Nylanderia parvula

Nylanderia parvula, the most northerly species in its genus in North America.

I’m always vaguely embarrassed to admit to not having photographed common ants appearing in my yard. So with great relief, I can now say I’ve shot Nylanderia parvula, an adorable little formicine that nests under the bricks of our front walkway.

Nylanderia parvula

Distinguishing among the many similar, small species of Nylanderia can be tricky. This one is relatively easy, however. Nylanderia parvula is the only uniformly dark-colored species in eastern North America that has no standing setae on the antennal scapes.


photo details
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 200, f/13, 1/250 sec
diffuse twin flash

11 thoughts on “Nylanderia parvula”

  1. This is an important ant. It is probably one of the most common and abundant ants (top 3, perhaps) in the drier pine flatwoods ecosystems of the the southeastern coastal plain.

      1. By far in the Apalachicola Nat. For. Less so in some other sites. But basically my experience in Florida is that N. parvula is up there with P. morrisi and S. carolinensis in most shrubby flatwoods sites. P. arenivaga tends to be most abundant along trails, in open sandy spots, and roadsides whereas P. parvula is abundant everywhere else.

      2. Josh did say flatwoods, Alex, implying seasonally high water table, but N. arenivaga is the prevalent member of the genus in the highly drained “sandhill” vegetation. Down in peninsular Florida, N. parvula is largely replaced in such places by N. wojciki, and out in Texas by yet another one, undescribed at the moment, but coming soon . . .

        Anyway, gorgeous picture of this nice little ant!

        1. Dr. Trager: so, I thought I might have Nylanderi arenivaga in my sandy prairie sites in Fort Worth, TX. Could this be instead, this other you mention?

  2. I like the term, ‘adorable’. The size and position of the eyes gives Nylanderia a cartoon-like cuteness I’ve always appreciated. Odontomachus, not so much!

    1. @ABM – They’re easy to tell apart. N. arenivaga is all yellow, has big eyes, erect hairs on the scapes, and lives in deep, “excessively” (for agriculture) drained sands. The new one is less extensively yellow, found in the piney woods, has parvula-like eyes and scapes. Based on what you’ve told me about your study site, I’d say you’ve got the former.

      @Terry – I concur. 🙂

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