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Variation in Camponotus pennsylvanicus

camponotus camponotus pennsylvanicus carpenter ant anting polymorphism polymorphic majors castes major worker workers observations illinois indiana ants question

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted June 10 2018 - 2:36 PM

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So, I recently went camping in Indiana, and since I was in the forest, Camponotus was everywhere. C. pennsylvanicus in specific. I noticed that the  C. pennsylvanicus there had a LOT of majors. I think I may have seen more majors and supermajors than minors. However, what confused me was the size difference between C. pennsylvanicus there and here. The minors and queens are the same sizes in both places, but the majors there were definitely larger. While I was there, I regularly saw majors that were this big:

 

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While here in Illinois, I have never seen a C. pennsylvanicus larger than this one:

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Does anybody know why there is such a drastic size difference?

 

EDIT: The C. pennsylvanicus there were also much shinier than the ones here.


Edited by Mettcollsuss, June 10 2018 - 2:44 PM.


#2 Offline Ants_Texas - Posted June 10 2018 - 3:11 PM

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Massive wild colonies will typically send out more majors than minors to forage. I think what you experienced in Indiana was just a larger colony of Camponotus pennsylvanicus, which was able to get more food. Lots of protein = large workers. 


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My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK90shiLguOZBECXtwr1M7A

 

Colonies:

Aphaenogaster sp., Camponotus festinatus, Camponotus cf. fragilis, Camponotus sansabeanus, Camponotus sp., Colobopsis impressa, Crematogaster cf. laeviuscula, Crematogaster minutissima, Crematogaster sp., Dorymyrmex bicolor, Myrmecocystus mendax, Nylanderia terricola, Nylanderia sp., Pheidole bicarinata, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, and unidentified species.

 

Queens: 

Monomorium minimum


#3 Offline Mettcollsuss - Posted June 10 2018 - 3:39 PM

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Massive wild colonies will typically send out more majors than minors to forage. I think what you experienced in Indiana was just a larger colony of Camponotus pennsylvanicus, which was able to get more food. Lots of protein = large workers. 

ah, that makes sense. Thank you!



#4 Offline LC3 - Posted June 10 2018 - 3:51 PM

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Also mature colonies tend to have a higher percentage of majors to minors in general, since minors tend to die more easily and have shorter lifespans. The eventual trend is an accumulation of majors.
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#5 Offline Canadian anter - Posted June 10 2018 - 6:18 PM

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Colder areas also have more majors.


Visit us at www.canada-ant-colony.com !

#6 Offline CampoKing - Posted September 9 2018 - 9:30 PM

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I'll point out that C. pennsylvanicus has three worker sizes: minor, medium, and major.
That Indiana forest you visited may have had older colonies with the resources to raise many majors.
Most intermediate colonies will have a lot of medium workers, which may be what you see back in Illinois.
The minor workers, of course, stay almost exclusively inside the nest and focus on feeding larvae.

The availability of food, in all cases, is a big factor in how many ants of each worker size a colony will raise.

Edited by CampoKing, September 9 2018 - 9:31 PM.

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#7 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted September 18 2018 - 8:59 PM

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I'll point out that C. pennsylvanicus has three worker sizes: minor, medium, and major.
That Indiana forest you visited may have had older colonies with the resources to raise many majors.
Most intermediate colonies will have a lot of medium workers, which may be what you see back in Illinois.
The minor workers, of course, stay almost exclusively inside the nest and focus on feeding larvae.

The availability of food, in all cases, is a big factor in how many ants of each worker size a colony will raise.

I agree, except with the minor workers staying in the nest. Minor workers are the backbones of both the foraging and brood raising parts of a Camponotus colony, and are present in abundance in both roles of a large colony.

Regarding the original question, shininess may indicate that the ants you found in that locality hybridized in a distant past lineage with a closely related species, that happens to be a bit larger and shinier.

It is also quite possible that the colonies you saw in the forest were more mature than the ones in your are, and therefore are producing larger workers.

Edited by YsTheAnt, September 18 2018 - 9:02 PM.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: camponotus, camponotus pennsylvanicus, carpenter ant, anting, polymorphism, polymorphic, majors, castes, major worker, workers, observations, illinois, indiana, ants, question

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