ID guide | introduced ants

Lucid key

About the Lucid key | System Requirements | Taxonomic & geographic scope | How to use the key | Best practices | Full screen version
Video tutorial: How to use the Lucid Key for ant identification

The Lucid key is an interactive, fully illustrated identification tool that allows you to diagnose over 100 species of synanthropic ants from across the globe. The key is designed to work most effectively by using the best and next best buttons (the icon on the menu bar looks like a magic wand) . Frequent users might want to review the best practices on occasion to pick up additional tips and tricks. For additional documentation visit the links above. Comments including errors, problems and questions can be posted and discussed below. Remember, native species are not included!

Useful tips > Use 'best' and 'next best' buttons | Use 'prune' button | Stop when you have one species remaining
You must select the "Features Available" window to access the "Find Best" and "Prune Redundants" buttons. Restart the key with refresh button on the far left.
Full screen key



Please post comments regarding any errors you've encountered, suggestions for improvement or questions. Your comments will help make future versions of the key more accurate and easier to use for everyone.

The 'antennal ridge present' character pops up too early for myrmicines with 3-segmented antennal clubs. It is a reliable but difficult character to interpret for novice ant taxonomists. It could at least come after 'propodeal spines present'.

If you experience any errors that prevent the Java Lucid Key from loading, please post what the error message was and what operating system and browser you were using. Thanks.

Workers of Nylanderia pubens will key out identically to Nylanderia fulva. According to Kallal et al (2012), "Workers of the introduced species fulva and pubens cannot be separated based on morphology. For morphological identification males are necessary. For further details see Gotzek et al. (2012)".

Submitted by User 1 (not verified) on

The Lucid key must be updated to correct the html codes or display for greater than and less than. Specifically, check the 'size' character for Solenopsis (&gt 2mm vs. &le 2mm).

The latest Java upgrade is blocking the Lucid key from loading in many situations. To fix this issue you can follow the following instructions (

As a workaround, the user can use Exception Site list feature to run the applications blocked by security settings. By adding the URL of the blocked application to the Exception Site list allows it to run with some warnings.

Steps to Add URL to the Exception Site list:

  • Go to the Java Control Panel (On Windows Click Start and then Configure Java)
  • Click on the Security tab
  • Click on the Edit Site List button
  • Click the Add in the Exception Site List window 
    Add url to Exception Site list
  • Click in the empty field under Location field to enter the URL
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith