A team of U.S. scientists has begun AntWeb project, a project that captures detailed 3D images of all ant species knownto science.
This could not have started visiting museums around the world to photograph each specimen in the collections. All this through a technique for the first time, will capture the detail microscopic anatomy of the insects bodies.
The goal is to make an online catalog that provides a unique tool for the study of insects by scientists. It will allow anyone with network access to a detailed view of the diverse world of ants.
Lead researcher, Professor Brian Fisher, has started this journey that takes him all over the world after London's Natural Museum collection in the United States up to 8,000 snapshots of species. According to records there are about 15,000 species described "formally" by the science of an estimated 30,000. According to Fisher:
Our goal is the image of some 10,000 a year to conclude with a comprehensive database. After the United States have begun the journey to museums around the world in the Natural History Museum in London. The Museum has one of the best collections of ants with over 6,000 species.
And that is the basis for more complete, the team is taking multiple images of each species including copies of all different castes of ants and queens, soldiers, or different sexes.
The technique will allow from the combination of large images under a single end is revealing in unprecedented detail for each insect. According to Fisher:
We get closer and see every hair, eyes, every detail. It is the first time as a scientist I can see an ant in 3D in this way. It will be extremely useful to scientists.
A project that will reveal to anyone with network access to the copies that hide behind every museum in the world had ever seen.