I now know they were named for their habit of raiding other ant nests, but I spent much of my childhood thinking they were some exotic tropical creature found in places like the…um…Amazon. I never thought to look for Polyergus locally. I was rather confused when, at age 12, I happened on a raid in upstate New York.
As it turns out, this is a common holarctic genus. Polyergus doesn’t get anywhere near the real Amazon- it is more at home on the sidewalks of suburban Illinois where I photographed the above individual.
Of course, alternative names for this ant aren’t necessarily any better.