metallescens1

Pheidole metallescens, photographed in Gainesville, Florida

Mention a blue ant to any self-respecting myrmecologist and most will think of Australia. The great southern continent hosts an abundance of ants in spectacular metallic hues of blue, purple, and green. As you can see above, though, we Americans aren’t entirely bereft of iridescent formicids. I happened across these adorable little Pheidole in myrmecologist Andrea Lucky’s garden last week.

Not my best photo, unfortunately. But it does show the unusual structural color.