One might, someday, hope for a global set of range maps of individual ant species. For North America, we are working on such an endeavor, but even there the effort is preliminary-subject to revision and re-revision. New species are described regularly. Multiple species are sunk into single species. Complexes of species are burst into several, sometimes many, new species… A new study of Holarctic ants (which is to say the ants of the best-studied region of the world) estimated that forty percent of species do not yet have names. Right or wrong, the sentiment that much remains unknown is clearly true. In contrast to ant species, ant genera are relatively stable. Changes in ant genera occur more slowly. It occurs at a rate that mapmakers can keep up with. And so mapping the ant genera, just as early explorers mapped the edges of the continents, seems like a good place to start.

Why political regions?  |  Acknowledgements