North American Ants

Spread the love

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)


Acropyga


Desert southwest, rare (1 species)


Anochetus- small trap-jaw ants

Introduced to isolated locations in South Florida (1 species)


Aphaenogaster

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)


Cardiocondyla

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)


Forelius

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)


Hypoponera

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


Labidusarmy ants

Locally common in South Texas (1 species)


Lasius

Widespread and abundant across North America (~40 species)


Leptogenys

Leptogenys elongata

Locally common in gulf states (3 species)


Leptothorax

 

Leptothorax

 

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)


Monomorium

Widespread and abundant across North America (~15 species)


Myrmecocystushoneypot ants

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


Myrmecina

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


Myrmica

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

neoponera

Common in far south Texas (1 species)


Nesomyrmex

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)


Ochetellus

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)


Platythyrea

South Texas and southern Florida, uncommon (1 species)


Pogonomyrmexharvester ants

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


Polyergusslave-raiding ants

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


Ponera

Common in eastern forests (2 species)


Prenolepisthe winter ant


Common across continent (1 species)


Proceratium

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)


Stenamma

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)


Syscia

One subterranean species in the southwestern states, rarely encountered.


Tapinoma

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)


Tetramorium

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)


Vollenhovia

One introduced species spreading across Atlantic states.


Wasmannialittle fire ants

Introduced to peninsular Florida, common (1 species)


Xenomyrmex

Peninsular Florida, uncommon (1 species)

43 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 build..so 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. 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!

  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.

  6. Pingback: Best Ant Killer Reviews - Pest Control Advisor

  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)

    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.

Leave a Reply to Victor Moore Cancel reply