Jeannette and George Wheeler Ant Collection

Wheeler Ant Collection

The Jeanette and George Wheeler’s Ant Collection is a globally significant collection of ants, composed of 24 Cornell drawers of pinned adults, nearly 4,000 lots of alcohol-preserved adults and their larvae, plus 2,000 slide preparations of larvae, all immaculately curated and identified to species. From about 1950 to 1990, George and Jeanette Wheeler were the main authorities in the study of ant larvae. In over 100 publications they described characters and coined terminology, establishing the baseline for our knowledge of the diversity of larval forms in ants. As the Wheelers established their reputation, it became routine for ant taxonomists to outsource larval descriptions to them. Upon describing new genera or species, based strictly on adult characters, taxonomic luminaries such as Bill Brown and Walter Kempf would send representative samples to the Wheelers who would then mount several adults for their synoptic collection and published morphological studies of the larvae. As a result, they accumulated a remarkable synoptic collection of the world's ant fauna. This collection is now part of the UAIC and is extremely valuable not only for its coverage of global ant diversity, but even more as the archived vouchers linking the Wheelers many publications to modern taxonomic concepts.