About antmaps.org

The goal of antmaps.org is to provide an intuitive and efficient framework for professional and amateur myrmecologists to visualize the known distribution of ant species or higher taxon, and to access the underlying records for those data.

Antmaps.org is not a database per se, but rather a client-end tool for visualizing and interacting with the GABI database. The Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) project (Guénard et al. In Review) is an ongoing effort to consolidate and curate a comprehensive global database of ant species distributional records, including literature records, museum databases, and online specimen databases. The database includes records from over 8400 publications, most major digitized museum collections, and specimen databases such as Antweb. In total, the database now has over 1.6 million records including around 15000 described ant species and subspecies. The GABI data are currently housed in a PostgreSQL database that syncronizes once per week with antmaps.org.

Antmaps.org is intended to complement other invaluable web tools for myrmecology such as AntWeb and AntWiki. While those are more comprehensive and multifaceted resources on ant biodiversity, antmaps.org is specifically built for a single purpose; mapping species distributions and aggregate diversity patterns and visualizing data from GABI.

In many ways GABI is raw material for myrmecologists, a point of departure for characterizing and understanding the geographic distribution of a species or group, and not a final answer. There are errors and uncertainties that are inherited from the data sources, and others introduced during the databasing process. Distributional data in GABI should be viewed critically before forming the basis of scientific investigation. We are continually curating and improving the dataset and welcome the participation of the myrmecological community in these efforts (if you see something questionable, click "Report data issue"). One of the main goals of antmaps.org is to facilitate and accelerate this process.

The GABI project is led by Benoit Guénard and Evan Economo, in collaboration with Michael Weiser, Kiko Gomez, and Nitish Narula. Many, many other people have helped by contributing data and/or expertise to the project.

Data Accessibility

For the very near future, the full GABI data and citation information are not freely accessible for download, but will be soon following the completion of the database and publication of several pending manuscripts. We apologize for the inconvenience. In the meantime, if you need to get access to specific records or have an idea for an analysis using the data, we encourage users to contact us directly. We don’t advise using raw data taken from antmaps.org for research/publication without discussing the data with us first. (evaneconomo@gmail.com, zeroben@gmail.com)


The GABI project is led by Benoit Guénard and Evan Economo, in collaboration with Michael Weiser, Kiko Gomez, and Nitish Narula. Many, many other people have helped by contributing data and/or expertise to the project.

Antmaps.org is led by Evan Economo in collaboration with Benoit Guénard. Julia Janicki is responsible for most of the interface design and front-end development. Matt Ziegler and Nitish Narula designed the database structures and backend functionality. It was developed using the Django (1.7) framework and visualized with Leaflet and D3.

Both GABI and antmaps.org are funded by OIST, and GABI is also funded by the University of Hong Kong.

If you use antmaps.org in your research, please cite the following paper:
Janicki, J., Narula, N., Ziegler, M., Guénard, B. Economo, E.P. (2016) Visualizing and interacting with large-volume biodiversity data using client-server web-mapping applications: The design and implementation of antmaps.org. Ecological Informatics 32: 185-193.

Please check back in the future because there may be additional references as GABI gets better documented in the literature.

Species Mode Legend Code

Native (N) : Records that are considered native.

Exotic (E) : Data that represent non-native species records with established populations in the wild.

Indoor Introduced (I) : Data that represent non-native species records without established populations in the wild (e.g. in buildings, greenhouses, airport, quarantine surveys).

Need Verification (V) : Uncertain records in need of verification to be classified as valid or dubious.

Dubious (D) : Erroneous records reported in previous publications or databases but later identified as misidentifications. Those are presented to prevent potential future misidentifications.