BACKYARD
ANTS

All photos on this page are provided courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences, and are copyrighted by that institution. The Academy also supports Antweb.Org where you can see hundreds of other photos like these, and a wonderful slideshow showing close-up pictures of hundreds of the world's ant genera.

You could spend your whole life studying ants and in the end feel like you'd only scratched the surface. For example, just in California there are about 270 ant species, including seed-harvesting ants in the genera Messor, Pheidole and Pogonomyrmex. There are honeypot ants in the genus Myrmecocystus and lots of carpenter ants in the genera Camponotus and Formica. There are native fire ants (Solenopsis), stinky Velvety Tree Ants (Liometopum) and some terrible introduced ants in urban areas which are eliminating the state's native ant species -- mainly the Argentine Ant, Linepithema humile.

At first all ants look the same. But, just look at these close-up pictures of ant heads:

Alderzia
Alderzia
Ancanthomyrmex
Ancanthomyrmex
Ankylomyrma
Ankylomyrma

And these, of the entire bodies:

Amblyopone
Amblyopone
Allomerus
Allomerus

These photos clearly show that incredible differences occur among the thousands of ant species. What the pictures don't show is this, though it's true: Behavioral differences among the many species are even more different and more fascinating to study than their anatomical differences!

To help you get started in the world of ants, first visit Antweb.Org, which graciously provided the pictures on this page. Also, check out these sites: