Pretty sure this is Camponotus yogi, but want to log this find as well as get confirmation from others.
1. Location: Chaney Trail, Altadena CA
2. Date: 1-28-2018
3. Habitat: Canyon riparian foothills, found crawling on an Oak tree
4. Length: 11mm
5. Coloration: Dark brown to black body, lighter yellow coloring on legs, similar to C. clarithorax
6. Distinguishing characteristics: A face only a mother could love, pitted, looks like it has been run over by tire tracks or doused with acid. Also has a dented gaster
It's been an unusually warm Winter here in Los Angeles. Decided to check the local foothills at Chaney trail to see what may have flown. Got there around 7:20, but they closed the gates at 8pm, so didn't stay long.
Found her the first ten minutes of getting out of the truck, which was surprising. Didn't expect to find anything, really. Initially thought it C. clarithorax. Found tons of C. clarithorax in the very same spot last year, so didn't think much of it.
When I got home, took a closer look with the macro and to my surprise it looks to be Camponotus yogi.
My initial thought was maybe last seasons C. clarithorax were also C. yogi. C. clarithorax are common, and just assumed that's what they were. I quickly took out last year's C. clarithorax and did a quick macro video and ID, and confirmed they were all C. clarithorax.
This was a cool find. This species is apparently rare, with only a three specimens on Antweb. There's not a whole lot of information about them. Drew told me he found one in September a few years back, so it's odd as to why this one is out so early. I am going back to Chaney tonight to look for more.
Here's a paper on them by Gordon's dad: