Temporary Exhibit
A weaver ant on patrol for food or enemies.
A weaver ant on patrol for food or enemies - Photo Mark W. Moffett © National Geographic Magazine.
Inside an insect-eating pitcher plant
Some carpenter ants live where others wouldn’t dare— inside an insect-eating pitcher plant. - Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures
Leafcutter ants collect leaves not to eat, but to make compost for their crops of edible fungus. - Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures


Smithsonian Institution

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants

Ants. The word is small—and so are they—but their world is enormous! With complex and wildly diverse lifestyles, ants are everywhere, living lives mostly hidden from plain sight. But what if we could see into their world—on their level? What would we learn? And what similarities would we find between them and us?


Featuring the stunning photography of ant expert Mark Moffett, Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants highlights the fascinating lives of ants—hunting, communicating, dealing with disease and agriculture—and chronicles the work of entomologists in the field today. In addition to the large-scale color photographs, the exhibition features hands-on displays, including oversized ant models, and you’ll come face-to-face with beautiful insect fossils preserved in amber, ant predators (including humans!), live ant colonies, and live antlions! Ants, amber, and antlions? Oh my! And don’t forget about our live leafcutter ants on permanent display in the Discovery Room.


Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants, featuring the photographs of Mark W. Moffett, is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).