First, the weather: it rained yesterday just enough for Comanche harvester ant colonies not to be active, so I got no field work done. Today, it was very overcast in the morning but warm and humid without rain. But none of the colonies I needed to work with become active. So, I lost two field days. Argh.
Second, while in the field today, I checked on the Trachymyrmex septentrionalis nest which had Solenopsis xyloni coming in and out. Today, I did see some more S. xyloni associated with the Trachy nest but not as many or as busy as a few days ago.
Here are two photos of some of T. septentrionalis activity. Note in the first, the ant on the left is carrying out a corpse.
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis performing nest maintenance. Fort Worth Nature Center, Fort Worth, Texas.
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis working on their nest, Fort Worth Nature Center, Fort Worth, Texas.
In another post, I mentioned the possibility for ant lion larvae (Order Neuroptera, Family Myrmeleontidae) to be predators on the Comanche harvester ant. I have run 60 trials to test this idea and of these only 1 ended in the death of the ant. However, the ant lion did not eat this ant. It appeared that the ant was also successful in stinging the ant lion. I am gathering more data on this interaction. Here is a short video typical of the interaction between the Comanche harvester ant and ant lion larvae in the Fort Worth Nature Center.