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 Post subject: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: February 11th, 2015, 1:40 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
There are some ants I would like to identify, and I was wondering if there are some signs in their behavior that will help me narrow it down.

I am in the SF Ocean Beach area. I have looked up keys, but will need to trap and freeze some to look at them under magnification. I haven't done that yet, but can with a capacity of up to 60X.

My curiosity about these guys has piqued.

They are significantly smaller than the usual inv Argentines we see. Oddly I haven't seen ANY L. humile here in my home at all, only these tiny guys.

I was interested and very tolerant of their presence, but it has become acute recently, affecting my husbandry routines.

I would rather discourage them than treat them as a pest. I don't consider them that. But they like the same stuff I feed my lizards and recently I was privy to a serious mycobacterium problem with my friends dendrobates collection, he is a physician and had means to pursue the cause and it was carried per physical contact to the environments by the fruit flies.

So I would be more comfortable not having such free biological trafficking going in and out of my animals feeding stations.

I am also very interested in the ants. They are more specific in their food tastes and seem to practice different customs than the Argentines.

Any discussion or comments, information and knowledge, I would really love!

Kelly


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: February 13th, 2015, 7:31 am 
Need a bit more to go on. color, seen singly or in groups. shiny, dull etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: February 13th, 2015, 8:30 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
Thank you Gordon Snelling, for replying.

I see single ones often in odd places. One will travel across my lap top screen, etc.
A group of 10 to 20 will quickly materialize in the presence of a dead insect, or mouse.

They love dead stuff and come quicker for it than any other matter but like fruit too but dead whole things bring them fast, even right out of thaw.

I am assuming this camera will not be able to get any good image of them, but I haven't tried and it will be better than my description. I will also trap and look closer to give more on appearance.

Thank you , I really appreciate your time. I will get an image/s it may not be so good but maybe it will show something.


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: February 14th, 2015, 5:45 am 
Sounds good, camera phone and magnifying glass often works pretty good. however there is only one ant I can think of which will often become active this time of under very cold conditions. Prenolepis imapris is often called the winter ant due to the tolerance of cold temps. and actually will not be active in warmer summer temps. It may be something else of course but a picture may indeed help.


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: February 14th, 2015, 7:22 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Location: San Francisco, California
Thanks! The magnifying glass w/camera, I am going to set that up.

And yes they were in full gale all winter.


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: March 11th, 2015, 10:36 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:56 pm
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Location: New River (Brooker), Florida
Gordon, I was thinking San Francisco was out of the natural range for Prenolepis imparis, but I was wrong. Another possibility would be Brachymyrmex. The foraging traits described by Kelly is a closer match for Brachymyrmex, especially when they forage on the interior of a dwelling.

Kelly, if you have good magnification, count the segments of the antennae. Brachymyrmex has only nine segments. If more than nine, your ID search is back on. :)

Daniel


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: March 11th, 2015, 9:42 pm 
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Will do!

Thanks so much


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: March 31st, 2015, 1:14 am 
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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Hi Guys...

well the update is, I thought it would be easy to trap and freeze these tiny marauders, and I really liked the little glass votive holder I used, it fits very nicely under the magnifier, but man, I couldnt get them to freeze fast enough before they disperse like im the five O. I need to get a significant amount to be able to target a good view in the field of the lens.

Im going to try a spritze of Zodiac Spray, and see if that's good and get back to you about the segments and whatever else I see with these guys.

Kelly


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2015, 4:28 pm 
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Thawed pinky left on a gauze square just got me a dense hoard for viewing. Zip locked them and will report back :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 7:09 am 
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The light blew out in my magnifyer :x :x :x so its been awkward staying in stable range on the pad, using another handheld beam aimed under, in, etc tiresome ugh but I want to describe what Ive seen so far.

although these tiny ants look dark in normal setting and light, they transluce amber with a banded abdomen. They are polished and rounded all over, with relatively large Round heartish heads. Cherubic if I were to use one word. Not narrow or waspy.

In a key of ants I saw heads that were more angular and had granulated texture on heads. These don't at all.

In counting the segments I have been inconclusive I need to go in tighter which I cant until I get the bulb replaced in the magnifier.


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 11:47 am 
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Also the band is smoky and not well defined.


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: June 2nd, 2015, 2:12 pm 
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Update ok just now ..

I am disabled from using the tight focus needed to make an accurate segment count as I explained above, but looking a fresh killed guy I was able to see that what I learned were called petiole nodes are present in these ants.

I also see that what appeared an indistinct band was probably just a darkening effect of the thawing in the ones on the gauze. I was suspicious of that recollection so pyrethrined a new batch.

Any recommendations on a new field microscope or magnifier would be great too - this one I think has had it.

Thanks again !

edit p.s... the petiole nodes rule out Brachemyrmex ? (learned since being on this thread)


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 Post subject: Re: Ant ID using behavioral clues
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2015, 7:44 pm 
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I think they are rigged up closest to Solenopsis molesta comparing to macro and diagrams and the matter they are most attracted to.

I don't know if the range is right, but other people have reported similar ants informally I just read but informally is as far as Ive got.


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