Get Involved!

If you live in one of the six New England states, look for ants where you live and add to what we know about the distribution and abundance of ants in New England

We are always looking to add reliable new records of ant species to our public database. If you have collected an ant and aren’t sure what it is, photograph it if you can, follow the instructions below for preparing the specimen(s) for identification and study, and contact us for instructions to send it to us for identification.

Only dry, pinned ants can be accepted for identification

A properly pinned and labeled ant. From Figure 3.9 of A Field Guide to the Ants of New England.

1. Your ant must be dry and mounted (pinned). Pinning ants means carefully gluing the underside of the ant’s mesosoma to a triangular point punched out of stiff paper (heavy-duty, acid-free cardstock available from office supply stores works fine). The point is then stuck through with an insect pin (size #1 or larger). Be sure to use water-soluble glue (white glue or hide glue). There are many useful tutorials for pinning ants on the web (for example, this YouTube video and this description from Elsa Youngstaedt’s research group).

2. Your pinned specimen must be correctly labeled with collection information: The first (top, nearest the ant) label must includes the locality where the ant was collected (country, state, county, town, latitude, longitude, and elevation), and the date of collection. The second (middle) label must include information about the habitat in which you collected it. We will add the bottom label, which will include the scientific name of the ant (genus and species), the name of the person who determined the identity of the specimen, and the date it was identified.

3. Pack your pinned specimens to minimize movement in transit. Putting the pinned specimens in a small box lined with styrofoam or other rigid foam that can support the pins is a good start. Add another layer at the top so the pin can’t move side to side. Put this little box into a slightly bigger box filled with air-paks, shredded newspaper, compostable packing peanuts, or some other recyclable packaging. Include a printed list of the specimens.

4. Contact us for shipping instructions.

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