Micro-CT Applications for Ant Taxonomy and Morphology

X-Ray microtomography for ant taxonomy: An exploration and case study with two new Terataner (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) species from Madagascar


As new methods are emerging for studying ant morphology and for species identification, micro-CT is helping open new horizons for interactive and three-dimensional (3D) imagery of ants. This study focuses on the description of two morphologically exceptional new species of Terataner in order to test and discuss the applicability of micro-CT for ant taxonomy. The article discusses the opportunity to make cybertypes available to the worldwide research community, and the option to 3D print physical model specimens. The article concludes, “for ants, μCT combined with montage photos provides a nearly complete record of the phenotypic characters that are typically used in morphological taxonomy.”

READ MORE on using micro-CT for studying ant morphology and taxonomy, from The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), PLOS ONE.

Micro-CT for ant systematics: from next-generation morphological character discovery and evaluation to virtual avatars of type material


“X-ray microtomography (micro-CT) is such a powerful new imaging technology that enables non-invasive, high-resolution, detailed 3D analyses of morphological structures and the digitization of tissues, organs, or whole specimens.” The article compares micro-CT to traditional methods such as histology, and discusses new ways to analyze and present the wealth of data generated by micro-CT studies of ants.

READ MORE on using micro-CT for ant morphology, from Research Gate,

Systematics of the ant genus Proceratium Roger (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Proceratiinae) in China – with descriptions of three new species based on micro-CT enhanced next-generation-morphology


Proceratium specimens are subterranean ants that are rare and quite difficult to mount and study due to their hairy exterior and enlarged and curved posterior,  Because of the difficulty in studying the physical characteristics of this group, as well as its rarity, micro-CT has been used to generate “virtual 3D surface models that permit in-depth comparative analyses of specimen morphology in order to overcome the difficulties to examine physical material of Proceratium.” The article concludes that by using micro-CT scanning to virtually “shave” the hairy specimens, researchers were able to examine the morphology in greater details with “clearer diagnostic character definitions and species delimitations without causing any physical harm to the few available specimens.”

READ MORE on using micro-CT for the study of ants, from ZooKeys.

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