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#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 16 2013 - 11:33 PM

  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Anhzor and I headed out to the desert to check out a few other places. Again, this is going to serve as an ID thread for a few of the species I did not know, and the ones I was unsure of, so if somebody can help me out with those I would appreciate it.


First we stopped at Whitewater Preserve very early in the morning while it was still cool out. This place was kind of a desert scrub type habitat and had water running there because of all the recent rain. Here's what we found:


Pogonomyrmex californicus


Pheidole xerophila


Messor pergandei





Forelius sp.





Formica francoeuri (Again, I'm not sure, because this time we are in more of a desert habitat. This had a redish brown head and thorax, and a very dark brown or black gaster. It was also 5.5 mm in length.)











At this point we headed over to Mission Creek Preserve, just on the other side of the eastern ridge from Whitewater Preserve. This place was pretty much the same kind of habitat as the last place.


Aside from a lot of the same ants we found at Whitewater Preserve (minus the Formica), we also found:


Dorymyrmex bicolor


Pogonomyrmex rugosus


Solenopsis xyloni (We found a dead queen in the middle of a long trail of them moving their nest.)


Myrmecocystus sp. (This was 5 mm in length, with a redish orange head, yellowish orange thorax, and black gaster.)











The last place seemed better, so we decided to go back there for a while longer. By now it was getting very hot out, and it looked like most of the ants were already closing up their nests for the hottest part of the day. We did manage to find what looked like a very dark brown and small Myrmecocystus species.


Myrmecocystus sp. (These ants were all about 4mm long, very dark brown, and behaved exactly like Myrmecocystus. Also, these were probably the fastest moving ants I've ever seen. When they moved it looked almost like the wind was blowing them.)













#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 15 2014 - 5:16 PM

  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Myrmecocystus sp. (This was walking right next to the previous ants' nest. It looks like a different species to me, but I don't know, I was kind of wondering if it could maybe be a larger ant from the colony above. It was also dark brown, but about 5.5 mm in length.)















Later in the evening in this same spot we found:


Myrmecocystus sp. (What looks like the same redish orange and black ones we found at Mission Creek.)


Pogonomyrmex rugosus (We found a dead alate right next to the car when we were leaving.)


For our last stop, we decided to go back to the area near Joshua Tree National Park, where we could look for queens from the evening into the night, and run a black light for a while. While we never found anything but a couple very small male ants on the black light, we were lucky enough to walk up on the end of an Acromyrmex versicolor nuptial flight. I was showing Anhzor the Acromyrmex nest, when next to it we noticed tons of what looked like some sort of freshly dug ant nests. A second later he spotted an A. versicolor queen walking by and grabbed it. At that point we then noticed TONS of them, all in the process of digging their founding chambers. Apparently these didn't fly but a few feet from what was obviously their original nest. These queens were all digging under the same tree as that nest, and all within inches of each other. We collected about 30 each since we had no idea if they would still be carrying their fungus pellet or not. A little ways away by another nest, we found a bunch of dying males. It's still hard to figure out how exactly this all went down based on where everything was located, but I'm pretty sure it took place probably just hours before we got there. Pretty amazing that we just happened to show up the day they flew; I never expected that to happen once I saw they didn't fly the first day after the rain. I wonder what made them wait two weeks after the rain storms started coming through the area.


Here's a picture of the founding chambers we first noticed.





Acromyrmex versicolor (queen)










New A. versicolor queen digging her founding chamber.



Three more species of ants we found that I didn't find the first time I was out there were:


Cyphomyrmex sp. (We found some workers foraging around right next to the Acromyrmex queens.)


Pheidole vistana


Pheidole sp. (This looked slightly different than P. vistana to me, yet very similar and close to the same size (~3 mm minors). After taking these pictures, I can now see that it's slightly shorter and wider than the pictures I have of P. vistana and its legs and antennae don't look quite as long. Could this be P. desertorum or is it just a slightly stockier P. vistana?)


Edit: After keying these out, I confirmed they are P. desertorum.













If anybody has any information about keeping Acromyrmex versicolor, please share it with us. I really would like to know about their fungus, and whether or not we still have a chance to raise these ants. For right now, I have all of mine in test tubes, and I think Anhzor does too.

#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted July 15 2014 - 5:45 PM


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Acromyrmex versicolor flew today?!

#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 15 2014 - 5:53 PM

  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Haha no.


"Dspdrew's and Anhzor's Mojave Desert Anting 9-8-2013"

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: mojave desert, pogonomyrmex californicus, messor pergandei, pheidole xerophila, mission creek preserve, whitewater preserve, myrmecocystus, acromyrmex versicolor, pogonomyrmex rugosus, pheidole vistana, forelius, dspdrew, ant id, anhzor

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