Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D.
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, diffused twin flash
Posts Tagged ‘Pogonomyrmex’
While in Arizona, I chanced upon a set of ant fights that I’d observed several times previously. Single workers of the maricopa harvester ant Pogonomyrmex maricopa would approach a nest of their competitor, Aphaenogaster long-legged ants, and spend a few minutes drawing heat from the guards before wandering off.
The interaction is common enough that it really couldn’t be just a chance encounter. Are the Pogos doing this for a reason? Are they distracting the Aphaenogaster from foraging? And, are there any myrmecology students in Arizona who need a little research project? It’d be great to figure out the purpose of the fights.
photo details (all photos): Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, twin flash diffused through tracing paper
No, I haven’t forgotten you all. We’re still busy moving to the new house. Blogging will remain slow until we get the internet connected, and given the way that AT&T has managed to botch just about everything else so far I don’t know if that will happen any time soon. (There’s really nothing like the sluggish, incompetent service that AT&T provides. But, at least it’s overpriced.)
If you need an ant fix, click on this for a slide show of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants.
Ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex (“Pogos”) are known to myrmecologists as the classic harvester ants of North American deserts. They are conspicuous insects, the most noticeable of the desert ants, and something of a model organism for studies of ecology. Numerous scientific papers on pogos are published each year, and one species- Pogonomyrmex californicus– is mailed to school classrooms around the country to populate those plastic ant farms.
It’s easy to forget amidst the celebrated riches of North American pogos that South America also holds a great number of species. In fact, it is likely that the genus first arose in South America; the southern pogos display a greater variety of morphologies and inhabit a broader swath of habitats.
Yet, these austral pogos are largely ignored. Consider the results of a quick google search: