Location: Big Pine Trail, CA
Habitat: Sierra Nevada Mountain range, 9000-10,000ft of elevation
Coloring: Bright orange gaster with darker striations, darker orange/brown head and thorad
Distinguishing characteristics: Thorax coloring as well as gaster initially reads as a Myrmecoystus
VIDEO can be found on Instagram:
For the first time in nearly ten years of hardcore anting, found something in California that I could not positively ID. This beautiful bright orange queen was found at Big Pine trails up 10,000 ft of elevation in the California sierra nevada mountain range. I’ve included pics of the environment. She’s in the Formicinae subfamily. At first thought she was a Myrmecocystus because her coloring, but her maxillary palps said otherwise. She is about 12mm, maybe 14mm because her gaster seems swollen. Her size and coloring is throwing me off. Believe she is some species of Formica and not Camponotus as there is no space between her scapes and clypeus.
Her coloring is absolutely beautiful and fascinating. Never seen a formica with these markings.