Terminology Guide

From Ant Keeping Wiki



The most commonly used terms for ant taxonomy are subfamily, genus, and species. There are other groups that further divide these main groups, tribe, sub genus, and sub species.

Example: Formica and Camponotus are both genera in the subfamily Formicinae, but are separated by the tribes Camponotini and Formicini.

Order of the groups:

Family- Formicidae

Subfamily- Formicinae

Tribe- Camponotini

Genus- Camponotus

Subgenus- Myrmothrix

Species- atriceps

Sub species- nocens

Normal Terms

Alate- Winged reproductive

Gamergate- Mated egg laying worker

Haplometrosis- Colony founding by a single queen

Monandry- Queen mating with a single male

Monodomy- Colony lives in a single nest site

Monogyny- Colony with a single egg laying queen

Nanitic (minim)- A worker of the first generation

Oligogyny- Colony with multiple egg laying queens, who stay far apart from eachother.

Pleometrosis- Colony founding my multiple queens

Polyandry- Queen mating with multiple males

Polydomy- Colony lives in multiple separate nests

Polyethism- Development of division of labor

Polygyny- Colony with multiple egg laying queens

Polymorphism- Occurring in several different forms

Replete- A worker ant that functions as a "storage unit"

Tandem running- One ant leads another ant to a different location

Trophallaxis- Exchange of regurgitated liquids

Trophic egg- A degenerate egg, that is feed to members of the colony

Trophobiosis- A symbiotic relationship where food is provided, the provider being referred to as a trophobiont

Morphological Terms[1]

Acidopore- A circular to semicircular opening at the end of the gaster that is surrounded by a fringe of hairs.

Aliform- Shaped like a wing.

Alitrunk- Other word for mesosoma.

Antenna- Long sensory organ connected to the head, made up of the scape and funiculus.

Antennal fossa- Depressed area in the cuticle of the dorsal of the head.

Antennal scrobe- A groove or impression found on the side of the head, running above or below the eye.

Antennal socket- The part where the antenna connects to the head of the ant.

Apterous- Wingless

Basitarsus- The first, basal, of the five tarsal segments.

Carina- A ridge or low, keel-like crest.

Carinate- Possessing one or more Carinae.

Cephalic- Pertaining to the head.

Claw- Claw, at the end of the tarsus.

Clypeus- A section of the head just behind the mandibles.

Coxa- The first segment of the leg connected to the Mesesoma.

Facet- one of the units of the compound eye.

Femur- Third segment of the leg.

Frontal carina- Carina located on the dorsal part of the head and between the antennal sockets.

Frontal lobe- Laterally projecting lobate extensions, which overhand and partially to entirely conceal the antennal sockets.

Funiculus- The segmented portion of the antenna

Gaster- The last segment of the body

Labial palps- Inner pair of palps originating from the labium

Mandible- The appendages ants use to fight and carry. They vary in shape and size.

Maxillary palps- Outer pair of palps originating from the maxilla.

Mesonotum- The second, middle, segment of the mesosoma.

Mesesoma- The middle section of the major body parts.

Metanotal groove- Angle or depression seperating the mesonotum from the propodeum.

Metapleural gland-

Ocelli- Group of 3 eyes found in the rear central part of the head.

Palps- Two pairs (maxillary palps, labial palps) of segmented, sensory organs found underneath the head, behind the mandibles.

Peduncle- Slender anterior section of the petiole.

Petiole- The first segment of the ant waist, found on all ants.

Postpetiole- The second segment of the ant waist, not all ants have them, but when they do it's a distinct segment separate from the gaster.

Pronotum- The first segment of the mesosoma.

Propodeal spines- Short weakly developed, or long spike like structures on the dorsal part of the propodeum.

Propodeum- The third and final segment of the mesesoma.

Psammophore- Hairs on the underside of the head are that basket-like.

Pygidium- The last segment of the gaster.

Scape- The first segment of the antenna, long and narrow.

Spiracle- An orifice of the tracheal system by which gasses enter and leave the body, how ants breath.

Subpetiolar process-

Tarsus- The foot, or fifth segment of the leg.

Tergite- A thick plate on each segment of the body.

Tibia- Fourth segment of the leg.

Tibial spur- A large spike like structure at the junction of the tibia and tarsus.

Trochanter- Short, second segment of the leg. (This term is not used very often)


Morphological Terms.

Taxonomy, Morphological Terms.


  1. Https://antwiki,org/wiki/Morphological_Terms