I am completing the ant identifications for the prairie and forest in the Southwest Nature Preserve in Arlington, Texas and the additional prairies, Statford and Tandy Hills, in Fort Worth, Texas. I believe I have found another Temnothorax species which I have not been able to identify and another Pheidole species. This is quite exciting. No Pogonomyrmex ants are found in the Stratford or Tandy Hills Prairies.
I have worked through the woodland sample from the Southwestern Nature Preserve, Arlington, Texas. Not many ants were in this sample, possible due to the continued heat.
Crematogaster lineolata (acrobatic ants)
Aphaenogaster carolinesis (I am pretty sure)
Pheidole – no species id yet (new to me) (big headed ants — definite majors and minors)
Temnothorax — not species Id yet (new to me; perhaps new find for Texas)
and one Pogonomyrmex comanche de-alate queen who may have been working as a forager for her natal colony (too late for her to be a newly mated queen). (the Comanche harvester ant)
The prairie sample has a lot more ants in it — which I found a bit surprising since it is so hot (still) now. I had thought the shade of the woodland would have allowed more species to remain active and the prairie ants would be on siesta. The traps are set out for several days in order to catch the ants whenever they are active.
I am collecting more ant samples using pitfall traps to increase the sample size and the number of different habitats for my ant assemblage study (per the suggestion of one of my committee members). I added two areas from the Southwest Nature Preserve in Arlington, Texas. One site is a mixed soil prairie site where there is a population of the Comanche harvester ant of about 50 colonies. The other is the forested site immediately beside this prairie. I will also be adding two sites from the Tandy Hills in Fort Worth and several more from the Fort Worth Nature Center. Here is the beginning data from the Southwest Nature Preserve:
I set out the traps on September 5 and collected the sample on the 8th. Looks like I have a new Temnothorax species which I haven’t been able to identify yet. I also have a de-alate Comanche queen from the forest. She cannot have been starting a new colony since these ants mate in May and June. This collection confirms my earlier observation of de-alate Comanche queens remaining in their natal nests as foragers in another population.
So far in the prairie: Pogonomyrmex comanche, Dorymyrmex (probably two species), Forelius, Pheidole, Nylanderia (two species, maybe three), Trachymyrmex, Temnothorax texanus, Solenopsis (fire ant), Solenopsis (thief ant), and Crematogaster.
In the woods: Aphaenogaster, Pheidole, Crematogaster, de-alate Pogonomyrmex comanche queen, and Temnothorax.
Still working on species identifications. Of course, now I get to redo all my ordination analyses.