Global Ant Biodiversity (GABI)

The Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) Project

Our understanding of large-scale biodiversity patterns has recently increased dramatically, but available information is strongly biased towards a few groups of vertebrates and plants.  Biodiversity patterns in invertebrates, such as insects, are poorly documented despite representing the large majority of species. To address this gap in our knowledge, the Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) project aims to compile over 200 years of ant research into a single database providing distribution information for all ant species. This will allow assessment of our current knowledge, and analysis of diversity across all spatial scales. global_ants-300x298These data can be used to address questions regarding ecological and evolutionary pattern and process, including prediction of present and future distribution of species, the roles of environmental gradients and geological histories in shaping biodiversity, and the study of the relative coherence of patterns found in ants with other taxonomic groups, providing a baseline for conservation.  In addition to aggregating records from existing specimen databases such as Antweb, our main effort consists of mining thousands of papers for literature records, including translating literature in regional non-English journals.

A more complete description of GABI is now in review.


GABI is a long-term collective project developed and led by Benoit Guénard and Evan Economo in collaboration with Michael Weiser, Kiko Gómez, and Nitish Narula.

Since the start of the project in 2012, GABI has been funded by the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and also since September 2014 by the University of Hong Kong.

For their help in articles translation we’d like to thank: Naomi Yuzuki, Kyoko Tadaoka, Masako Ogasawara, Mariko Yagi and Cong Liu.

Special thanks for their important contributions are given to Marek Borowiec, Barry Bolton, Georg Fischer, Brian Fisher, Christos Georgiadis, Milan Janda, Bob Johnson, Jack Longino, Bill MacKay, Corrie Moreau, Rodolfo Probst, Simon Robson, Eli Sarnat, Steve Shattuck, Phil Ward, Seiki Yamane, and Masashi Yoshimura.

We also would like to thank the following people for their help in acquiring publications or specific records (with the hope of not forgetting anyone): Leanne Alonso, Igor Antonov, Gevork Arakelian, Himender Bharti, Rumsais Blatrix, Doug Booher, Lech Borowiec, Gabriela Castaño, Beth Choate, Fabiana Cuezzo, Pradeep D’ Cunha, Fiep De Bie, Jacques Hubert Delabie, Israel Del Toro, Mark Deyrup, David Donoso, Michael Downes, Katsuyuki Eguchi, Xavier Espadaler, Rodrigo Feitosa, John Fellowes, Fernando Fernandez, Lázló Gallé, Miguel García-Martínez, Hassan Ghahari, Nana Gratiashvili, Yutaka Harada, Yoshiaki Hashimoto, Henri Herrera, JoVonn  Hill, Shingo Hosoishi, Claude Lebas, Anastasios Legakis, Dolores Martínez Ibáñez, Celal Karaman, Marko Karaman, Presty John, Anastasios Legakis, Andrea Lucky, David Lubertazzi, Joe MacGown, Vijay Mala Nair, Tatianne Marques, Maria Santina Morini, Soichi Osozawa, Joanna Petal-Figielska, Martin Pfeiffer, Fabrizio Rigato, Maya Rocha, Pedro Jose Salinas, Jiri Schlaghamersky, Antonio Scupola, Mostafa Sharaf, Fábio Silva, Mónica Solórzano Kraemer, Kate Sparks, Michael Staab, Mamoru Terayama, Shaju Thomas, James Trager, Kazuki Tsuji, Miguel Vásquez Bolaños, Adi Vesnic, Ricardo Vicente, James Wetterer, Michal Wiezik, Joseph Wright, Kirk Zigler.

We also thank Gary Alpert and Dorothy Barr for providing access to hundreds of articles through the Harvard Library.

Finally, we would like to warmly thank Rob Dunn for his role in fostering and supporting the early development of large biogeographic databases that many years later ended up as GABI.


List of articles used in GABI:

Below you could find a list of articles compiled for the realization of the Global Ant Bioinformatics (GABI) project which aims to present the global distribution of all ant species.

The goal of this section is to offer the opportunity to ant biologists to verify that all their published research that includes distribution records has been correctly included within the database. If you find that some of your articles presenting information on ant species distribution are missing in these pages, please let me know by e-mail. Furthermore, it would be greatly appreciated if you could send me a copy as well of the article preferentially as a PDF or by mail.

We are grateful for your help and your assistance will allow us to improve the overall knowledge on ant species distribution. Please, do not hesitate to share this link with other researchers.

At this time, 8900 publications have been compiled.

The articles are presented by alphabetical order, starting with the last name of the first author. If you find some mistakes in name spelling, please let us know and we will try to correct those in the database as they are discovered. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience.

Click here for a complete list of articles used in the GABI Database

Many thanks to all the authors who kindly provided articles upon request or sent us directly their latest publications. This is greatly appreciated!



– (July 13th 2015) All the species maps and much more are now available on Check it out for more information on your favorite taxa.

– (June 2014) The Global Ant Bioinformatics (GABI) database is now alive and over 1.7 million ant records have been compiled! Data gathering is still in progress to update the missing papers and add new taxa and taxonomic revisions.

We have produced our first series of distribution maps for all 16 subfamilies, 334 genera and 15.121 species and subspecies of ants across 546 regions for a complete global coverage (updated on August 26th 2016).

To provide the most useful information, the maps present the known distribution for each species, as well as the exotic range of introduced species (with a distinction between established outdoor and non-established exotic species), and the records are considered dubious due to misidentifications or taxonomic changes.

If you need to know the specific distribution of a taxon, you can contact me directly. Also, new records are continuously being incorporated in the database, so do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to share some of yours.


Publications using the GABI database

  • Bharti, H., B. Guénard, M. Bharti, & E. P. Economo. 2016. An updated checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of India with their specific distributions in Indian states. Zookeys 551: 1–83.
  • Jaitrong W., B. Guénard, E. P. Economo,  N. Buddhakala, & S. Yamane. A checklist of known ant species of Laos (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Asian Myrmecology 8 (in press)
  • Luo YY, & B Guénard. Paratopula bauhinia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a new nocturnal species from Hong Kong, with an updated taxonomic key and a discussion on the ecology of the genus. Asian Myrmecology 8: 1-16.
  • Janicki, J. H., N. Narula, M. Ziegler, B. Guénard & E. P. Economo. Visualizing and interacting with large-volume biodiversity data using client-server web mapping applications: The design and implementation of Ecological Informatics 32: 185–193.
  • Wepfer, P., B. Guénard, & E. P. Economo. Influences of climate and historical land connectivity on ant beta diversity in East Asia. Journal of Biogeography DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12762
  • Wong, M., & B. Guénard. 2016. Leptanilla hypodracos, a new species of the cryptic ant genus Leptanilla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Singapore, with new distribution data and an updated key to Oriental Leptanilla species. Zookeys 551: 129–144.
  • Wong M, & B. Guénard. Aenictus seletarius, a new species of hypogaeic army ant from Singapore, with an updated key to the Aenictus minutulus species group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dorylinae) from Southeast Asia. Annales Zoologici  66: 35–42.
  • Wong M, & B. Guénard. First confirmed record of the ant genus Myrmecina (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from the Malay Peninsula: description of a new species and a key to Myrmecina species from Sundaland. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 50: 129-140.
  • Guénard, B., & E. P. Economo. 2015. Additions to the checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Peru. Zootaxa 4040(2): 225-235.
  • Sarnat, E., G. Fischer, B. Guénard, & E. P. Economo. 2015. Introduced Pheidole of the world: taxonomy, biology and distribution. Zookeys 543: 1-109.
  • Economo E.P., E. Sarnat, M. Janda, R. Clouse, P. Klimov, G. Fisher, B. Blanchard, L. Ramirez, A. Andersen, M. Berman, B. Guénard, A. Lucky, C. Rabeling, E.O. Wilson, & L.L. Knowles. 2015. Breaking out of biogeographic modules: range expansion and taxon cycles in the hyperdiverse ant genus Pheidole. Journal of Biogeography 42: 2289–2301.
  • Economo E. P., P. Klimov, E. M. Sarnat, B. Guénard, M. D. Weiser, B. Lecroq, & L. L. Knowles. 2015. Global phylogenetic structure of the hyperdiverse ant genus Pheidole reveals the repeated evolution of macroecological patterns. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 282: 20141416 PDF
  • Liu C., B. Guénard, F. Hita Garcia, Sk. Yamane, B. Blanchard, & E. Economo. 2015. New records of ant species from Yunnan, China. Zookeys 477: 17-68. PDF
  • Sarnat E., B. Blanchard, B. Guénard, J. Fasi, and E. Economo. 2013. Checklist of the ants of the Solomon Islands and a new survey of Makira island. Zookeys 257: 47–88, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.257.4156. PDF



Last Page Update: 12-June-2016.