Bicolored Pyramid Ant

Dorymyrmex bicolor

Dorymyrmex bicolor photo © by Mike Plagens

Photographed in Creosote/Bursage desert, west side Estrella Mountain Wilderness, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. 19 April 2009.

Formicidae -- Ant Family

Pyramid ants need a source of sugars to survive. Natural sources for sugars in the Sonoran Desert environment include extrafloral nectaries on plants and homopteran insects which feed on plants. The growing tips of Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii) have orange-colored glands that produce sugar-containing nectar. By drawing pyramid ants to its growing point the cactus is partially protected from herbivores that might chew into the tender new growth. Pyramid Ants belong to the ant subfamily Dolichoderinae most of which can spray out a noxious smelling gas thus repelling most animals.

The nests of pyramid ants are constructed in loose soil or sand and a prominent pyramid of excavated sand surrounds the nest hole. Attackers that disturb the nest will get a face full of the dolichoderine smell and usually retreat.

Sponsored Links:

Dorymymex nest photo © Michael Plagens

This Dorymermex nest is position on a sandy terrace adjacent to a desert wash in the Estrella Mountain Wilderness.

More Information:

Sponsored Links:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 21 April 2009.