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Where to look for Pheidole?

pheidole pheidole bicarinata pheidole pilifera pheidole morrisii pheidole dentata illinois big-headed ants

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12 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted December 6 2017 - 5:24 PM

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So, as the title states, I'm (like many ant keepers) on a hunt for Pheidole. Ever since I started ant keeping, I've been wanting them. They are one of my dream species to keep. I know Pheidole queens are elusive, but I still keep looking every fall during their flight season. I also haven't seen them  on the GAN project in my area. Although, by looking, I mostly mean just staring at the ground and occasionally lifting a small rock or brick. Does anyone know any special tips for finding them, or at least what type of habitat they live in? I case you're wondering, the species around here are Pheidole bicarinata, Pheidole dentata, Pheidole pilifera, and Pheidole morrisii. Please help me if you have any info that might be useful! Thanks!


  • AntsMaryland likes this

Colonies:

  • Aphaenogaster rudis  —  Journal
  • Formica cf. neorufibarbis  —  Journal
  • Formica subsericea    Journal
  • Lasius neoniger —  Journal
  • Tetramorium immigrans  —  Journal

 

Queens:

  • Brachymyrmex depilisJournal
  • Formica subsericea x2
  • Lasius cf. claviger (Hibernating; No Host Colony)
  • Myrmecina americana  —  Journal
  • Prenolepis imparis x9

 

Other Animals:

  • Felis catus x5
  • Phodopus roborovskii x2
  • Various Fish
  • Younger Brothers x2

#2 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted December 7 2017 - 7:37 AM

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Pools and blacklight seem to be successful. They usually fly on humid days, but they are very tiny, and you might have missed a few.
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#3 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted December 7 2017 - 2:13 PM

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Pools and blacklight seem to be successful. They usually fly on humid days, but they are very tiny, and you might have missed a few.

Illinois is also a fairly elongated state that stretches through many different habitats. Pheidole might not even live in the area of Illinois that I'm in. That's why I'm asking what habitat they live in, so that I might be able to visit the right part of the state.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, December 9 2017 - 4:20 AM.

Colonies:

  • Aphaenogaster rudis  —  Journal
  • Formica cf. neorufibarbis  —  Journal
  • Formica subsericea    Journal
  • Lasius neoniger —  Journal
  • Tetramorium immigrans  —  Journal

 

Queens:

  • Brachymyrmex depilisJournal
  • Formica subsericea x2
  • Lasius cf. claviger (Hibernating; No Host Colony)
  • Myrmecina americana  —  Journal
  • Prenolepis imparis x9

 

Other Animals:

  • Felis catus x5
  • Phodopus roborovskii x2
  • Various Fish
  • Younger Brothers x2

#4 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted December 8 2017 - 7:56 AM

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They can live almost anywhere, I have seen them in the middle of the city in a desert, and there are tons up in the mountains near me. I have also found them in small forests.
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#5 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted December 9 2017 - 4:19 AM

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They can live almost anywhere, I have seen them in the middle of the city in a desert, and there are tons up in the mountains near me. I have also found them in small forests.

True, but I've never seen them here. The only place I've encountered Pheidole was when I was on a trip to North Carolina and saw a foraging trail harvesting a Cheez-It.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, December 9 2017 - 4:19 AM.

Colonies:

  • Aphaenogaster rudis  —  Journal
  • Formica cf. neorufibarbis  —  Journal
  • Formica subsericea    Journal
  • Lasius neoniger —  Journal
  • Tetramorium immigrans  —  Journal

 

Queens:

  • Brachymyrmex depilisJournal
  • Formica subsericea x2
  • Lasius cf. claviger (Hibernating; No Host Colony)
  • Myrmecina americana  —  Journal
  • Prenolepis imparis x9

 

Other Animals:

  • Felis catus x5
  • Phodopus roborovskii x2
  • Various Fish
  • Younger Brothers x2

#6 Offline EllisWyatt - Posted December 31 2017 - 5:37 PM

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My first (and so far only) queen I'm pretty sure is a Pheidole bicarinata. I found her on a sidewalk alongside a sandy vacant lot on the slope of a hill. In researching what species she might be I remember that www.antwiki.org has info like habitat. For example, the habitat entry for Pheidole bicarinata says, "This species has a preference for open sites with sandy soils and habitats that are at the moister end of dry (e.g., grasslands and valley bottoms in arid areas), at least in the west. It also inhabitats sites that have some but not all of these characteristics. Gregg (1963) stated Pheidole bicarinata in Colorado was a Sonoran Zone species. In the eastern US (Carter, 1962; Wilson 2003) this ant is common in fields and open grassy locations, including in ruderal sites (sidewalks, lawns, and along the shoulder of roads)." Those entries might help you narrow it down. May the odds be ever in your favor.

 

Edit: I forgot also that www.antweb.org has very detailed info compiled of where species have been found. For example, here is the Pheidole bicarinata entry for habitat:

Found most commonly in these habitats: 10 times found in foredunes, 3 times found in cottonwood dunes, 5 times found in desert, 2 times found in scotch pine dunes, 3 times found in desert grassland, 2 times found in deciduous woodland, 2 times found in Jack pine dunes, 2 times found in black oak dunes, 2 times found in desert scrub, 2 times found in salt desert scrub, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 12 times under stone, 6 times nest under stone, 4 times nest in soil, 2 times in soil, 2 times nocturnal foragers, 1 times in dead wood and soil, 1 times ex spider middens under adjacent stones, 2 times ex sifted leaf litter, 1 times strays, 1 times nests under rocks, 1 times nests and foragers on soil, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 28 times search, 8 times under rock, 4 times log stage 2, 2 times bait, 0 times direct collection, 3 times hand collecting, 1 times under stick, 1 times log stage 4, 1 times log stage 5, 1 times under wood, sparse grass, 1 times on sand, ...


Edited by EllisWyatt, December 31 2017 - 5:41 PM.


#7 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 31 2017 - 8:37 PM

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Out here in the Southwest, I can catch them by the hundreds with a black light. We have a lot of Pheidole here.



#8 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted December 31 2017 - 8:47 PM

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A body of water with a light to attract alates works well, you could also go around different neighborhoods flipping garden bricks. I tend to find Pheidole to be a common neighborhood ant. 


  • Mettcollsuss likes this

My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK90shiLguOZBECXtwr1M7A

 

My Colony Adoption: http://www.formicult.../?hl=ants_texas

 

Colonies:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Camponotus discolor 

Crematogaster laeviuscula

Pseudomyrmex gracilis x3

Solenopsis invicta 

 

Wishlist:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus sansabeanus

Camponotus vicinus

Myrmecocystus sp.

Novomessor sp.

Odontomachus sp.

Pogonomyrmex sp.

 

 

 

 

 

 


#9 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted January 1 2018 - 4:29 AM

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Out here in the Southwest, I can catch them by the hundreds with a black light. We have a lot of Pheidole here.

Lucky. There are only 4 native Pheidole species here, all of which are super elusive.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, January 1 2018 - 4:29 AM.

Colonies:

  • Aphaenogaster rudis  —  Journal
  • Formica cf. neorufibarbis  —  Journal
  • Formica subsericea    Journal
  • Lasius neoniger —  Journal
  • Tetramorium immigrans  —  Journal

 

Queens:

  • Brachymyrmex depilisJournal
  • Formica subsericea x2
  • Lasius cf. claviger (Hibernating; No Host Colony)
  • Myrmecina americana  —  Journal
  • Prenolepis imparis x9

 

Other Animals:

  • Felis catus x5
  • Phodopus roborovskii x2
  • Various Fish
  • Younger Brothers x2

#10 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted January 1 2018 - 9:46 AM

Ants_Texas

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Out here in the Southwest, I can catch them by the hundreds with a black light. We have a lot of Pheidole here.

Lucky. There are only 4 native Pheidole species here, all of which are super elusive.

 

You might have to travel to find Pheidole. I have to go miles from my area to find anything but Solenopsis invicta. Perhaps your area has a dominating species? 


My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK90shiLguOZBECXtwr1M7A

 

My Colony Adoption: http://www.formicult.../?hl=ants_texas

 

Colonies:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Camponotus discolor 

Crematogaster laeviuscula

Pseudomyrmex gracilis x3

Solenopsis invicta 

 

Wishlist:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus sansabeanus

Camponotus vicinus

Myrmecocystus sp.

Novomessor sp.

Odontomachus sp.

Pogonomyrmex sp.

 

 

 

 

 

 


#11 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted January 1 2018 - 2:41 PM

Mettcollsuss

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Out here in the Southwest, I can catch them by the hundreds with a black light. We have a lot of Pheidole here.

Lucky. There are only 4 native Pheidole species here, all of which are super elusive.

 

You might have to travel to find Pheidole. I have to go miles from my area to find anything but Solenopsis invicta. Perhaps your area has a dominating species? 

 

In my area, the dominant species are Prenolepis imparis and Tetramorium immigrans.

 

Camponotus pennsylvanicus, Tapinoma sessile, Ponera pennsylvanica and Brachymyrmex depilis are also common around here, but not dominant.

 

The only 3 ants left that I want to keep (of the native ants of course) are Crematogaster, Pheidole, and Trachymyrmex septentrionalis. They're all native to Illinois, but not my part. That's why I started this thread. To know what areas of Illinois I might be able to travel to in order to find them.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, January 1 2018 - 2:42 PM.

Colonies:

  • Aphaenogaster rudis  —  Journal
  • Formica cf. neorufibarbis  —  Journal
  • Formica subsericea    Journal
  • Lasius neoniger —  Journal
  • Tetramorium immigrans  —  Journal

 

Queens:

  • Brachymyrmex depilisJournal
  • Formica subsericea x2
  • Lasius cf. claviger (Hibernating; No Host Colony)
  • Myrmecina americana  —  Journal
  • Prenolepis imparis x9

 

Other Animals:

  • Felis catus x5
  • Phodopus roborovskii x2
  • Various Fish
  • Younger Brothers x2

#12 Offline Wilbo62 - Posted March 13 2018 - 8:53 AM

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I live in Chicago too and last year I had the same question. So to answer it I took a little detour while seeing the eclipse and stopped at a forest preserve called "Lake MurphysBoro". Lo and behold I saw some Trachymrymex colonies with their distinct crescent shaped hills in the sand. They are not the most common of ants, but you might have some luck in that area if your up for the drive. I don't know about Pheidole or Crematogaster, i've never had any luck with those species either.


Edited by Wilbo62, March 13 2018 - 11:40 AM.

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#13 Offline Ants4fun - Posted March 13 2018 - 8:04 PM

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I've found that pheidole bicarinata don't fly at night, and instead can be found in the early afternoon or so. Look around parks or nature reserves though. I don't usually find them in the city.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pheidole, pheidole bicarinata, pheidole pilifera, pheidole morrisii, pheidole dentata, illinois, big-headed ants

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