Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lasius claviger Nuptial Flight

During the afternoon hours a storm of ants began pouring out of my compost pile. Lasius claviger is an ant usually know for nesting in soggy areas often under large stones. Though the grassy piles looks dead I assure you the interior is hot and soggy enough for many ants to nest.

Tall stems of grass and various Rose of Sharon stems I've been weeding out became mobbed by queens, in many cases, crawling over one another to take off.

A good size comparison between a male (left) and queen (right). Regardless of the color of the ant more often then not male ants tend to be black in color with few exceptions. Though they have met down here on the ground mating is strictly done up in the air. In this colony males were even sent out through a different entrance and several hours before the queens started emerging. This ensures that inbreeding is kept to a minimum.

Workers are slightly smaller if not the same size, but again we see how little color matters between castes. "Yellow" colored workers is a general term that covers a range of colors. Ant colors are often hard to describe so generalizing Yellow, Red/Brown, and Black are best. (There is also Green but not in North America.) Yellow workers is often a sign of a nocturnal forager and or a subterranean forager. Lasius claviger is a subterranean forager that feeds almost exclusively on dew producing root aphids.