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ants tending an aphid - Dolichoderus mariae

ants tending an aphid - Dolichoderus mariae
Albany, Carroll County, New Hampshire, USA
August 1, 2006

Dolichoderus mariae - workers
Very nice close-up, clearly showing peculiar shape of head and propodeum of the worker at foreground. Just like Lynette's workers, these ones seem to visit a Pine tree. Indeed, this species is found almost exclusively in Pine forests, where it makes its nests in dry grass tussocks.

Not limited just to pine forests
This is a lovely and rather uncommon ant, though quite widely distributed in the eastern half of temperate eastern North America. But it is not strictly a pine associated, ant. In my experience, it is an ant of a variety of acid-soil substrates with semi-open vegetation, including peat bogs in the North, and sandy-soil savannas and open woodlands of various sorts (various pine species, various oak species, and various mixtures of these), and even cherty clay woodland-grassland ecotones in the Ozarks.

Thanks Richard
Most of the ants lately look like ones I've photographed before. It's good to get a new (for me) species.

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