Anting in Gainesville, April 2013

Oak tree leafing out at Paynes Prairie State Park.

Earlier this month I gave a pair of talks at the University of Florida. The trip was fabulous! In addition to meeting a pile of exceptionally friendly people, I spent time with my myrmecologist friends Andrea Lucky and Lloyd Davis, hunting ants at Paynes Prairie State Park, Austin Cary Forest, and elsewhere around Gainesville.

Below, as promised, are a few of my photos from the visit. I’ve posted a larger set to this gallery.

Andrea Lucky and Lloyd Davis spot a Cyphomyrmex worker walking across a fire ant mound. Paynes Prairie.

Cyphomyrmex rimosus feeds its fungus garden with caterpillar droppings. At Austin Cary Memorial Forest.
My new Sigma 10mm wide-angle lens does a fine job capturing this Lasius neoniger mound at Paynes Prairie.
Thief ant, Solenopsis carolinensis, photographed at the Austin Cary Memorial Forest.
Lloyd Davis examines a fire ant mound at Paynes Prairie. Lloyd, before retiring, worked on Solenopsis invicta in a USDA lab.
A nest of Dorymyrmex bureni as looked upon by myrmecologists. Also taken with the Sigma 10mm fisheye.
Nylanderia faisonensis at Austin Cary Memorial Forest, nesting in rotting wood. This encounter was the first time I’ve seen this species in the field.
Crematogaster minutissima, Austin Cary Memorial Forest. As far as I can tell, this capture is the first photograph ever taken of this small, subterranean species alive.
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, a fungus-growing ant worker, carrying excavated soil from the nest. Photographed on the University of Florida campus
Formica pallidefulva poses for a photograph. In Florida this common species is much lighter in color than its conspecifics in Illinois.
Temnothorax pergandei, Austin Cary Memorial Forest
Not all ants are ants! This is the ant-mimicking jumping spider Synemosyna formica. Photographed on the University of Florida campus.
Synemosyna formica
At the end of the day, Andrea tallies the insects from Paynes Prairie.
This is not, I am told, an ant.

15 thoughts on “Anting in Gainesville, April 2013”

    1. Thanks, Josh. Is the Solenopsis identification based on geography, or morphology? What characters distinguish carolinensis from molesta?

      The Nylanderia is definitely N. faisonensis. I spent a bit of time squinting at the high-res photos, including some that I didn’t post, and the telltale hairs on the scape are visible.

  1. Both. S. molesta is not in FL. Thompson (mostly in her 1980 dissertation) is the authority, unless something has changed recently. Deyrup’s list follows Thompson’s work, so far as I understand it.

    S. molesta is a more robust ant, with a broader mesonotal area when viewed from above. Otherwise they are similar.

  2. James C. Trager

    Ah, the memories …..
    Re: The last photo. What you’ve been told is right; that’s not an ant. It’s a University of Florida undergraduate.

    S. caroliniensis is reputedly closer to S. texana than to S. molesta, as indicated by its (usually) paler color and very short funicular antennomeres. Like Josh wrote, Thompson is the authority, but my foremost criticism of her generally adequate work is that she didn’t include S. molesta for good measure. If so, her revision would have been good for all of eastern North America. Oh well. 🙁

    1. James C. Trager

      PS — Good to get the image of Crematogaster minutissma — No way it and C. missuriensis are conspecific!

        1. James C. Trager

          Formicidaefantasy – The ant at Konza is C. missuriensis.
          Josh – C. minutissima is smaller, yellower, and a forest litter dweller, and more southern.
          C. missuriensis is larger with brownish extremities and inhabits semi-open habitats, nesting in clay loams, often compacted, as in paths.

          1. Ahh, OK. I was just wondering your impression. They co-occur in many of my sites. C. missuriensis also has larger, propodeal spines, as opposed to smaller, more denticle like spines of C. minutissima.

          2. AntWeb is conservative in its nomenclature, formicidaefantasy. It uses the names in the most recent revision literature, even though we either know or strongly suspect some entities should be separate species. Email me for other cases, if interested.

    1. I would think that many more than 90% of insect species have not been photographed while alive. Most of our (taxonomic) interactions with insects involve dead specimens after all. And so many species are rather difficult to identify or even find.

      Could easily be wrong tho.

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