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Rover Ants

Brachymyrmex sp.

 
Brachymyrmex finding extrafloral nectar photo © by Michael Plagens

These ants were found on Annual Sunflower -- Helianthus annuus. They are gathered on the undersurface of a bract below the inflorescence flower head. Nov. 2012, Glendale, Arizona, USA.

Formicidae -- Ant Family

minute, very dark Brachymyrmex ants © by Mike Plagens Among the smallest ants in the Sonoran Desert, Brachymyrmex are very common in the urban and agricultural settings in the Sonoran Desert - there are several introduced species and this could be one of them. They are barely longer than a millimeter and move quickly over plant and other surfaces. A microscope and considerable expertise is required for specific identification. The sunflower may benefit by the presence of the ants in that they can deliver acidic gas in minute spray that could deter herbivores. The nectar secretions from the bract may thus be an enticement for the ants to help in protection.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 Nov. 2012