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Ant - Formica montana

Ant - Formica montana
Ackworth, Warren County, Iowa, USA
March 22, 2009
Size: ~4 mm
A small colony of these ants was active today on the south-facing backslope of a road ditch along the edge of my front lawn. The colony was ~20 cm in diameter, partially covered with short grass, with several entrance holes. I managed to photograph one of the many ants walking across the colony (first photo) and also one standing at an entrance hole in a defensive posture (second photo, enlarged in third photo).

Images of this individual: tag all
Ant - Formica montana Ant - Formica montana Ant - Formica montana

Moved from Formica subsericea. Thanks for the annotation, James!

One should not do bugguide id's on the iPhone, after a beer or two, or whatever was wrong with me when I determined these from John's photos. But it's good to admit one's mistakes, so: This is clearly a bit brownish and has evident bristles on the head and thorax -- therefore, F. montana. These do very well in intermittently wet places like low prairies, sedge meadows and yes, ditches of the upper Midwest, while generally, the slightly larger and blacker F. subsericea is found in better drained sites.

ID by James Trager
Thanks again, James!

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