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
Anochetus- small trap-jaw ants
Atta – leafcutter ants
Brachymyrmex – rover ants
Brachyponera – needle ants
One invasive species spreading rapidly in eastern North America.
Camponotus – carpenter ants
Cephalotes – turtle 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)
Crematogaster – acrobat ants
Widespread and abundant across North America (~30 species)
Cyphomyrmex- small fungus-growing ants
Southeastern North America across to California, locally common (4 species)
Dorymyrmex – cone ants
Formica – field ants, thatch-mound ants
Formicoxenus- guest ants
Labidus – army ants
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
Liometopum – velvety tree ants
Myrmecocystus – honeypot ants
Widespread in forested regions across continent, locally abundant to uncommon (2 species)
Neivamyrmex – army ants
Neoponera – tiger ants
Common in far south Texas (1 species)
One arboreal species commonly encountered only in far south Texas.
Uncommon in south Texas (1 species)
Novomessor – harvester ants
Abundant in the arid southwest (2 species)
Nylanderia – small crazy ants
Widespread across continent (~20 species)
One species introduced in Florida, locally common.
Odontomachus – trap-jaw ants
Pachycondyla – huntress ants
Paratrechina – black crazy ants
Pheidole – big-headed ants
Pogonomyrmex – harvester ants
Polyergus – slave-raiding ants
Prenolepis – the winter ant
Pseudomyrmex – elongate twig ants
Pseudoponera – stigma ants
Solenopsis – fire ants, thief ants
Stigmatomma – dracula ants
Strumigenys– miniature huntress ants
One subterranean species in the southwestern states, rarely encountered.
Technomyrmex – white-footed ants
Temnothorax – acorn ants
Trachymyrmex – fungus-growing ants
Veromessor – harvester ants
Wasmannia – little fire ants
Introduced to peninsular Florida, common (1 species)