Thursday, July 26, 2012
Ant Chat Episode 39: The First Annual New Jersey Ant Together
On Sunday July 22, a few of us ant enthusiasts got together at the Rancocas Nature Center and Turkey Swamp Park to see what we could find.
We spent most of the day at Rancocas where we found a lot of the usual suspects among ants. Camponotus chromaiodes, C. pennsylvanicus, assorted Aphaenogaster, Formica and Lasius species. Most of these are ants you can find in your own backyard or local park provided there are trees around, dread wood present, or rocks to look under.
Some of the rarer ants though included a Pyramica colony, which are specialized predators of springtails and only found in leaf litter and rotting wood.
The Pyramica colony we found in better detail thanks to Matt.
specialized predator of centipedes. After taking down a pray item they haul it back to the nest for their larva to devour. In normal ant societies the larva would then regurgitate the digested food for the workers, however these ants don't do that. Their common name Dracula Ants because the workers will puncture their own larva in nonlethal ways to feed on the hemolymph (insects blood) within. A pretty cool find if I do say so myself.
Overall this was a successful ant trip, and I hope to do this again next year.