The US team is visiting museums around the world to photograph all of the ant specimens in their collections.
They are using a technique that, for the first time, allows microscopic anatomical detail of the insects’ bodies to be photographed.
The aim is to make an online catalogue called Antweb, providing a unique tool for scientists who study the insects.
It will also allow anyone with access to the internet a detailed glimpse of the diverse world of ants.
Brian Fisher from the California Academy of Sciences is leading the study. He and his colleagues have started their “world ant tour” at the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London.
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