Ant or other insect

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The ant or other insect is a monster class that appears in NetHack, and is represented by the lowercase a glyph (a). Ants and insects are designated internally by the macro S_ANT.[1]

The monster class contains the following monsters:[2]

Common traits

Ants and insects are are neutral-aligned animals that have limbs, but no hands. They are carnivorous with the exception of both bees, and are also oviparous with the exception of the giant beetle.

Centipedes and spiders are arthropods but not insects, and are instead part of the arachnid or centipede monster class, s. Fantastic insects such as the xan constitute their own monster class.


Randomly generated ants and insects monsters are always created hostile.

The clerical monster spell summon insects will generate ants and insects unless the monster class is extinct or genocided, in which case snakes are generated instead.[3]

The ant or other insect is the first quest monster class for Valkyries, and make up 24175 of the monsters that are randomly generated on the Valkyrie quest. Ants and other insects may also be generated on floors below the home level of the quest branch at level creation: one is generated on each of the upper filler level, the lower filler level(s), and the locate level, and two are generated on the goal level.


Most of the insect monsters (particularly the ants) have high speed along with attacks that are often poisonous or decently strong, making them early-game menaces - the movement speed also makes the weaker attacks like those of the giant ant tough to contend with. Even the much-slower giant beetle, which has a speed of 6, has a bite attack that is the strongest among its monster class.

It is usually not considered worthwhile to genocide any insects with the exception of the soldier ant, which are a significant early-game hazard - while it is possible to take out soldier ants through other means, genociding them can be useful as a form of last resort or emergency option. Otherwise, the insects summoned by hostile priests in Moloch's Sanctum and on the Astral Plane can serve as a valuable barrier between you and most of the tougher monsters (minus the Riders).



SLASH'EM introduces several new insects:


SporkHack adds one new insect:


UnNetHack adds two new insects:


EvilHack adds a few new insects:

If the summon insects monster spell is cast by Lolth or a drow monster, they will summon arachnid or centipede monsters instead of insects.