Ants are social insects. Each ant nest contains large numbers of ants, which have become differentiated into several castes. Worker ants are the most abundant; they are the most frequently seen by people and are most likely to be collected. We have therefore prepared an identification key, which especially emphasizes worker ants.
The features which are important for the identification of ants are represented visually as much as possible. This identification key will therefore allow even beginners to identify a given ant. However, since some advanced knowledge is needed to understand fully the comments given about each classification group, the terms often used in this key and the sites of the body of ants often used for identification will be first explained. The following terms were basically derived from the List of Japanese Scientific Terms - Zoology Section-- (Revised and Enlarged Edition, 1988):

  1. Caste

  2. Direction

  3. Surface structure

  4. Head

  5. Thorax

  6. Abdominal pedicel and gaster

  7. Pilosity

  8. Index

(Comments by Kazuo Ogata)