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For the United States & Canada
Photo#1045680
Pogonomyrmex californicus? - Pogonomyrmex californicus

Pogonomyrmex californicus? - Pogonomyrmex californicus
Oso Flaco Dunes, San Luis Obispo County, California, USA
March 8, 2015
Size: ~5mm
Found in sandy coastal back dune habitat

Images of this individual: tag all
Pogonomyrmex californicus? - Pogonomyrmex californicus Pogonomyrmex californicus? - Pogonomyrmex californicus Pogonomyrmex californicus? - Pogonomyrmex californicus Pogonomyrmex californicus? - Pogonomyrmex californicus

Moved

Moved
Moved from Harvester Ants.

Moved
Moved from Ants.

It's very difficult
to know P. californicus through photos.
The key is "cephalic interrugal areolation absent to moderate (never beaded)" which means the areas between the rugae on the face are flat without "dimples". Only the most detailed photos capture this, so your ants will have to remain at genus level for now.

Here's the link to a key in case you encounter these again:
http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Key_to_North_American_Pogonomyrmex

 
Larger size
if it helps, this is the link to the larger image http://bugguide.net/images/raw/8KO/KQK/8KOKQK2K0K6KHK2K0KPK0KDKSKA0KK9KEQ105QEK0KDKWQTK5KBK5KCKVQAKBQ1KVQY0NQY08Q2KHKWK.jpg also see http://bugguide.net/images/raw/LL2/ZLL/LL2ZLL6ZRL2ZSL6ZZL5ZQL5ZILFHXH5ZSLBH6HWZXL1ZNHBZWHWZ8LFH2HYHPHLR8H1HRL8ZILHRILZR.jpg, you should be able to click on the linked image and blow it up even more. If I'm interpreting what you're saying right, from the big images, they look consistent with P. californicus?

 
Bigger images
If the above doesn't work, these are cross posted on my flicker page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44150996@N06/16573590580/sizes/o/

 
The images
are still not detailed enough to say for certain, check out couplet 26 of the key I linked above and look at the face photos of both P. californicus and P. maricopa. P. maricopa's "dimples" in between the rugae of the face are very subtle. It's likely one of these two species

 
Range
Could range be a determinant? The only California locality for P. maricopa I'm seeing on antweb is on the AZ border with nothing near the central coast of California while there are records for P. californicus fairly close to where these were photographed. But, I do realize that their range maps aren't complete.

 
I'm not qualified
Enough to know if range is a determining factor. From what I know in AZ, californicus is more common, but maricopa occurs in the same kind of habitats just less frequently. It's a good bet yours is californicus but I can't rule out maricopa as a possibility. Perhaps someone else will be able to confirm with range.