Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some Camponotus Queens

Camponotus castaneus queen.
I found this beauty behind work yesterday. She was standing still by a light near on of the fire exits. I'm thrilled that I can still find these despite half the adjacent forest land being demolished for a Walmart. What makes these queens so special is they're pretty much the only solid orange Camponotus species... in my region anyhow. Off the top of my head there are some bright Camponotus of the south west but I don't think any of them are solid orange. Another species that I don't see that often is Camponotus americanus which has more black in it's coloration but can be just as orange. Both nest underground as opposed to in wood. However, they're always found in forests or around trees. So despite their ground nesting habit they're still bound to the same foraging habits as most other Camponotus.  

Camponotus species queen.
Another species I found flying now, is this Camponotus that I can't ID. She's in the Myrmentoma group, which are basically small Carpenter ants. Given my region Camponotus caryae, Camponotus discolor, or Camponotus nearcticus are the most likely possibilities. And to be honest I'm not certain which, as all three species seem to be present in my yard.What I find neat about this group is that they're able to nest inside of hollow stem plants. Thus you can find them a little farther out of the forest than larger Camponotus but their colonies don't get as big.