Ants. For every human on Earth, there are as many as one million of them. Despite their small size, all the ants in the world weigh as much as all the humans. But even more remarkable is the industry and focus displayed by ants. Fungus-growing ants developed agriculture 50 million years before humans. And many ant species can transport a burden 5 to 20 times their own body weight.
In the struggle to conserve biodiversity, some individuals also carry a load well beyond normal proportions. To recognize these individuals, and formally affiliate them with the ants we admire, CI created The Ant Society.
Dr. E.O. Wilson, a Harvard University professor who is a leading expert on ants and a long-time CI Board member, was instrumental in the creation of the society. In an extraordinary act of generosity, Dr. Wilson gave CI the naming rights to several of the new ant species he and other scientists had uncovered in their tropical research. CI, in turn, named the ants in honor of some of the organization's greatest supporters.
For actor and CI Vice Chairman Harrison Ford
, an ant found in Honduras and Belize was named Pheidole harrisonfordi
. To recognize long-time CI supporter Ann-Eve Hazen, an Ecuadorian species received the moniker Pheidole hazanae
. Two couples who have made a profound impact on CI's success were honored. For Charles and Helen Marie Hedlund, a Venezuelan ant species was named Pheidole hedlundorum
, and to recognize Gordon and Betty Moore, a species found in Veracruz, Mexico, was named Pheidole mooreorum
Dr. Wilson also honored two additional conservation champions with membership in The Ant Society: CI's own CEO and Chairman Peter Seligmann and President Russ Mittermeier. Pheidole seligmanni
and Pheidole mittermeieri
are the hardworking insects that now bear their names.