The Midwestern Ant Season Begins With Prenolepis Mating Flights

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Prenolepis imparis
At noon, winged ants amass at the nest entrance in my front yard.

As a sign of how prolonged the 2013-14 winter has been, the Prenolepis imparis  winter ant mating flights did not occur here in Urbana until yesterday. That’s April 10th. The last time I photographed Prenolepis flights was in 2012- the same colony- and the ants flew a whole month earlier, on March 12.

I took a break from the email backlog (sorry! I know some of you are waiting on things from me, but it’s been a busy, busy month) to shoot the action. I hope you enjoy this batch of photos.

Prenolepis imparis
The queens and males climb nearby grass blades and some clumsily take to the air. Several queens are divebombed by incoming males- I presume from other colonies- and mate near their natal nest.

Prenolepis imparis
Something about this photograph captures the myrmecological community’s traditional attitude about the biology and taxonomy of male ants.
Prenolepis imparis
More ant sexytime.
Prenolepis imparis
Yet more sexytime.
Prenolepis imparis
Following the flights, young queens drop their wings and head off to find a suitable place to start a new colony.

 

 

4 thoughts on “The Midwestern Ant Season Begins With Prenolepis Mating Flights”

  1. James C. Trager

    The sexual females of this species really are pretty ants.

    And just for the record, about three hours WSW of your location in my backyard, ants are emerging:

    Even yesterday not so many visible. Today, 12 Apr 14, 80F (27C) and sunny:

    No mark, one or two colonies or individuals
    +, 3-5 colonies
    ++, >10 colonies)

    Aphaenogaster rudis
    Camponotus americanus
    Camponotus chromaiodes
    Camponotus nearcticus
    Camponotus pennsylvanicus
    Crematogaster cerasi +
    Formica biophilica+
    Formica subsericea+
    Lasius alienus +
    Lasius neoniger ++
    Monomorium minimum++
    Ponera pennsylvanica
    Tapinoma sessile ++
    Temnothorax curvispinosus
    Tetramorium tsushimae + (I’ve been controlling these with borax bait, but still present.)

  2. Pingback: – The Midwestern Ant Season Begins With Prenolepis Mating Flights | fast horses

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