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

Crematogaster cersi

Acrobat Ants
Crematogaster cerasi

Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi worker dumping chewed wood bits off the edge of new nest, piece by piece. July 21, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi worker dumping chewed wood bits off the edge of new nest, piece by piece. July 21, 2014 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi workers stealing pollen of Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica. May 21, 2011 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi workers stealing pollen mixture from Eastern Carpenter Bee Xylocopa virginica. May 21, 2011 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi worker on Euonymus flower May 22, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi worker on Euonymus flower May 22, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi workers tending aphids on Catnip. Jul 11, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi workers tending aphids on Catnip. Jul 11, 2009 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi workers May 30, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi workers May 30, 2008 Wheatley, Ontario.
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi queen
Acrobat Ant Crematogaster cerasi queen. Sep 10, 2007 Wheatley, Ontario.

Identification: Workers are tiny black or with a reddish thorax and pointed abdomens. Abdomens are often raised. Antenna base (scape) is longer than the head. The end of the thorax has a pair of long spines. The joint (petiole) to the abdomen is considered two segments but they are flattened, and attached to the upper side of the abdomen, rather than in the center as with all other ants. Queens are all reddish to shiny black with three distinct rows of hairs on the abdomen and a pointed tip. Males are small and black with very tiny heads.

Size: Workers and males 2.5 to 4 mm. Queen about 6 mm.

Flight Time: July to October.

Habitat: Forests and prairies, wet meadows. Nests in wood, grass clumps or under rocks.

Food: Honeydew aphids and treehoppers, dead insects, and have been seen building plant fragment tents over the bugs. Also in Eastern Carpenter Bee nests.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. Also in Michigan.

 

Aphaenogaster tennesseensis

Spine-waisted Ant
Aphaenogaster tennesseensis

Spine-waisted Ant Aphaenogaster tennesseensis male
Spine-waisted Ant Aphaenogaster tennesseensis male. Came to moth light June 28, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.
Spine-waisted Ant Aphaenogaster tennesseensis male
Spine-waisted Ant Aphaenogaster tennesseensis male. Came to moth light July 10, 2011. Wheatley, Ontario.
Spine-waisted Ant Aphaenogaster tennesseensis male
Spine-waisted Ant Aphaenogaster tennesseensis male. Came to moth light July 15, 2012. Wheatley, Ontario.

A fee no gas’ ter
Identification: Generally, spine-waisted ants are thin with very long legs. Aphaenogaster tennesseensis queen and male have smooth, untextured bodies; workers have rough, textured head and thorax, abdomen smooth.

Head: Workers are dark reddish-brown and almost hairless; head has coarse texture. Small eyes. Mandibles small, curved inward and downward. Queen head almost entirely shiny, not rough. Male head is black, shiny, no texture; yellow mandibles; large prominent eyes placed nearer mouth.
Antenna: Base (scape) very low on face, near mouth. Female base extends past head. Antenna segments are hairy; no clubs at tip. Male antenna yellowish, base (scape) is extremely short = 4 antenna segments.
Note: The longest, and sometimes called the first antenna segment is actually the scape or base. The antenna segments are all very short compared to the base or scape.
Thorax: Dark reddish-brown. Neck (prothorax) narrower than head. First part of thorax is high, humped on top, rest of thorax is much lower or depressed. Very large pair of curved, thick spines at the end of the thorax on workers and queen. Worker thorax is rough textured. Queen has smooth shiny thorax.
Thorax on male is black, shiny, smooth; thorax end has two short, blunt protrusions. The joint between thorax and abdomen is wider at abdomen end. Queen and male entirely shiny, no texture.
Wings: Wings extend slightly past abdomen.
Legs: Legs dark. Male has mostly clear yellowish legs; hind thigh (femur) very long.
Abdomen: Abdomen is more yellowish-red on female, darker on worker; no hair. Male abdomen is black, with very few short hairs. Queen, worker and male all have shiny abdomens, no texture.

Similar Species: Aphaenogaster treatae has a thick appendage on the front of the base (scape) of the antennae and is found only in Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend, Ont. Males also look similar to the male Pavement Ant Tetramorium caespitum, but hind thigh (femur) is about 4 times as long in the Spine-waisted, and antenna are much longer. All Aphaenogaster males have longer hairs on abdomen, except Aphaenogaster tennesseensis.

Size: Worker, Queen and Male 4 to 5.5 mm long.

Flight Time: July and August.

Habitat: Forests with decaying logs, stumps.

Food: Scavengers of small insects and honeydew. Will eat mushrooms, apparently for moisture content. Aphaenogaster tennesseensis is a predator of the destructive oak borer long-horn beetle, Enaphalodes rufulus.
Spine-waisted ants take seeds of Wild Ginger and Trillium to the nest, eat the coating off the seeds, then return the seeds back to the forest. They also use leaves to soak up liquids and take the leaves back to the nest.

Life Cycle: Nests can be small or large, usually in rotting wood, but they may live in soil if taking over another Aphaenogaster species nest. A. tennesseensis is a Slave-maker of A. rudis and treatae. Typically, with parasitic species, queens, males and workers are all the same size.

Nest Mates: The Ant-like Stone Beetle Scydmaenus zimmermanni was found in their nests in Michigan Jun 21, 1933. Beetles were “numerous and quite unmolested by the ants.” Also the Short-winged Mold Beetle Tyrus humeralis can reside in these ant’s nests.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies. Also in Michigan

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