The other thing I don't get is the whole economics of ant taxonomy. It seems to be a fact that there is a lack of ant taxonomists. It also seems to be a fact that there is plenty of work for ant taxonomists to do. Talk to any myrmecologists and I suspect they all have boxes and boxes of specimens that they need to get to that may never see the light of day. The Harvard Ant Room certainly does. And there is still a ton of revisions that need to be done, descriptions that need to be written, phylogenies that need to be worked out. And very few people to do them all. Right at this moment, I would love to find someone to help me sort, pin, identify my ants -- but there's nobody. Anyone with the skills and/or interest is already doing it and busy with their own work. All of that would seem to indicate that there would be a market for ant taxonomists but somehow it doesn't work out that way. The job market is, as far as I can tell, miniscule, and not getting any larger. And so there is no incentive whatsoever for anyone to become an ant taxonomist. I'm not really sure what the answer to this problem is, but I find it quite perplexing and frustrating. And depressing.
This photo is from the Ant Course 2002 (my year). How many of these people will actually become taxonomists?