Family of Ants
What do these four species of ants have in common?
Despite being from different genera and from different habitats (Procryptocerus nalini lives high in the treetops whereas Adelomyrmex longinoi lives in the forest floor), ants are grouped together in one taxonomic family – Formicidae. These four species have another family tie. A human family.
The ant in the upper left, Adelomyrmex longinoi, was named after noted myrmecologist Dr. John (Jack) T. Longino. Dr. Longino not only has ant species named after him, but throughout his career, he has discovered new species of ants which he has gotten to name. He named the species in the upper right, Procryptocerus nalini, after his wife, canopy ecologist Dr. Nalini Nadkarni. The ant in the lower left, Pyramica augustandrewi, is named after his son August Andrew. Finally, the ant in the lower right, Pyramica erikae, is named after his daughter, Erika.
In her book, Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees, Dr. Nalini Nadkarni speculates that their family is “perhaps, the only family whose members each have an eponymous ant.”
I’m prone to agree!