Here are two posters which summarize preliminary work on the distribution of nests of the Comanche harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex comanche) in the Fort Worth Nature Center, Fort Worth Texas. The nests were located visually by walking through the habitat and locating nests and following foragers back to nests. Nests were then flagged and GIS coordinates recorded. Environmental variables, geospatial data, and co-occurring ant species (Forelius and Trachymyrmex turrifex) were also evaluated.
I am currently working through 5 years of this kind of data for my final dissertation project. In the final project, I also have nest locations for a population in the Southwest Nature Preserve in Arlington, Texas.
From 2010: Nest Distribution of the Comanche Harvester Ant
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.