The Ant Course Distinguished Service Award is presented by Ant Course to honor a lifetime of achievement in the study of ants. The Award is especially intended to acknowledge individuals who have through their research, their writing, or through their personal effort and example, have provided help, encouragement, training, or inspiration to others in Myrmecology, or who have opened the doors to a wider appreciation of ants for the public.

2009 Awards


Barry Bolton 
Barry Bolton stands astride the myrmecological world like a colossus. In the last thirty years he has done more to document and describe the diversity of the world’s ant fauna than any other ant systematist. Our modern understanding of ant subfamilies and genera is founded on his masterly Synopsis of the Formicidae, published in 2003. As if this wasn't enough, his Catalogue of the Formicidae (1995, 2007) provided ants with a modern catalog that makes up-to-date taxonomic information readily available, saving myrmecologists from endless errors and uncounted hours of labor. Even in retirement, new studies and revisions continue to flow from Barry’s pen like music from the mind of Mozart. Barry continues to act as a mentor, friend, and inspiration to a whole new generation of ant systematists. For these and many other reasons we are proud to present our friend and esteemed colleague Barry Bolton with the Distinguished Service to Myrmecology Award.


Roy Snelling

Roy Snelling (1934-2008)
As we all know, Roy Snelling was a true original – myrmecology will not likely see one like him again. Roy was a bundle of paradoxes. Scorning the trappings and rituals of formal education, Roy worked as hard as any academic and made himself into a world expert on the taxonomy of ants and bees. Prickly, profane, and a self-proclaimed barbarian, Roy maintained nearly monastic standards of discipline, care, and scholarship in his research and expected others to do the same. Professional cynic, infidel, and loud foe of all sentimentality and hypocrisy, Roy was quietly a warm friend, a generous soul with profound faith in the value of science, and possessed of a deep love of nature. Roy’s legacy is twofold. First, he has left numerous papers and monographs of enduring value that clarify the taxonomy of important ant genera. Second, he single-handedly built the Los Angeles County Museum ant collection into the priceless resource for myrmecology that it is today. For these and many other reasons, we proudly present the Distinguished Service to Myrmecology Award to our friend, the late Roy Snelling.

2003 Award

Dr. Wade Sherbrooke and Emily Sherbrooke

Dr. Wade Sherbrooke and Emily Sherbrooke
For their long and wise stewardship of the Southwestern Research Station, the crown jewel of North American field stations and the center of ant research in the American West, for providing assistance and encouragement at every step in developing the Ant Course, and most of all, for providing the Ant Course with a home.

2002 Awards

Dr. Howard Topoff

Dr. Howard Topoff 
For his long and illustrious career in ecology and behavioral biology, the breadth and depth of his pioneering research on slave-making ants and army ants, and his long-term fostering and encouragement of ant research in the Chiricahua Mountains

Prof. Dr. Bert Hölldobler
For the sustained excellence of his research concerning nearly every aspect of ant sociobiology, the critical role he has played in the training and development of a new generation of social insect biologists, and for his synthetic studies, that have brought to wonders of the ant world to an ever larger audience.

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