Monday, May 18, 2009

Pheidole Digging

Pheidole are some of the neatest ants around. Their common name is Big Headed Ant because, despite their very small size, they have a major caste with a significantly developed head. This is mostly used for crushing seeds open, though I think a few species have a few other uses for them. Otherwise majors are just used for food storage.

These are the ants I hear everybody say they want. But they often forget how small they are. There are also 625 species world wide, according to "Pheidole of the New World." world wide. And if I count correctly 81 of these occur in North America, according to "Ants of North America." Though I can't speak for every species I can say the few that I encounter are about 2mm long. And for most of those the major caste isn't much bigger.