularly water absorbent. It is perfectly non-reactive and 100% mold resistant.
pupa (pl. pupae) – the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation. The pupal stage is found only in holometabolous insects, those that undergo a complete metamorphosis, going through four life stages; embryo, larva, pupa and imago. In ants pupae may further be enclosed in cocoons as seen in ants belonging to the subfamily Formicinae.
pupation– the process where a larva becomes a pupa
pupate– the act of pupation where a larva becomes a pupa
repletes – designated worker ants that act as living storage vessels, and store food in their crop, resulting in an engorged abdomen. Honeypot ants belonging to the genus Myrmecocystusare notorious for their large repletes which hang from the nest ceilings and provide the colony sustenance during periods of short food supply.
RIFA – acronym for “Red Imported Fire Ant” which refers to the invasive species Solenopsis invicta [See also invasive]
rugae– wrinkles, folds. Examples include rugae of the stomach and rugae of the forehead.
satellite nest– an additional established nest location separate from the main nest
scape– the elongated basal segment of an ant’s antenna
scavenger– an animal, such as a bird or insect, that feeds on dead or decaying matter
semi-claustral – describes a queen who does not seal herself up entirely in a chamber during the initial stages of colony founding. The queens still lays her eggs and rears her young in a private chamber, but also continues to forage or hunt for food above ground throughout the process until her first workers arrive. An example of semi-claustral ants include queens belonging to Pogonomyrmex, Myrmica, and Myrmecia.
semi-nomadic – describes the characteristic of tending to relocate living area on a regular basis. Examples of semi-nomadic ants include ants belonging to the genera Myrmica and Pheidologetonwhich set up temporary nest sites before moving the entire colony to a new location
slave-making species – a species that uses workers of a host slave ant species to perform everyday tasks of the mixed colony, e.g. nest construction, caring for the young, hunting, defense, etc. Slave species workers mature from brood, usually pupae, gathered by the slave-making species during brood-robbing raids.
slave species – a species whose workers are used as host for a slave-making ant species. Slave species workers mature from brood, usually pupae, gathered by the slave-making species during brood-robbing raids. Slave species perform everyday tasks of the mixed colony, e.g. nest construction, caring for the young, hunting, defense, etc.
slavery– the use of a slave species for the survival of the colony.
soakstone – a material engineered and devloped by The AntsCanada Ants Store found in AntsCanada Habitat Nests. It is a cement-like material which is water absorbent, 100% mold resistant, safe for ants, and is the cutting-edge component to all products of the AntsCanada Habitat series. [See also Habitat Nest]
social ectoparasite – an extreme, workerless inquiline (permanent social parasite that has undergone specific morphological changes) that are totaly adapted to be carried by the host-queens (or host-workers.). They have great difficulty walking. Examples of social ectoparasites include the species Teleutomyrmex schneideri and Teleutomyrmex kutteri. [See also extreme workerless inquiline]
social parasite – describes a queen who does not begin her colony on her own but rather specializes in taking over a host colony, killing the resident queen, and taking the initial queen’s place as the colony queen. Her biological young eventually make up the colony as her foster workers die away. Many social parasites have a specific host species. An example of a social parasitic ant is Lasius claviger.
social stomach – also known as the ‘crop’ where food is initially stored and processed before being fed to other members of the colony via mouth-to-mouth transfer [See also trophallaxis]
soldier – the larger caste of worker in polymorphic ant species, synonymous to the word ‘major’, which specialize in defense and duties requiring greater mandible power [see also major and polymorphism]
sp. (pl. spp.)- abbreviation used when the actual specific scientific species name cannot or need not be specified. The abbreviation “spp.” (plural) indicates “several species”. These are not italicised (or underlined). For example, “Camponotus sp.” means “an unspecified species of the genus Camponotus“, while “Camponotus spp.” means “two or more species of the genus Camponotus“.
species (pl. species) – one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are often used, such as similarity of DNA, morphology or ecological niche. Presence of specific locally adapted traits may further subdivide species into subspecies. In standard biological nomenclature, in the name Camponotus noveboracensis, “noveboracensis” is considered the species, while “Camponotus” is the genus, although when stating the scientific name of a species, it is a rule to state both the genus and the species and to italicize when in writing. [See also subspecies]
spermatheca– the organ where the queen stores sperm.
spiracles– openings in the body of many arthropods that allow for breathing. In ants, they are found on the propodeum, petiole, postpetiole and gastral segments.
ssp. (pl. sspp.) – abbreviation used to indicate an unspecified subspecies. Same as subsp. [See also subsp.]
stationary phase – a phase in which a colony rests in a fixed bivouac. The queen’s gaster expands so she can lay a lot of eggs in a very short period. The brood is in the pupal stage. When the eggs hatch and the callow workers emerge, a new nomadic phase starts. This is commonly onbserved in ants belonging to the genus Dorylus, for instance.
stridulation– the production of sound in insects typically through the rapid rubbing together of body parts, e.g. wings in crickets
subsp. (pl. subspp.) – abbreviation used to indicate an unspecified subspecies. Same as ssp. [See also ssp.]
subspecies – (commonly abbreviated subsp. or ssp.) in biological classification, it is either a taxonomic rank subordinate to species, or a taxonomic unit in that rank. A subspecies cannot be recognized in isolation. In other words, a species will either be recognized as having no subspecies at all or two or more, never just one. The differences between subspecies are usually less distinct than the differences between species, but more distinct than the differences between races or breeds. The characteristics attributed to subspecies generally have evolved as a result of geographical distribution or isolation. [See also species]
submajor – a caste of major worker ant in polymorphic ant species that is larger than an ordinary worker but smaller than an ordinary major. They are characterized by their large major-like heads. [See also major and polymorphism].
superior– in anatomy, describes being higher in place or position; situated above another
supermajor – the largest caste of worker ant in polymophic ant species that is larger than an ordinary major, characterized by its great size and extra large head. [see also major and polymorphism]
symbiosis – close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. In ants, an example of a symbiotic relationship include ants and ant woodlice, a small white crustacean found in ant nests. The ants benefit from the ant woodlice because the ant woodlice feed on ant feces and nest fungus, while the ants provide the ant woodlice shelter and protection. This example of symbiosis is known as mutualism, where both parties involved benefit form each other’s existence. Commensalism is a symbiotic relationship where only one party benefits from the other’s existence and the other party is unaffected or isn’t significantly helped (e.g. the relationship between dung beetles and the elephants that excrete the dung). Parasitismis a symbiotic relationship where one party benefits from the other’s existence while the other is negavtively impacted or loses (e.g. the relationship between dog and dog fleas).
taxonomy– the practice and science of classification. In biology, it refers to the scientific classification of organisms by biological type, e.g. genus or species.
Tenebrio molitor– the scientific name of the species of flour beetle whose larvae (known as the mealworm) is a common feeder insect for pet reptiles and birds. Many ant keepers feed them to ants.
termite gaster – a condition, coined by The AntsCanada Ants Store, describing a greatly bloated gaster of a queen ant due to being filled with eggs, especially during the founding stage. For ant keepers with a freshly caught dealate, it is a good sign that a queen has been successfully inseminated during nuptial flight. The technical term to describe a queen with termite gaster is ‘physogastrism’ [See also physogastrism].
test tube portal – original product invented, manufactured, and sold at The AntsCanada Ants Storewhich allows for the connection between two test tubes or between a test tube and a formicarium, outworld, or flexible tubing. The product allows for breathing due to a cotton plug.
test tube setup– housing commonly used by ant keepers to house captive dealates (young queens) in the founding stage of colony development. It consists of a test tube with a water portion sectioned off to the end of the test tube by a cotton ball, and the opening plugged with another cotton ball. When the cotton molds or the water runs out, then the queen and colony is moved to a new setup.
thermoregulation – the maintenance or regulation of temperature, specifically, the maintenance of a particular temperature of the living body. Ants thermoregulate by relocating themselves and the young to warmer areas when they are too cold and cooler areas when they are too hot, a process known as ectothermy [See also ectothermy].
tibia – the single segment connecting the femur to the tarsus on an insect’s leg [See also femur and tarsus]
trachea – in invertebrates, refers to the open respiratory system composed of spiracles, tracheae, and tracheoles that terrestrial arthropods have evolved to transport metabolic gases to and from tissues. [See also spiracles and tracheole]
tracheole – a fine respiratory tube of the trachea of an insect [See also trachea]
trimorphic – in ants, describes a species that has a minor, major, and supermajor caste, e.g. Pheidolespecies
trochanter – the single segment connecting the coxa to the femur on an insect’s leg [See also coxa and femur]
trophallaxis– the process of exchanging food, often in a liquid form, that is stored in the social stomach (crop), via mouth to mouth regurgitation and transfer between members of a colony.
trophic egg– egg that is mainly produced for food
trophic level– any class of organisms that occupy the same position in a food chain, as primary consumers, secondary consumers, tertiary consumers, etc
Uncle Milton Industries Inc – a company which manufactures and distributes a large line of toys and novelty products for housing living things. They are the creators of “Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm”, for which ants (usually a Pogonomyrmex or Messor species) are sent to the purchaser through the mail (just workers and no queen), upon receipt of the coupon enclosed with the ant farm. They also manufacture gelfarms under the product name “Antworks”. Uncle Milton Industries Inc is based in Westlake Village, California, and has sold over 20 million ant farms since 1956 and which owns the brand name “Ant Farm”. These types of formicaria are for observing worker ants and their effectiveness in serious ant propagation is limited. Uncle Milton ant products have yet to be accepted by the serious ant keeping community as a proper home for the healthy, long term rearing of ant colonies. [See also Antworks and gelfarm]
unfertilized– in ant keeping, describes being unmated or unsuccessfully inseminated
ventral– situated on or toward the lower, abdominal plane of the body; equivalent to the front, or anterior, in humans; of or pertaining to the venter or belly
white woodlouse – a tiny blind, eyeless white crustacean that lives in ant nests and feeds on ant droppings and fungus. Its scientific name is Platyarthrus hoffmannseggiand is also known as an ant woodlouse. They are only found in ant nests and rarely come above ground.
worker– caste of ant which are infertile daughters to the queen of a colony. They make up the majority of the colony and may or may not specialize in specific tasks including hunting/foraging, nest maintenance, nest contruction, dfense, nursing of young, etc
workerless inquiline – a permanent social parasite (known as an inquiline) without workers. When all the host-workers die, the colony disappears, e.g. observable in the species Myrmoxenus corsicus and Myrmoxenus adlerzi [See also inquiline].
xeric – of, relating to, or growing in dry conditions. Deserts are xeric environments. Xeric is one of a triad of terms to describe the amount of water in a habitat. The others are mesic and hydric. [See also mesic and hydric]
xerophilic – describes flourishing in or adapted to a hot dry environment. Cataglyphis bombycinus is among the most xerophilic of insects. [See also xerophilous]
xerophilous – describes flourishing in or adapted to a hot dry environment. Cataglyphis bombycinus is among the most xerophilous of insects. [See also xerophilic]
zoology– the scientific study of animals
Zoophobas morio – the scientific name of the species of darkling beetle, whose larvae are known by the common name ‘superworm’ or ‘zophobas’. Superworms are common in the reptile pet industry. In the search for easy to raise insects to use as food for captive reptiles and amphibians, superworms quickly moved into the spotlight, and have been a staple feeder insect ever since. Many ant keepers feed superworms to their ant colonies.