Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ant War

Photos and text courtesy of Gerry Morgan (of the turkey vultures). All photos clickable.
I've been doing a lot of reading about ants since we had an "ant war" in our yard between two colonies. Fascinating stuff. It took 2-3 days to get  resolved. The source of the dispute was that the (red) harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex maricopa) had a hole that emerged right between two holes belonging to the (black) long-legged ants (Aphenagaster cockerelli).
Note the smaller harvester ant hole in the center
The harvester ants have very strong venom but are far less aggressive than the black ants, so the black ants tend to prevail. 

In [the shot below], you can see a  harvester being dragged down the black ants' hole. I imagine it was welcomed by a large, villainous ant saying, "Welcome to our nest, Mr Bond, have our soldiers made you comfortable?"
007 is going down this time
The photos show a quite spirited battle, but the odd thing was that most of the ants were not taking part. I feel rather like a news reporter who comes back from a mostly-peaceful event with photos that tend to suggest it was quite different.
Here, the harvester ants prevail
I was reading a book about ants when all this happened and it inspired me to read a couple more.
Anne asks: How about reading about, say, dinosaurs? When can we expect photos? Thanks, Gerry, for sharing this documentary. 

No comments:

Post a Comment