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Found in Benson Arizona. Possibly Formica sp.?


26 replies to this topic

#1 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 10 2018 - 12:29 AM

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1. Location (on a map) of collection: In my backyard in Benson Arizona (early evening around 4:30 pm at 65 degrees F. Low pressure system with light rain, elevation of 3,586')

 

2. Date of collection: 01/09/18
 

3. Habitat of collection: Desert with Flat ground, clay with small rock. Hard ground, lack of vegetation, with Mesquite trees nearby and Russian thistle 
 

4. Length (from head to gaster): almost 5mm (see attached photo)
 

5. Color, hue, pattern and texture: 2 tone, redish orange with dark gaster, almost black. rear set of legs dark brown to almost black. Over all shiny body and shiny gaster (whole gaster shiny, not just shiny at the segment lines) with small white hairs covering most of the gaster. Gaster has faint lighter bands after each segment.
 

6. Distinguishing characteristics: One petiole node, triangular in shape and forward facing, no spines seen.  profile of thorax has 2 gradual "humps". head is a soft sided triangle shape with oval semi large eyes. 12 segments on the antennae. Ocelli on top of head. 
 

7. Distinguishing behavior: non aggressive, (could be due to cold weather) found entering the nest of a very tiny unknown (to me) species that is known to raid my kitchen every summer that I call the sugar ants. Tiny, less than 1mm black ants. witch the species in question would take seeds and food from along with eggs and larva. 4 nests were found of the species in question and all 4 had the tiny black ants along with them. when the black ants were disturbed the species in question would run around frantically and shake. I experienced one bite at a nest at the base of a young mesquite tree, but no sting, my phone was how ever covered in the tiny black ants.
 

8. Nest description: Out of the 4 nests I found in my yard all but one were on bare hard ground, the nest was just a hole with a few small rocks and pebbles around along with "trash piles". when looking in the "trash" i found several severed heads of very well known aggressive species of ants, Trap jaws, Red and Black Harvesters, Black Carpenters, and a VERY large yellow colored ant at about 8mm to 10 in size. the 4th nest was at the base of a young mesquite tree, the nest had no real shape to the mound, just a hole in loose dirt. All 4 nests had tiny tiny black ants running in and out, and they too had there own nest with in 6 to 8 inches from the species in question's nest. 

 

Sorry for the lack of quality... All I have is a phone to take the photos with. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 10 2018 - 12:48 AM

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Another photo to add. I forgot to add a photo of the maxillary pulpae



#3 Offline Hunter - Posted January 10 2018 - 1:23 AM

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yea that's formica but idk what's in you area


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#4 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted January 10 2018 - 1:00 PM

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The image's noise reduction seems to have reduced quality by quite a bit. Formica is a tricky genus and we need all the detail we can get. A clear shot of the hair coverage, in profile, will be essential.


If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

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Black lives still matter.


#5 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 10 2018 - 4:02 PM

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Sadly I don't have that option on my phone. I did download a photo editing app, it removed the noise from the image but made it more blury.  The Sp. has most likely been identified as Formica gnava. The lack of aggression was caused by the massive cold spell I'm having in my area. 

 

Thank you though for your input. I will try harder next time. 


Edited by littlebandicoot, January 10 2018 - 4:13 PM.


#6 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted January 10 2018 - 6:07 PM

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Too hairy for Formica gnava.


If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#7 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 10 2018 - 7:13 PM

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Really? Any good guesses on your end? I can try to get a few better photos in true light tomorrow with a new lens I just got to see if that might help. But my camera is limited. But I will see what I'm able to get.

#8 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted January 10 2018 - 8:11 PM

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There is typically less noise to reduce with better light, so that may help. Noise reduction is built into a lot of cameras and it basically turns sharp edges into tiny, painting-like smudges.

I wouldn't be able to make a reliable guess without seeing more detail. She might even be out of the microgyna group.


If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#9 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted January 10 2018 - 8:35 PM

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Formica parasite for sure but I don't know which species...

Current colonies-

 

- 2 Camponotus chromaoides(1 colony has 4 workers, other 1 worker) 

- 1 Tetramorium immigrans colony(7 workers)

- 1 Aphaenogaster sp. queen(founding colony)

- 2 Lasius claviger queens with host workers. They don't seem to be doing well and workers are dying off :( 

- And a whole lot of Crematogaster queens

 

Species checklist(ants found so far)-

- Aphaenogaster teneseensis

- Aphaenogaster picea

- Aphaenogaster sp.

- Brachymyrmex patagonicus

- Camponotus castaneus

- Camponotus chromaoides

- Camponotus nearcticus

- Camponotus pennsylvanicus

- Camponotus subbarbatus

- Colobopsis impressus(dead queen... :*(

- Crematogaster sp.

- Formica pallidefulva

- Formica sanguinea

- Formica subsericea

- Hypoponera sp.

- Lasius claviger

- Lasius umbratus

- Lasius neoniger

- Lasius sp.

- Monomorium minimum

- Myrmica sp.

- Nylanderia flavipes

- Pheidole morrisi

- Pheidole bicarinata

- Pheidole dentata(all pheidole found were workers only :( )

- Ponera pennsylvanica

- Prenolepis imparis

- Strumigenys rostrate

‚Äč- Stigmatomma pallipes :dance2:  :dance: 

- Tetramorium immigrans

- Tapinoma sessile

 

Queens/colonies to Look for-

- Pheidole

- Trachymyrmex septentrionalis

- Polyergus

- Dolichoderus

- Myrmica

- Stigmatomma pallipes


#10 Offline Bryce - Posted January 11 2018 - 4:47 AM

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Looks like Formica perpilosa
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#11 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 11 2018 - 9:29 PM

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There is typically less noise to reduce with better light, so that may help. Noise reduction is built into a lot of cameras and it basically turns sharp edges into tiny, painting-like smudges.

I wouldn't be able to make a reliable guess without seeing more detail. She might even be out of the microgyna group.

I was not able to get any photos today in good light. I ended up pulling a double shift at work and didn't get home until dark. But I will try tomorrow (friday)

 

Looks like Formica perpilosa

Looking at it... you could be very right, that was one thing I noticed with the Formica sp, that a majority are not as shiny as this and what parts are shiny are located at the segments of the gaster. This little girl is a fuzzy wuzzy shiny thing. 

On another note... the ants in my back yard on bare ground are actually a different type, most likely still a 
Formica, but I was on my lunch watching them and saw that the're smaller in general and the're gasters are different in color and shine.  We had a warmer day today and they showed there true aggressive colors. The one I have collected and took the macro photos of is from the tree base nest. I'm not really to awful worried about ID of the yard ones, and the fact that all are most likely of the Formica sp. I'm not really able to have them as a first time ant keeper. 



#12 Offline gcsnelling - Posted January 12 2018 - 6:23 AM

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I have collected in the Benson area many times, you have a lot of cool ant options around that neck of the woods. I do not however have a good id for that ant. By the way, thank you for taking time to laboriously actually post your images in the messages.


Edited by gcsnelling, January 12 2018 - 6:48 AM.

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#13 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 12 2018 - 8:54 AM

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I have collected in the Benson area many times, you have a lot of cool ant options around that neck of the woods. I do not however have a good id for that ant. By the way, thank you for taking time to laboriously actually post your images in the messages.

Well judging by the yard ant's trash pile we have some really neat ones that have been on my "to see list". I'm really wanting to get my sights on the living ants of this species.

 

I used to mod a number of forums back in the day and ran one my self for a number of years... i hate when some one posts something and then 20 min later after 15 people ask for photos they post them up... if one is going to attach photos to a thread post, they should do it in the starting post.  lol


Edited by littlebandicoot, January 12 2018 - 8:56 AM.

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#14 Offline Hunter - Posted January 12 2018 - 8:56 AM

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when trap jaws get fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkked



#15 Offline gcsnelling - Posted January 12 2018 - 10:56 AM

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You can get some wonderful records by going thru trash piles.



#16 Offline littlebandicoot - Posted January 12 2018 - 11:38 AM

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Ohh yeah, and what gets me is how much bigger a majority of the dead species I found in the trash pile. Some were titan sized compared to the yard ants. I think they might be some sort of Raiders. 


Edited by littlebandicoot, January 12 2018 - 11:39 AM.


#17 Offline gcsnelling - Posted January 12 2018 - 12:19 PM

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Maybe Pheidole.



#18 Online nurbs - Posted January 12 2018 - 12:36 PM

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I have collected in the Benson area many times, you have a lot of cool ant options around that neck of the woods. I do not however have a good id for that ant. By the way, thank you for taking time to laboriously actually post your images in the messages.

Well judging by the yard ant's trash pile we have some really neat ones that have been on my "to see list". I'm really wanting to get my sights on the living ants of this species.

 

I used to mod a number of forums back in the day and ran one my self for a number of years... i hate when some one posts something and then 20 min later after 15 people ask for photos they post them up... if one is going to attach photos to a thread post, they should do it in the starting post.  lol

 

 

Good pics! A tad jealous of your location :)


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#19 Offline T.C. - Posted January 12 2018 - 12:38 PM

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when trap jaws get fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkked

Hate to be "that guy" but lets remember the community rules.

 

3. No posting any messages that are obscene, indecent, profane, vulgar, sexually oriented, or violate any US laws.


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#20 Online nurbs - Posted January 12 2018 - 12:40 PM

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If you squint your eyes really hard, their head looks like the back of a dude's butt making a yoga pose.  :lol:


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