The New Digs

Our yard here in Champaign is about the size of a postage stamp, but it is in an older part of town and the ant fauna isn’t half bad. In moving up from Tucson I’ve traded my desert harvester ants for a more midwestern fauna. Here’s what I uncovered yesterday in a few minutes of looking around:

Camponotus pennsylvanicus
Camponotus nearcticus

Lasius neoniger

Formica pallidefulva
group sp.
Paratrechina
sp.
Tapinoma sessile

Myrmecina americana
Tetramorium
“sp. E”
Ponera pennsylvanica

As a rule of thumb, older parts of town are better for ant diversity than newer developments. I’ve found this pattern nearly everywhere I’ve lived. The initial disturbance to put in development is severe: removal of trees, bulldozing, paving, seeding with dense turfgrass. Ant communities can take decades to rebuild, and they typically have to do it in the face of the pesty introduced species that thrive in new developments.

There are other reasons live in older neighborhoods, of course. Better architecture, for one. But I like the richness of a more mature ecological community.

4 thoughts on “The New Digs”

  1. Agreed, new developments are ecologically sterile. Glad to hear you’re flourishing in your new home. I’m sure the desert will miss you.

  2. James C. Trager

    That is probably F. pallidefulva itself, though I’ve seen F. incerta in one Bloomington neighborhood– where there weren’t many trees.

    I’ll be interested to learn which Paratrechina you have?

    Ahem! – Myrmicina?

  3. At some point I’ll have to stick all of these under the scope to confirm the ID. Thanks for the spelling correction, James.

    After writing that first list, I’ve since seen Solenopsis molesta and Temnothorax curvispinosus.

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