Spine-wasted Ant

Novomessor albisetosus
(Aphaenogaster albisetosa)

Thread-wasted Ant, Aphaenogaster albisetosa, photo © by Mike P{lagens

Three ant sisters are working to remove a small pebble from the nest. Observed at Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona, 16 June 2014. These are large ants, about 6mm long not including the legs.

Formicidae -- Ant Family

Colonies of Spine-wasted Ants build nests in the gravelly alluvium high on the terraces near desert washes. They can be seen gathering all sorts of food items such as seeds, mesquite beans, insect parts and flower parts. Although they possess a sting they are not aggressive towards people and rarely sting even if picked up. The very long slender legs allow them to walk fast and perhaps avoid contact with super-heated soil. Two, long, reward-projecting spines extend from the propodeum and above the thread waste.

Thread-wasted Ant, Aphaenogaster albisetosa, photo © by Mike P{lagens

Near Ajo, Arizona, 11 March 2016, a worker is carrying a wolf-berry (Lycium). The seeds of Lycium are extreemly hard — it seems unlikely to me that the ants will be able to penetrate the hull and will eat only the sweet pulp.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 17 June 2014,
updated 3 Dec. 2017.