North American Ants

The North American continent hosts close to 1,000 ant species. These ubiquitous insects are diverse in appearance and lifestyle; they can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a paper clip. Their colonies may have only a few individuals, or a million or more.

While people may think of ants as pests, only a few of our species infest homes or cause problems for agriculture. On balance ants are beneficial insects, playing vital ecosystem roles aerating soil, recycling nutrients, and serving as predators or prey in the great fabric of nature.

Below is a gallery of ant genera found in North America north of Mexico. This page is a work in progress. While I have photographed the common genera and many of the rare ones, I am still adding new ones. Thus, if you are using this page to assist in ant identification, be aware that more possibilities exist than just those pictured here.

Acromyrmex- leafcutter ants

Desert southwest, locally abundant (1 species)


Desert southwest, rare (1 species)

Anochetus- small trap-jaw ants

Introduced to isolated locations in South Florida (1 species)


Widespread and abundant across North America (~30 species)

Attaleafcutter ants

Common in Texas & Louisiana, rare in Southern Arizona (2 species)

Brachymyrmex – rover ants

Widespread across North America (5 species)

Brachyponera – needle ants

Pachycondyla chinensis 2

One invasive species spreading rapidly in eastern North America.

Camponotus carpenter ants

Widespread and abundant across North America (~50 species)


Sporadically introduced to warmer regions across continent, inconspicuous (~10 species)

Cephalotesturtle ants

Locally common in southern Arizona, southern Texas, and southern Florida (3 species)

Colobopsis – cork-headed ants

Southeastern states westward to Arizona, sporadically encountered (5-10 species)

Crematogasteracrobat ants

Widespread and abundant across North America (~30 species)

Cyphomyrmex- small fungus-growing ants

Southeastern North America across to California, locally common (4 species)

Dolichoderus – armored odorous ants

Locally abundant in eastern North America (4 species)

Dorymyrmexcone ants

Abundant in warmer regions across North America (~20 species)


Abundant in warmer regions across North America (~5 species)

Formicafield ants, thatch-mound ants

Widespread and abundant across North America (~100 species)

Formicoxenus- guest ants

Widespread but uncommon across cooler regions of North America; inhabit nests of other ants (5 species)


Common but inconspicuous from the southeastern United States to California (7 species)

Labidusarmy ants

Locally common in South Texas (1 species)


Widespread and abundant across North America (~40 species)


Leptogenys elongata

Locally common in gulf states (3 species)





Common in colder climates across northern North America and mountainous regions in the west (~10 species)

Linepithema Argentine ant

Introduced to warmer regions across continent, abundant in urban California (1 species)

Liometopum – velvety tree ants

Common in southwest and along west coast (3 species)


Widespread and abundant across North America (~15 species)

Myrmecocystushoneypot ants

Ubiquitous in the arid west, absent elsewhere (~30 species)


Widespread in forested regions across continent, locally abundant to uncommon (2 species)


Widespread and abundant in cooler regions of North America (~70 species)

Neivamyrmexarmy ants

Southeastern United States across continent to California, uncommon (~25 species)

Neoponera – tiger ants


Common in far south Texas (1 species)


One arboreal species commonly encountered only in far south Texas.

Nomamyrmextank army antsNomamyrmex

Uncommon in south Texas (1 species)

Novomessorharvester ants

Abundant in the arid southwest (2 species)

Nylanderiasmall crazy ants

Widespread across continent (~20 species)


One species introduced in Florida, locally common.

Odontomachustrap-jaw ants

Common in gulf states west to Arizona (5 species)

Pachycondyla – huntress ants

Pachycondyla harpaxLocally common in Louisiana and Texas (1 species)

Paratrechinablack crazy ants

Introduced to warmer regions and cities across continent (1 species)

Pheidolebig-headed ants

Abundant in warmer regions across North America (~100 species)


South Texas and southern Florida, uncommon (1 species)

Pogonomyrmexharvester ants

Abundant in western states, one species in Southeast (25 species)

Polyerguskidnapper ants

Parasitic on Formica; widespread and locally common across North America (~5 species)


Common in eastern forests (2 species)

Prenolepisthe winter ant

Common across continent (1 species)


In forests from Texas north to Illinois and Massachusetts with one species in coastal California, rare (8 species)

Pseudomyrmexelongate twig ants

Abundant in warm to subtropical regions across the continent (10 species)

Pseudoponera – stigma ants

Florida and the gulf coast states, locally common but cryptic  (1 introduced species)

Solenopsisfire ants, thief ants

Widespread and abundant across North America; the imported fire ant S. invicta is omnipresent in the Southeast (~40 species)


Common but inconspicuous across continent (20 species)

Stigmatomma dracula ants

Across North America, uncommon (3 species)

Strumigenysminiature huntress ants

Common but inconspicuous in warmer regions across continent, especially in the Southeast (~45 species)


One subterranean species in the southwestern states, rarely encountered.


Widespread and abundant across North America (5 species)

Technomyrmex – white-footed ants

2-3 species introduced to subtropical regions & greenhouses, locally abundant.

Temnothoraxacorn ants

Widespread and abundant across North America (~50 species)


Several introduced species abundant across continent; Southwest hosts two native species (10 species)

Trachymyrmexfungus-growing ants

Arizona across southeastern N.A. to Long Island, locally abundant (9 species)

Veromessor – harvester ants

Common in western North America, especially California (9 species)


One introduced species spreading across Atlantic states.

Wasmannialittle fire ants

Introduced to peninsular Florida, common (1 species)


Peninsular Florida, uncommon (1 species)

92 thoughts on “North American Ants”

  1. Had no idea they had this many species…son is in Romania and was looking at some of the homes they looked those us and decided to find out how many in this country.

  2. What tiny ant haf a feathered antenna, l found a nest of them in a small flower pot? I doubt they were native.

      1. I have large ants in my yard in western North Carolina. They have a red head and thorax but a black abdomen. They nest all over the yard under anything that can hold heat. They forage by day. It appears to me that the entire yard is a nest, with satellite nurseries all over the yard. They often build “highways” in high traffic areas alternating between above ground with sides and shallow tunnels. They are aggressive and swarm if disturbed like fire ants but do not sting. (About twice the size of a fire ant) They bite readily but usually can’t break my skin. They resemble the Florida Carpenter ant but info says carpenters forage at night and these love my driveway during the day. They definitely draw other ants if crushed and the pheromone (I assume) makes all ants in the vicinity more aggressive. Just curious about them as they generally stay outside.

        1. Try taking a look at the Allegheny mound ant! I used to have them all around my house on the east coast and they have the red/black coloration and behave much as you described

    1. What state and where did you see thim i have all kinds of ants from carpenter ants to big headed and can probably help you out

      1. Hi, Kory. What all queens do you normally have available? I’ve been really wanting to get back to ants. I’ve been planning some hunts as soon as it cools a bit, too. So hot here in Texas. haha

        1. i carry in my collection the following ant queens and colony’s fire ,carpenter, hony pot, niger,( black and orange) acrobic,. Thief and. Big head, and finally one of my favorite pharoh and can usely get more some i sell some i trade and some if i got lots of ill give away just depends i usely have them in stock as much as possible because that how i provide the food and care for my ants and all my ant are mite and disease free

        2. Feel free to text me at 423-627-7121 sometimes it takes me a while to reply to post on here so feel free to use the number above

  3. I found an ant nest inside the pot of a long dead house plant. They looked no different than ordinary sugar ants except for they were a bit larger and they had feathered antennas much like a moth and the antenna didn’t seem to have any bends in them. I’m hoping someone has come across these ants before and can tell me what they are. I’m praying l didn’t destroy the nest of an unknown species.

    1. Sorry it took so long but I been doing some research on the ants you seen in the flower pot i believe i know what they where you said they loojed like sugar ants but longer i believe after putting in alot of time and effort because it was bugging the hell out of me it mite have been a nest of long gated ants it fits the profile to a T

      1. Did you mean elongated twig ants? They generally look and behave like miniature flightless wasps. They’re single hunters and they’re nest entrances are generally very hard to pinpoint. You don’t normally find them nesting in an old pot as they really like hollowed out branches, vines and the like. They do generally have short, mostly straight antennae but I’ve never noticed any ‘feathered’ features.

        Most of them pack a decent punch for an ant and can be aggressive though I’ve never had any issues with the species I’ve come across in Texas. (I have a nest of some elongated twig ants with some beautifully contrasting colors living in and around some trumpet vines in my backyard.)

        Now, my curiosity is peaked, as well!

        1. I love your website it has become my favorite and my number one choice when trying to find wish ant I have in front of me. Thank you for old the effort put into it, I think it’s pay off. Please keep bringing more ants, especially from Florida.

  4. Very happy to get the name(s) right (tiger ant and huntress ant) both seem to be in my small jungle in deep south Texas. Was bitten/stung last night and in pain for 4 to 5 hours. They both travel alone. When colonies are found they have been small (about 150 ants +/-).
    Thank you for the large pictures, descriptions, and region found.

  5. So there are thousands of varieties in North America alone, where do it find photos or drawings of the 900+ you didn’t show. Still trying to identify my feathered, like some moths, antennaed ants.

      1. Hese B boys be dead for years now and sorry buy no photos. However after years and years of research I’ve decided that they might have been very tiny carpet beetles. What they were doing in a flower pot I’ll never know but I’d rather them be carpet beetles than worry for the rest of my life that I destroyed a colony of never seen before or ever seen again ants.

        1. Sorry to hear that do ypu know what kind of soil. Was in it because i know a little about beetles and if it was poting soil or mulch and really damp that might have been using it to mate or lay eggs then they leave now that not how all beetles do it but some do but with out seeing what species they were or knowing the location where you seen them or time of year if you ever see them again please send me a picture and ill try to help you identifie them amd what they where doing. P.s. hope you see them again ?

          1. It was bone dry miracle grow and the plant had been dead for several years.
            BTW if I kick over a red ant nest and it’s full of winged ants does that mean they are getting ready to swarm?

            1. Yes but it won’t tell you when. Thay my stay there for a while of if the weather is right they will fly depending on species and location why you looking for queen ants i may have what you are looking for what species are you looking for

            2. It is a imported fire ant colony. I keep it around to clean my cooking racks when they have food debris on them. Nothing cleans stuck food off of cooking trays better than a couple hundred thousand fire ants. The last time I disturbed it with a dirty rib rack is when I found all the winged ants.

            3. I am willing to send a queen for free to start your colony if you would like one.let me know what kind you want if any.i have all kinds from tiny to vary lorg but i only got 1 fire ant queen thay go fast i have Niger, big head, side walk and carpenter queens ill send you free of charge i have plenty like 50 fertile queens so it’s no problem???? and im here to help if you need anything else

          2. it’s me again it was bone dry miracle grow potting soil and they (ant looking things) weren’t really doing anything I had knocked the pot over and discovered them when I picked it up.

            1. Sounds like a species of termite some termite look like ants expect the antennae are straight with no bends and a slightly larger abdomen

            2. I might think an ant is a termite with a quick glance but I’ll never confuse a termite with an ant, to me, they look nothing alike. Still leaning towards a totally unknown species of ant (at least in America) or a species of a very tiny carpet beetle.

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  7. So I’ve been wanting to get into ant keeping but I can’t seem to find any Queens. Live in the slap dab middle of California. I only see black ants around my house but can’t find queens. Been wondering if I am late on the nuptial flights.

    1. That depends on the species of the black ant it could be niger or carpenter or about 5. Other kinds if you can send me a pic and an idea about the size i can be more specific on the species of the ant. And when they will fly but i carry in my collection the following ant queens and colony’s fire ,carpenter, hony pot, niger,( black and orange) acrobic,. Thief and. Big head, and finally one of my favorite pharoh and can usely get more some i sell some i trade and some if i got lots of ill give away just depends i usely have them in stock as much as possible because that how i provide the food and care for my ants and all my ant are mite and disease free

      1. Found an red ant queen across the side of my town, she had 1/4 of her wing. Dind’t have the proper gear to take her home safely, but I did just watch her move with her royal guards. I’m assuming they were moving the nest to somewhere else.
        I’ll send the picture of the black ants in my front yard with many wingless queens.( I guess I can’t send pictures via mobile)

      2. Hi, I am in Alaska and have recently started collecting local species with my kids. We have a couple colonies collected from piles of wood left over from a forest fire many years ago. At first I thought we had formica spp because the majority have red bodies with dark red heads and gastors, but the very large majors and super majors now lead me to believe they are camponotus spp. Also they have a very high degree of polymorphism with some only 1-2 mm and others over 12-14 mm. Do you think that sound like camponotus? Or is there another large spp you know of in AK that have that color and high degree of polymorphism? Also, I found what I think are two queens, one fairly large and red with dark red/almost black gastors and one larger all black one. This also confuses me because the red one looks like the colony I described above, but does not seem to be camponotus, while the large black one looks dead on for camponotus. Are they both camponotus of different spp or am I misidentifying our colony of red polymorphic ants? We are having tons of fun and not knowing is driving us nuts, lol.

        ps do you sell to AK?

        Thanks so much for your awesome website!

    1. I saw in a post above that you mentioned you had quite a few fertile queens available. I was wondering if that was still the case? (there was no reply option on that post for some reason and did not notice a PM option on this page) I’m looking into starting my first colony, but have not had much luck in the queen catching department yet this year. Been looking into larger ant species since they seem to grow slower.

      1. I had this exact problem! Though I haven’t given up here, these 100F+ temps are are not making it easy.

        Here for the reply…

        1. Flippin’ awesome. I’m going to hold onto that for the future. Is that Tenn or Texas? I’m in Texas. Anyway, thanks so much, man.

  8. Hi Kory. Great pics. I live in Washington State and we have these giant ants coming into our home. They look a lot like the Forelius species you have here, but with a black head and stinger at the end of the gaster. My mom was stung by one a couple of years ago and made it to where she couldn’t walk for a few days. Any idea what kind of ant that would be?

    1. Hess my number 14236277121 please send me a pic but it sounds like Camponotus vicinus but don’t believe they sting ill need a pic to be sure

  9. thanks,,good to see someone put more than just 2 pics of a super common ant. well done,,great for someone who wants a little more.

  10. Hi Kory! I need some serious help in identifying an ant. I tried emailing you but it wouldn’t go through. Would it be ok to text you the information?

  11. We hv had some black ants ? in our drier side of compost pile. They are quik movers. I am thinking ?Harvester? To me it shows compost was dry. I may hv three a few meat scraps in though… not a usual practice of mine.

    1. Not sure where you are located or what the exact conditions are, but a common “average” sized, quick-moving black ant around here is the black crazy ant. Considered in many countries to be an invasive species, it originated in Africa. Are they both fast and seemingly erratic?

  12. Timothy Drewecki

    It seems that I’ve got an invasion of the tinyest ants there are, but I don’t what type they are how they’re getting into my bathroom and kitchen. All I know is they’re jet black, they’re tiny, and they look like fruit flies, but they can’t fly. I kill them everywhere I see them, and I use bug spray, but they just keep coming back. Everything in my refrigerator is tightly covered, and my refrigerator door is tightly closed. Also, I’ve been putting duct tape on every crack and crevice I can find, but they keep coming back. I live in Troy, NY, which is in upstate NY, and right next to a polluted creek that feeds into the Hudson River. How can I find out where they’re coming in from even though I keep taping up the cracks and crevices? Is this just a seasonal thing? It may be interesting to note that I typically get an invasion just after it rains. The city house I live in is well over 100 years old. What is the best bug spray I can get for this before I have to shell out the money for an exterminator?

    Timothy Drewecki

    1. First off i don’t condone to killing ants but i do understand your frustrated if your got to do it do it naturally it hard to say what species it is so try this get a bottle cap and put some honey in it and put it where you usely see the ants and follow the stream of ants and if they usely only come out when it rains the odds are there coming from out side

  13. Trying to get started in the hobby I live in southern Pennsylvania. Any recommendations for a good species to start off with? And if soo do you have any info on their nuptial flights? Any information would be appreciated.

    1. Well ther are a few i would recommend for beginners but it also depends on what your looking for in a species here’s my phone number 423 6277121 feel free to contact me anytime for a better understanding of what your looking for in a species and one to fit your life style and yes i can provide any information you may need

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  16. May I send you a picture for identification? I’ve lived in Texas 25 years and found an ant I’d never noticed before. About an inch long if you include the antennae. Beautiful brown and gold markings.

    1. Post it. I’m sure whoever sees it will take a crack at it. I live in Texas, as well. Where in Texas are you from?

  17. My favorites are the honey pots the huntress one and the one above the honey pot pic it’s a mono something

  18. TheDiamondDemon

    hey kory i have yellow-brown ants thier 1-3 millimetres in north america with no stinger do you have ideas what it could be

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  21. I 3D print formicariums and I was wondering once I get my website up if it is okay to link your site to mine. Not only do I sell products but I also like to educate people and many times people are not good at searching so I think it would be good provide links and make their search for information easier. Just an idea

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  23. Man, i just wish there weren’t invasive species. Argentine ants (linepithema humile) are invading my front and back yard, killing everything!

    1. Christian Rodriguez

      In my south central Texas yard, I like to give the native ants a hand and dissuade invasive species using various means. The more territory healthy natives have, the less chance for invasives to establish themselves. It takes time, but I was able to see major changes within the first year. (I actually ended up helping our native southern fire ant a bit too much and had to balance things a bit the following year.) The most common invasive ant we deal with in at this house are the imported fire ant from south america.

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