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Formica Argentea - Northglenn, CO - 5/10/18

camponotus carpenter colorado wild images pictures identification id formica argentea

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#1 Offline Waganga - Posted May 10 2018 - 11:37 AM

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Used the back yard ant colony as an excuse to break out the real camera today and mess around with getting my kit lens to go as macro as possible.
 
I think these guys are definitely some kind of camponotus. I originally inspected these workers, and I thought they might be Camponotus Modoc, but since then I have read a lot of antkeepers describing Modoc as having "purple" legs. I don't think these guys look like they have purple legs - they're pretty much jet black, unless the lighting is just right. Anyways, any opinions?
 
Location: Northglenn, CO, USA
Elevation: 5377'
Date: 5/10/2018
Habitat: Suburban back yard with lots of weeds, inactive sprinkler system, nearby garden.
Length: Workers ~5mm to ~10mm - Best image for measurement, pictured worker apx 7mm
Coloration: Appears black, sometimes very dark iridescent green when brightly lit
Pattern: No distinct pattern; seems black or greenish black all over with yellowish hairs on gaster
Features: One petitole node (difficult to note in pictures), no distinguishing spines, large head with large eyes; 11 antennae segments
Nest appearance: Ants are living in a very old looking stump, and in soil around stump. Rather than having a few obvious main entrances in the open, the top of their mound is primarily bare, it appears they have a ring of entrances around the base of the main nest mound that open directly into grass and weeds. Sometimes they open entrances on the bare top of the nest, but they usually seem to keep the top closed up. Nest appears most active in the daytime, and appears very quiet after sunset or early in the morning. 
Foraging behavior: Dislike open ground, but will cross open ground if they need to get somewhere; dislike climbing up, not typically seen more than 12 inches from the ground; Curious if not feeling threatened. Did not prefer to walk on white plate or small white dish, even when placed directly at the nest with bait on top. Will travel long distances - they seem to have a foraging superhighway along the bottom of the fence and ending ~100ft away in the neighbor's front yard.
Food preference: Seem very protein oriented. Will accept raw honey, but strongly prefer crumbled deli turkey lunch meat. Dislike cheese. Dislike oranges. Dislike peanut butter and nutella. Often seen carrying small insects or spider parts back to their nest. 

 

All images on Google Drive

 

Colorado Antweb for convenience

 

 


Edited by Waganga, May 10 2018 - 7:22 PM.

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#2 Offline LC3 - Posted May 10 2018 - 3:58 PM

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I'm not sure if these are even Camponotus, they appear to be Formica to me.


Colonies

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#3 Offline Martialis - Posted May 10 2018 - 4:14 PM

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Agreed.


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#4 Offline ACaseoftheMondays - Posted May 10 2018 - 4:57 PM

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The lunch meat pic especially looks like either F. Subsericea or F. Argentea. Time for a turkey sandwich.



#5 Offline Waganga - Posted May 10 2018 - 7:33 PM

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I think you guys are certainly right. I suppose I assumed they were Camponotus because of their size, and also their choice of nesting site? I didn't realize there were so many species of larger ant. They don't look much like the Formica pictured on Antweb, because those all look too brown to me, but they certainly do look exactly like the F. Argentea pictured here:

 

https://www.alexande...gus/i-STKpnhr/A

 

But, they also look a lot like the F. Fusca pictured here:

 

https://www.alexande...ica/i-vVs8spn/A

 

I think F. Argentea is more likely, but how would I go about determining which is correct? 



#6 Offline LC3 - Posted May 10 2018 - 10:48 PM

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Colorado has some the highest diversity of Formica in the world I believe (If not, the highest). I would suggest to not just confine the ID to two species although my knowledge of Formica is rather limited so I don’t really have much advice to give, sorry.

Colonies

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#7 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted May 11 2018 - 3:07 AM

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I suspect either Formica podzolicaFormica subsericea, or Formica argentea

 

Formica fusca is smaller and is a solid shiny black all over, rather than having stripes of different shades of black on the gaster.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, May 11 2018 - 3:08 AM.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: camponotus, carpenter, colorado, wild, images, pictures, identification, id, formica, argentea

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