Red Wood Ants

Personal project

Detailed 3D models of the genders and castes of the European Red Wood Ant (Formica rufa). Created for my non-fiction book “The Ant Collective”.

The 3D models represent the female worker and queen, and the male drone. The models are based onto numerous collected and self-made images of ants. To correctly reproduce the external anatomy of Wood Ants, the 3D models were built as detailed as possible. Important aspects were the correct proportions, the color-scheme, and the hairs. Another important aspect was the flexibility of the models: All limbs and body parts can be moved so that the models can be staged in many different poses.


The female worker ants are relatively small, wingless and sterile. Nearly all ants in a colony are workers. They do a huge variety of works in the colony. For example: They take care of the queen and the brood, repair and expand the nest or leave the nest to forage for food.


Queen ants resemble large worker ants. Distinctive differences are the lack of long hairs, the voluminous thorax (it contains the flight muscles), the wings and the large glossy abdomen. The main purposes of queen ants are the founding of a new nest and the production of eggs.


Male ants look very different from female ants. Their body is dark, the head is small with large compound eyes, they are winged and the shape of the abdomen is lengthy. The only purpose of the short-living males is the copulation with virgin queens after the nuptial flight.