It's that time of year again where I recap the best my photography skills had to offer for the year.
collembolans. Because they're subterranean one has to more or less chance upon them or sift through the right material. Around the world this genus gets quite colorful. Check them out on Ant Web.
Proceratium specimen. These use a different method of hunting. The tip of their abdomen is unusual looking because the tip naturally curls around to point forward. This makes stinging pray items easier while hunting in tight enclosed spaces.
An ominous black stain in the late spring/summer time is more than likely a battle between two colonies of pavement ant, Tetramorium species E. (The E is thanks to their taxonomic limbo at the moment... I wish they'd made it stand for something at least like erecta.
Alex Wild who is a very well respected insect photographer featured this image on his blog. Though he color corrected it to make a better image. This species is normally black in color but a few colonies around here tend towards being dark brown or slightly bicolored.
Camponotus chromaiodes is very common in the Pine Barrens and I'm thrilled they've decided to nest here. They differ from Camponotus novaeboracinsis in the amount of hair on the gaster/abdomen and the amount of red on the mesosoma. C. chromaiodes always has black shoulders while C. novaeboracinsis is solid red. These traits vary somewhat within the colony but are the standards among the largest workers in the colony.The color patterns of queens is another matter. C. chromaiodes is as seen above, with a little bit of red under the mesosoma and somewhat on the gaster. C. nobaeboracinsis queens tend to have more red on the mesosoma and less on the gaster.
Hopefully I can keep this colony alive and report more on them in later posts. I may even try to setup a fragment colony of host workers and brood so I can document them raiding it someday.