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Queen of False Honeypot Ants - Prenolepis imparis - female

Queen of False Honeypot Ants - Prenolepis imparis - Female
Sunnyvale, Santa Clara County, California, USA
March 4, 2008
Any thoughts on this reddish winged insect?

Images of this individual: tag all
Queen of False Honeypot Ants - Prenolepis imparis - female Queen of False Honeypot Ants - Prenolepis imparis - female

...for a lot of good information! It does sort of make one wonder what a true honey ant is, in the few "false" hymenopterans that I've come across gave me the impression that the disguise was useful to dissuade would-be diners. Somehow, I don't imagine a lot of ant predators are going to be intimidated by this charade.

'False' vs 'True' honey ants
In this case, 'false honey ant' does not indicate mimicry. The 'true' North American honey ants (also called honeypot ants) belong to the genus Myrmecocystus . Their common name derives from the habit of gathering sugary fluids and storing them in the greatly distended stomachs of particular workers known as repletes. These are large workers which are selected as soon as they emerge from the pupa and are fed while the cuticle is still stretchy. They spend the rest of their lives hanging by their feet from the roof of the nest.
In Prenolepis there are also certain workers which store liquid food. However, the workers are not as specialized; they can still forage and perform other duties besides regurgitating food to their sisters.

It never ceases to amaze me!
The complex way that insects take care of their needs. In the case of ants many of these behaviors take place inside their colony. It kind of makes me wish I had an ant farm!

a reddish winged Ant...
at any rate, but I'm quite unsure of the gender. Such distinctly elbowed antennae, and the relatively light color, are rather rare among male ants.
Moreover, an acidopore, the hallmark for females and workers of the Formicinae subfamily, seems to be visible at the apex of the gaster (abdomen). Absence of a closed "discoidal" cell on forewings suggests a Prenolepis imparis (False Honey Ant) winged female.

I do believe Richard got it.
I do believe Richard got it.

say it looks more like a male ant of some species...

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