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Queen Ant ID (Myrmecocystus cf. placodops) (Joshua Tree National Park, California) (11-28-2014)

joshua tree national park ant id dspdrew myrmecocystus honeypot ant queen ant

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 28 2014 - 10:13 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

1. Location of collection: Near Joshua Tree National Park, California.
2. Date of collection: 8-3-2014.
3. Habitat of collection: High desert.
4. Length (from head to gaster): 7 mm (major);  12 mm (queen).
5. Color, hue, pattern and texture: Red head and anterior thorax, dark grey/black gaster and posterior thorax (major); Red head, dark grey/black gaster and thorax (queen).
6. Distinguishing characteristics: 
7. Anything else distinctive: 
8. Nest description:

 

Queen 1

 

med_gallery_2_242_127282.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_390401.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_394945.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_232067.jpg

 

 

 

Queen 2

 

med_gallery_2_242_256527.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_379286.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_555661.jpg

 

 

Major

 

med_gallery_2_242_6701.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_613828.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_118245.jpg



#2 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 28 2014 - 10:16 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I am pretty sure this is either M. semirufus or M. placodops.

 

Only problem is the head is weakly orbiculate and M. placodops should be strongly orbiculate, not to mention I don't think they're really supposed to be found this far west.

 

But...

 

To be M. semirufus, the queen's longest occipital and mesoscutal hairs should be one half to one times the length of the eye, and the longest scutellar hairs no less than .9 times the eye length, yet none of those hairs are over .5 times the length of the eye. Also the queen's head width should be less than 2.3 mm, while her head width is at least 2.3.

 

By looking at my pictures, if anyone thinks I'm wrong about the hairs, let me know.



#3 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted November 28 2014 - 10:20 PM

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How dare you pin a queen!!! Just kidding, but where did you get the dead queen sample from? :P



#4 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 28 2014 - 10:48 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

It was one of the alates we found the day they flew. I might have saved some of the queens that have died too.



#5 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted November 28 2014 - 10:58 PM

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So, she died naturally? Or did she fall into the bottle of alcohol like the that Cardiocondyla queen?



#6 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 28 2014 - 11:08 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

She still had her wings, so she fell in unfortunately.

 

Edit: Now that I think about it, we found so many of these that I probably didn't bother to take a specimen, so she likely died later naturally.



#7 Offline Gregory2455 - Posted November 28 2014 - 11:16 PM

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You could have given her to me! :lol: Hahaha, I wonder why I found none... 



#8 Offline gcsnelling - Posted November 29 2014 - 6:26 AM

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Why are you rulinbg out M. mendax??


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#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 29 2014 - 7:34 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Edit: I think this actually could be M. mendax after all. I read part of the key wrong. Also MOD appears to have two definitions.

 

Well, for the M. mendax worker, the key says "Longest hairs on pronotal dorsum and disc of second tergum at least 0.6 x MOD, usually about 0.75 x MOD; head of major with margins, in frontal view, nearly parallel".

 

Took me a while to figure this out a while back, but so everybody knows, MOD is Maximum Ocular Diameter, pretty much the same as EL - Eye Length. Correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Not sure about my specimen's head shape, but the shortness of its hairs again--this time the worker and not just the queen.

 

As for the queen, to get to M. mendax the key says "Parapsis with punctures usually of two sizes and variably spaced, never uniformly dense; malar area usually with few or no standing hairs; HW usually less than 1.9 mm". "Parapsis closely, uniformly punctate; malar area with abundant standing hairs; HW usually in excess of 2.0 mm"

 

Not sure about the standing hairs on the malar area, without experience I don't exactly know for sure which of those would be considered standing, but it looked like quite a few to me.

 

med_gallery_2_242_487428.jpg

 

Then there is the head width, and the head width of this major is over 2 mm.

 

 

Edit: Fixed a mistake I made.



#10 Offline AntsAreUs - Posted November 29 2014 - 9:24 AM

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Drew I would say this is Myrmecocystus koso.


Edited by Gaige Daughtrey, November 30 2014 - 10:20 AM.


#11 Offline kellakk - Posted July 27 2015 - 11:23 AM

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Snelling 1976 defines MOD as "Minimum Ocular Diameter: The minimum diameter of the eye as measured with the head in full lateral aspect."  I think that means the horizontal distance across the eye, which is usually the shortest (as compared to the vertical distance, which would be the longest).  That may help you with your ID's if I'm right.


Current Species:
Camponotus fragilis

Novomessor cockerelli

Pogonomyrmex montanus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

Manica bradleyi

 

 


#12 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 28 2015 - 6:17 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Snelling 1976 defines MOD as "Minimum Ocular Diameter: The minimum diameter of the eye as measured with the head in full lateral aspect."  I think that means the horizontal distance across the eye, which is usually the shortest (as compared to the vertical distance, which would be the longest).  That may help you with your ID's if I'm right.

 

Where did you see that? Everything I have read defines MOD as Maximum Ocular Diameter, which is the largest diameter in any direction.

 

http://biostor.org/r...ence/95394.text

http://www.asu.edu/c...ym Res 2009.pdf

 

 

Edit: I found it. So it seems it means "Maximum Ocular Diameter" AND "Minimum Ocular Diameter". That should work well when keying out ants. I think I may have a question for the Myrmecologists Facebook group.


Edited by dspdrew, July 28 2015 - 6:37 AM.


#13 Offline kellakk - Posted July 28 2015 - 7:24 AM

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Well that's annoying. Probably best to go by how it's defined in the key that you're using though. It seems that R. Snelling defined MOD as minimum ocular diameter, while other authors have defined it as maximum Richland diameter.

Current Species:
Camponotus fragilis

Novomessor cockerelli

Pogonomyrmex montanus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

Manica bradleyi

 

 


#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 28 2015 - 9:24 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

He defined it in the key? I have been using the copy on AntWiki. AntWiki has a list of measurement acronyms, but doesn't include MOD.



#15 Offline kellakk - Posted July 28 2015 - 9:29 AM

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Yup, check the left column on the bottom of page 22.


Current Species:
Camponotus fragilis

Novomessor cockerelli

Pogonomyrmex montanus

Pogonomyrmex rugosus

Manica bradleyi

 

 


#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted November 17 2016 - 7:37 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Just got some new pictures of another queen.

 

med_gallery_2_242_256527.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_379286.jpg

 

med_gallery_2_242_555661.jpg







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: joshua tree national park, ant id, dspdrew, myrmecocystus, honeypot ant, queen ant

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