Ceratina calcarata

Spurred Ceratina
Ceratina calcarata

 

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata female. Apr 17, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata female. Apr 17, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Female:
Head: Dark green-blue, rough (deep punctures). Lower face (clypeus) flat, slightly darker. Sometimes with a very tiny white to cream-colored oblong mark, but usually no mark. No squarish mark on mouth area (labrum). Mandibles dark with 3 teeth.
Antenna: Black.
Thorax: Dark green-blue. Segment 1 (scutum) rough (deep punctures) on base half, lower central area smooth and shiny. Thorax sides have black tubercle (pronotal lobe) with white fringe on one side. A few whitish hairs on lower half of thorax sides.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark brown. Wings lightly tinted, veins brown.
Legs: Darker green-blue (slightly darker than body). Feet (tarsi) dark brownish-yellow. Front leg bare, mid and hind legs have long whitish hair. Hair on all feet slightly yellowish.
Abdomen: Dark green-blue. Tip sharply pointed. Some scant yellowish hair on last segment, and underside of last segment.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata male on Ox-eye Daisy. June 16, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata male on Ox-eye Daisy. June 16, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Male:
Head: Dark green-blue, rough (deep punctures). Lower face (clypeus) flat, slightly darker. White to cream-colored 3-cornered mark (hat-like). Another squarish, tiny white spot on mouth (labrum). Mandibles black with 2 teeth.
Antenna: Black. Segments 2 and 3 longer than wide.
Thorax: Dark green-blue, shiny and flat. Thorax sides have black tubercle (pronotal lobe) with crescent of white hair. Lower sides have sparse white hairs.
Wings: Wing knobs (tegulae) dark greenish-black. Wings tinted brownish, veins dark brown to black.
Legs: Darker green-blue than body, to almost black. Hind thighs (femora) have underside enlarged, V-shaped, no tuft of hair like C. strenua. Shins (tibiae) has sparse white hair, more so on hind shin. Feet more brownish, toes brownish-yellow.
Abdomen: Dark green-blue, rough (dense punctures). Segment 6 lower edge indented at center, with tuft of short pale hair. The 7th segment, usually hidden has a flat, wide tip (2 to 3 times as long as wide and fringed with whitish hairs. Underside covered with white hair.

Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata 2 males and female upper right. Apr 02, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.
Small Carpenter Bee Ceratina calcarata 2 males and female upper right. Apr 02, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.

Similar Species:
Males are large and have V-shaped point on underside of hind thigh (femur). C. dupla males have no V-shaped point and males of C. strenua have obvious white stripe on front leg.

Size: Female 7 to 8 mm. Male 5 to 7 mm.; largest of the Ceratina

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Pollen and nectar from a wide variety of flowers.

Flight Time: Mid-March to mid-June; again late August to October.

Life Cycle:
Nest made by chewing out fresh twigs of elder, sumac, sassafras, blackberry, raspberry, roses, horseweed and teasel. Adults over-winter in the nests they were born in. Males start flying 2 weeks before the females, mating in April. The winter quarters (hibernacula) is not reused for new nests. Females stay with their young (6 or 7 only)  until they become adults, thus living almost a year. Females sometimes produce one small female (usually the first to hatch) to help with the nest. Adults of new brood are seen by the first week of August. One generation per year.
Parasites: Chalcid Wasp Axima zabriskiei, Baryscapus americanus, Coelopencyrtus hylaeoleter, Eurytoma species.
Ichneumon Wasp Hoplocryptus zoesmairi, Eupelmus vesicularis, Grotea anguina.
Parasitic Wasp Gasteruption tarsatorius, Jewel Wasps Omalus iridescens and Parasierola species.
Blister Beetle Meloe angusticollis
Mite: Pyemotes ventricosus

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Also Peel, Nipissing, Niagara and in Michigan.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Tetramorium immigrans

Pavement Ant
Tetramorium immigrans

 

Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans workers dueling it out. May 01, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.
Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans workers dueling it out. May 01, 2009, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Rectangular, black to very dark brown with long grooves and ridges.
Antenna: Light brown, 12-segmented, the last 3 joints wider (clubbed), base (scape) short, does not reach top of head.
Thorax: Black to very dark brown with long grooves and ridges. Shoulders slightly raised, and wider than rest of thorax. Short spines on each side of the lower thorax. Two nodes on joint between thorax and abdomen (petiole), last node wider than long.

Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans queen and 2 workers. July 07, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans queen and 2 workers. July 07, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings: Clear, veins yellowish-brown, with darker stigma.
Legs: Thighs (femora) dark, enlarged. Rest of legs can be light or dark brown.
Abdomen: Shiny, black to very dark brown, elliptical, covered with scattered short, light hair.
Both queen and male are large, black and shiny. Males have very small heads, huge raised thorax, and do not have the spines on the lower thorax. Queen  has smaller, flat thorax and spines.

Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans male came to moth lights. July 15, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans male came to moth lights. July 15, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: Worker 2.5 to 3 mm long, Queen & Male 8 mm long.

Flight Time: June to mid-July.

Habitat: Nests under sidewalks, stones, pavement, and in the crevices of housing structures.

Food: Insects, honeydew, seeds, nuts and plant juices, dead and live insects.

Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans at war on a sidewalk. May 01, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario.
Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans at war on a sidewalk. May 01, 2009. Wheatley, Ontario.

Life Cycle: Nests in exposed soil, under stones and pavement, sometimes in rotting wood. Colonies can be moderately large to very large with over 10,000 workers and more than one queen. Workers can live over 5 years, queens much longer. Will attack other colonies of Paving Ants to expand each colony with fierce battles.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee species list.

Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans workers fighting each other over territory. August 13, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.
Pavement Ant Tetramorium immigrans workers fighting each other over territory. August 13, 2013, Wheatley, Ontario.

Synonyms:  Linnaeus 1758
Formica caespitum, Tetramorium caespitum, Myrmica brevinodis var. transversinodis, Tetramorium species E.

References:
Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 1946, Vol. 55 by Enzmann, pp. 47 to 49.
Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 1950, Vol. 104 by Creighton, pg. 286, pp. 290 to 291.
Bulletin of the Brooklyn Entomological Society, 1964. Not Available.
Entomological News, 1965, Vol. 76 by Weber, pg. 137.
United States Agriculture, 1965, Technical Bulletin #1326 by Smith, pp. 45 to 47.
Catalog of Hymenoptera, 1979, Vol. 2, pg. 1400.
Entomological News, 1995, Vol. 106 by King & Green, pp. 224 to 227.
Auburn University Alabama, 2003, Thesis Forster: Ants of Alabama, pp. 183 to 184.

Types: Unknown.

 

Myrmica incompleta

Myrmica Ant
Myrmica incompleta

 

Myrmica Ants Myrmica incompleta 2queens and a worker. Sept. 18, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Myrmica Ants Myrmica incompleta 2queens and a worker. Sept. 18, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Reddish, top of head dark brown to blackish. Head rough, with many longitudinal lines.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown. Male has short antennal base (scape).
Thorax: Yellowish brown, with many longitudinal lines; hairs light, short. The petiole has two humps, rough and dull. The queen resembles the worker, except top of thorax darker, sometimes with black patches on sides and end.
Male thorax has denser longitudinal lines.

Myrmica Ants Myrmica incompleta queen and 2 workers. Sept. 18, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Myrmica Ants Myrmica incompleta queen and 2 workers. Sept. 18, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Wings: Queen and male wings have dark brown base, veins and stigma; becoming white, see-through on last half to tips.
Legs: Yellowish-brown, with some short, stiff whitish hair.
Abdomen: Shiny, yellowish-brown, 1st segment dark on top. Scattered short, whitish hairs.
Male is black with yellowish-brown antenna and lower legs.

Size: Queen, male and worker all 5 to 6 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests, bogs and wet meadows in open areas.

Myrmica Ants Myrmica incompleta 2 workers and a queen. Sept. 18, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Myrmica Ants Myrmica incompleta 2 workers and a queen. Sept. 18, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Food: Honeydew from root-feeding aphids and mealybugs.

Flight Time: August to September

Life Cycle: Nests formed under stones, logs or moss in wet areas. Colonies very large with many queens (polygynous).
Nest Mates: Parasitic Ant Formicoxenus provancheri is very tiny and lives at the edge of Myrmica  nest in smaller tunnels which the Myrmica cannot penetrate. Also host to the Syrphid Fly Microdon albicomatus.

Comments: Essex County per photos. Listed for Ontario, also in Michigan.

Synonyms: Provancher 1881
Myrmica rubra brevinodis, Myrmica whymperi, Myrmica rubra  canadensis, Myrmica rubra brevinodis subalpina, Myrmica brevinodis sulcinodoides, Myrmica rubra brevinodis frigida

References:
Le Naturaliste Canadien 1881, Vol. 12 by Provancher, pg. 359: In French.
Bulletin of the Wisconsin Natural History Society, 1907, Vol. 5 by Wheeler, pp. 76 to 77.
State Geological and Natural History Survey: Guide Insects of Connecticut 1916, pt. 3 #22. Hymenoptera by Wheeler, pg. 587.
Zootaxa, 2016 Vol 4175 #1: Taxonomy of some little-understood North American ants by Shattuck and Cover, pg. 18 to 19.

Types:
Holotype as Myrmica incompleta worker, queen and male by Provancher, 1881. Type Locality: Quebec. In Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa, Italy (MCSN).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prenolepis imparis

False Honey Ant
Prenolepis imparis

 

False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis worker on pineapple in composter March 19, 2011, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.
False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis worker on pineapple in composter March 19, 2011, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Shiny, dark brown to black. Head small, oval eyes. Long whiskers (palpi). Mandibles black. Queen has large eyes.
Antenna: Pale light yellowish. Base (scape) much longer than head. Segments do not widen at tips (no club).
Thorax: Dark brown, sometimes slightly reddish-brown, shiny. End of abdomen has one horn (petiole). Queen more reddish, thorax large, flattened on top.
Wings: Wings are smoky, slightly yellowish at tips; veins brown. Male wings are milky white.
Legs: Pale light yellowish, long. Male legs thighs (femur) dark; shins (tibiae) more reddish-yellow.
Abdomen: Worker abdomen dark brown, shiny, cone-shaped, almost triangular, tip sharp-pointed; can be engorged (4 to 5 times normal size) with fluids and will have a lighter stripe or blotches across segments. Queen abdomen with a lighter reddish stripe across each segment.

False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis queen at Two Creeks Conservation area, Apr 17-05, Wheatley, Ontario.
False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis queen at Two Creeks Conservation area, Apr 17-05, Wheatley, Ontario.

Male is black.  Queen is reddish-orange, not shiny.

Size: Queen 8 to 10 mm. Male and Worker 3 to 4 mm

Flight Time: Early to mid-April, they are the first ants to fly.

Habitat: They build their nests deep underground in moist clay or sand in well-shaded locations.

Food: Honeydew from aphids, treehoppers and scale. Sumac flower nectar. Live and dead insects, worms and decaying fruits. Foraging occurs mostly at night or on cloudy, cool days.

False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis queen and tiny male mating April 13, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.
False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis queen and tiny male mating April 13, 2006, Wheatley, Ontario.

Life Cycle: Each colony is small, with a few hundred ants. Colony are very deep in the ground ( 3 meters) and has only one entrance surrounded with loose soil; sometimes soil is washed away. Mature winged males and females overwinter in nest; flying and mating in early spring. The females find a new location for nests. Special workers (repletes) feed only on liquids causing engorged abdomens. They hang from the top of the tunnels in the nest as living food sources for the other ants. P. imparis can tolerate near freezing  temperatures when foraging. Can be the dominant species on carrion.

False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis male on Forsythia flower April 21, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.
False Honey Ant Prenolepis imparis male on Forsythia flower April 21, 2008, Wheatley, Ontario.

No predators or nest mates have been found in Prenolepis imparis nests.

Comments: Essex County – Lake Erie Island species list; Ojibway Prairies species list, 2008. Kent County – Rondeau Prov. Park species list, 2009. Widespread up to Toronto. In Canada, this ant only lives in Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Lasius neoniger

Labour Day Ant
Lasius neoniger

 

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger workers and males. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger workers and males. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification:
Head: Medium brown, hairy. Eyes large, but not as large as L. alienus.
Antenna: Dull yellowish-brown.
Thorax: Dull yellowish-brown to slightly reddish, lighter than head and abdomen.
Wings: Both male and female have slightly tinted wings, veins and stigma yellowish-brown. No pattern or dark shading.

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen and workers. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen and workers. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Legs: Light to medium brown. Four erect hairs on hind shin (tibia).
Abdomen: Medium brown. Top of abdomen hairy.
Queen similar, but has darker thorax. Male is entirely black.

Similar Species: Easily confused with Lasius alienus workers which have larger eyes and much darker brown to black color. L. alienus live in damp, shady parts of a forest. Lasius neoniger live in open, dry areas like lawns.

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 22, 2007, Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: Workers 2.5 to 3 mm. Males 4 mm, Queens 7 to 8 mm

Habitat: Meadows, grass, prairies, sand dunes; well-drained soil in cultivated fields. Usually the dominant species in lawns and golf courses with dense populations creating craters above the soil.

Food: Mealybugs and aphid honeydew; other insects, dead or alive, and flower nectar.

Flight Time: Mid Aug to mid Sept. but usually around Labour Day. Late afternoon, just before rain.

Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 26, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Labour Day Ant Lasius neoniger queen. August 26, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Life Cycle: Nests in soil, forming volcanic-like mounds above ground level. Colony hibernates in winter with 1st instar larvae. Nocturnal, foraging at night for dead insects. Farms root aphids by storing aphid eggs in nest during the winter. When hatched, the ants carry them to plant roots to feed. If using the Corn Root Aphid Anuraphis maidiradicis the ants will transport them to the corn roots. They also tend honeydew from other insects like late-instar butterfly larvae of the Frosted Elfin Callophrys irus.

After the late-season nuptial flight, queens shed their wings, hibernate in small cavities in the soil and start a new colony the next spring. Queens will sometimes invade other Lasius species colonies. Often mixed colonies are found. Lasius in general and particularly  neoniger do not sting or use formic acid. Mature nests usually contain from 1,000 to 10,000 individuals, and queens can live 15-20 years.

Predators: Yellow Jacket Wasps Vespula maculifrons prey on Lasius neoniger nuptial flights.

Cuckoo Wasp (Eucharitidae) Pseudometagea schwarzii lays eggs on plant flower buds, when hatched the larvae hitch a ride on the L. neoniger ant to the nest, where it feeds on the ant larvae.

Nest Mates: Short-winged Mold Beetle Adranes species are allowed in L. neoniger nests to live.

Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee National Park per BOLD in 2012. Wheeler recorded it from Sudbury.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Lasius claviger

Smaller Yellow Ant
Lasius claviger

 

Smaller Yellow Ant Lasius claviger workers Oct. 26, 2004, Wheatley, Ontario.
Smaller Yellow Ant Lasius claviger workers Oct. 26, 2004, Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: Our only entirely orange-yellow ant.
Head: Body color pale yellowish to yellowish-red. Eyes very small, nearer top of head. Whiskers (palpi) short, 3-segmented. Male is all black.
Antenna: Yellowish. Base (scape) or segment 1 extends to top of the head, but not beyond.
Thorax: Workers and queen considered yellowish-orange, but queen is darker. Male is black. Thorax has a single horn just before abdomen, very narrow and sharp at tip.
Wings: Dark, smoky in both queen and male.
Legs: Pale yellowish to yellowish-red.
Abdomen: Wide, shiny. Pale yellowish to yellowish-red; slightly lighter than rest of body. Many erect hairs on top side. No stinger.

Smaller Yellow Ant Lasius claviger male came to moth lights, Sept. 10, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.
Smaller Yellow Ant Lasius claviger male came to moth lights, Sept. 10, 2011, Wheatley, Ontario.

Size: Workers 3 to 4 mm long.
Male 4 to 5 mm long, entirely black.
Queens 7 to 8 mm long. 

Similar Species: The Larger Yellow Ant Lasius (Acanthomyops) interjectus is present in Michigan, but not Ontario. Workers and Queen are a couple of mm larger. The antenna are longer and narrower. Nuptial flights are in June, rather than in the fall like the Smaller Yellow ant.

Habitat: Forest edges (prefer pine, oak and hickory), meadows and fields. 

Smaller Yellow Ant Lasius claviger queen on grass stem, Sept. 18, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.
Smaller Yellow Ant Lasius claviger queen on grass stem, Sept. 18, 2010, Wheatley, Ontario.

Food: Honeydew from subterranean aphids, plant lice and mealybugs, farmed by the ants on plant roots. The workers are also generalist scavengers.

Flight Time: Late August to end of October. Flights usually occur in the late afternoon, just before rain.

Life Cycle: Nests vary greatly, found in rotting wood, under stones, and mounded in clay to sandy soils. Mealybugs and root-aphids are cared for, and the ants will move them away if disturbed. Ants also emit a lemon or citronella odor if alarmed, formerly called Citronella Ant. Males and queens overwinter, and may fly on warm winter days. Queens invade other Lasius colonies, killing their queen and taking over the nest.

Smaller Yellow Ants Lasius claviger swarm, Sept. 07, 2004, Wheatley, Ontario.
Smaller Yellow Ants Lasius claviger swarm, Sept. 07, 2004, Wheatley, Ontario.

The Smaller Yellow Ant preys on Square-headed Crabro Wasp Anacrabro ocellatus nests which are stocked with plant bugs.
Nest Mates: Round Fungus Beetle Nemadus parasitus, larvae of the Orange-spotted Ladybug Brachiacantha ursina which feeds on root-aphids Pemphigus, Cuckoo Wasps (Bethylidae) Pseudisobrachium ashmeadi and P. elongatum, Short-winged Mold Beetles Batrisodes montrosus and B. ferox, Ground Beetle Panagaeus crucigerus, Rove Beetles Quedius molochinus and Homoeusa expansa.
Note: On May 22, 2014 the Brown Fruit Chafer Euphoria inda was laying eggs in a Smaller Yellow Ant nest. She made two holes about 3 inches apart.
Bird Anting: Blue Jays and Flickers will catch winged males and females, rubbing them on their feathers and then eating them.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway species list, 2008.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Brachynemurus abdominalis

Snap-trap Antlion
Brachynemurus abdominalis

 

Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis female
Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis female from Manitoulin Island, July 04, 2007.

Identification:
Head: Pale yellowish-brown with dark streaks and spots. Large protruding, multi-colored eyes.
Antenna: Segments brownish-yellow, ringed with dark brown. Tips clubbed (clavate), light yellowish-brown.
Thorax: Pale yellowish-brown; streaked darker. Neck (pronotum) with 2 or 3 dark streaks.

 

Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis female wing close-up
Close-up of female wing Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis showing 1st row with small black spots and row above with larger black spots.

Wings: Female has clear wings with deep black veins. Outside (or lower) wing border has dark spots with white dashes in between; black spots are small on first row and large on next row. Both male and female have a faint white spot (stigma) near wing tip; stigma is usually larger on the female. Male wings can be same as the female or entirely tinted a faint yellowish with obvious yellow, long veins.

Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis male
Snap-trap Antlion Brachynemurus abdominalis male on Cinquefoil (Potentilla) in Goron Woods, South meadow, Wheatley, Ontario June 22, 2007.

Legs: Legs thick and short; bright yellow (male’s pale yellow), speckled with black; feet whitish, spotted with black.
Abdomen: Female abdomen yellowish-brown, with darker streaks; tip of abdomen just reaching to wing tips. Male abdomen extending 1/3 past wing tips; last half of abdomen more reddish-yellow than female. 

Similar Species:
B. longicaudus has no white dashes in between spots. Male unmistakable – abdomen twice as long as wings.
The Clouded Antlion B. nebulosus female has dark wings with darker blotches (not spots) and some white on cross-veins. Male wings the same, but a bit darker and with less white.
B. signatus male and female have black-veined wings with no marks.

Size: Female 23 mm long. Male 25 to 33 mm long. Larva 10 mm long 

Flight Time: June to mid-August.

Habitat: Meadows & forest edges with sandy, bare soil.

Food: Larva eat aphids, mites, mealy bugs and particularly ants. Adults feed on nectar.

Life Cycle: Larvae are found in open sandy areas, living just beneath the sand surface. They do not form pits like the Common Antlion Myrmeleon immaculatus.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies and Point Pelee National Park.  Also found at Long Point, and Manitoulin Island.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page