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big queen ant found in Texas


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#1 Offline JoJoAnt - Posted May 29 2023 - 3:59 PM

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Hi.  I found this big  queen ant under a rock.  I am in Marble Falls, Texas and she was in a sandy area not far from a lake.  I think I see wing scars on her back.  Can you help me identify it?


Here is another picture

 

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#2 Offline JoJoAnt - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:01 PM

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Here is another picture

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#3 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:18 PM

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Looks like camponotus chromaiodes to me though I don’t know if they get that far south. Maybe it’s a similar looking but different species vicinus maybe

Edited by Jonathan5608, May 29 2023 - 4:21 PM.

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#4 Online futurebird - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:33 PM

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chromaiodes do get that far south... but not that far west normally.  But Camponotus vicinus lacks the broad major-like head on the queen. This ant looks near identical to my chromaiodes queen. 

Are you in east TX by any chance?

 


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#5 Online futurebird - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:45 PM

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Oh here is a guide with some of the things to look for to sort this out. 

The location says Vicinus, but the features seem more chromaiodes... can you look carefully at the base of the scape and see if it is flat or round?

https://www.antscihu...bc-5297e37529ba


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#6 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:49 PM

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Camponotus sansabeanus
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#7 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted May 29 2023 - 4:57 PM

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chromaiodes do get that far south... but not that far west normally.  But Camponotus vicinus lacks the broad major-like head on the queen. This ant looks near identical to my chromaiodes queen. 
Are you in east TX by any chance?

It does have a similar color pattern at glance — a black base with red on the legs and front of the gaster. As you pointed out, the range doesn't match. But most crucially, this ant is mostly hairless, lacking the dense golden hairs that chromaiodes have. This ant is also very glossy while chromaiodes are more matte. Some more subtle differences include a different head shape, and while not visible from these photos, distinctly flattened antennae scapes.
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#8 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted May 29 2023 - 5:43 PM

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Camponotus sansabeanus

I thought the queen abdomen had more color with these

#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 29 2023 - 5:46 PM

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Camponotus sansabeanus

I thought the queen abdomen had more color with these

 

 

It's not even close to C. sansabeanus.



#10 Offline Jonathan5608 - Posted May 29 2023 - 5:56 PM

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Vicinus looks pretty convincing

#11 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted May 29 2023 - 7:40 PM

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I thought the queen abdomen had more color with these

Color is variable. Some morphs have queens with almost entirely orange gasters, and some nearly all black. For examples of sansabeanus queens, see here.

 

It's not even close to C. sansabeanus.

The sansabeanus group is extremely messy and in need of revision.  There are multiple separate species that all get thrown under the name C. sansabeanus (for example, the undescribed Albuquerque species, which I believe would currently key out to C. sansabeanus), so I can definitely believe that these Texan ones are quite different to the Californian ones that you're used to, but they're both called sansabeanus nevertheless. In fact, these Texan ones are the "true" sansabeanus since the type location is in Texas.

 

Vicinus looks pretty convincing

vicinus is pretty rare in Texas, only a few sparse populations in the western side of the state (I'm fairly sure that AntMaps is wrong here). vicinus are in a similar boat as sansabeanus, where there's more than one species being called vicinus, so there's no one set definition for what vicinus queens look like. vicinus queens are often more matte, not glossy like this queen, and in the cases that vicinus queens are smooth and glossy, the head shape is still different.

 

Compare against some AntWeb specimens -- sansabeanus first, this queen second, vicinus third:

image.pngimage.pngimage.png

 

If you want to be extra sure, here's the list of Camponotus species recorded from TX according to AntWeb:

  • C. acutirostris -- scapes not as flat basally
  • C. americanus -- head too skinny
  • C. atriceps -- too hairy, color doesn't match
  • C. caryae -- too small
  • C. castaneus -- wrong color, head too skinny
  • C. cuauhtehmoc -- too small
  • C. decipiens -- too small, color doesn't match
  • C. discolor -- too small, color doesn't match
  • C. festinatus -- head too skinny, color doesn't match
  • C. mina -- color doesn't match
  • C. ocreatus -- femurs black
  • C. pennsylvanicus -- color doesn't match
  • C. planatus -- color doesn't match
  • C. sansabeanus
  • C. sayi -- too small, color doesn't match
  • C. texanus -- color doesn't match
  • C. ulcerosus -- head not phragmotic, color doesn't match

EDIT: I was wrong, the Albuquerque species actually keys out to semitestaceus.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, May 29 2023 - 8:02 PM.

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#12 Offline Otter - Posted May 29 2023 - 8:01 PM

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Your nickname really fits here mr meticulous


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#13 Offline ReignofRage - Posted May 29 2023 - 8:01 PM

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It's not even close to C. sansabeanus.

 

The funny thing is Texas has true C. sansabeanus, in the sense that the original specimens used to decribe C. sansabeanus are from San Saba County, TX (where the epithet "sansabeanus" comes from). So, by technicality, these are as close to C. sansabeanus as it can get. If you use California C. "sansabeanus" to compare, this queen obviously will look like "It's not even close to C. sansabeanus" because CA doesn't really have many populations of actual C. sansabeanus.


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#14 Offline LucaHakase - Posted May 29 2023 - 8:02 PM

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Silly meticulous the ABQ Camponotus keys to semitesticle
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#15 Offline LucaHakase - Posted May 29 2023 - 8:11 PM

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Silly meticulous the ABQ Camponotus keys to semitesticle
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#16 Offline antsinvirgina - Posted May 30 2023 - 10:49 AM

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I agree with all of y'all :D



#17 Offline JoJoAnt - Posted May 30 2023 - 12:14 PM

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Thank you everyone!  Wow, I have a lot to study to figure this out.  I am in Marble Falls which is Central Texas.  I will try to take better pictures of her.  



#18 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 30 2023 - 9:14 PM

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It's not even close to C. sansabeanus.

 

The funny thing is Texas has true C. sansabeanus, in the sense that the original specimens used to decribe C. sansabeanus are from San Saba County, TX (where the epithet "sansabeanus" comes from). So, by technicality, these are as close to C. sansabeanus as it can get. If you use California C. "sansabeanus" to compare, this queen obviously will look like "It's not even close to C. sansabeanus" because CA doesn't really have many populations of actual C. sansabeanus.

 

I wasn't referring to the common ones that people incorrectly think are C. sansabeanus.



#19 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 30 2023 - 9:15 PM

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I have never seen a C. vicinus with a head that wide. I have never seen them with a head much wider than the thorax.



#20 Offline ReignofRage - Posted May 30 2023 - 9:40 PM

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I wasn't referring to the common ones that people incorrectly think are C. sansabeanus.

 

Nor was I.






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