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Black ants carrying something? - Formica subsericea

Black ants carrying something? - Formica subsericea
Sylva - 15 min from Great Smoky Mountains NP, Jackson County, North Carolina, USA
June 19, 2013
Size: .5 inch
Have been watching these ants busily carrying these cocoon like things across my driveway for a couple of weeks now. Cannot seem to identify where they are coming from or where they are going. Does anyone have an idea as to what these cocoon like things are and what the ants are doing with them? Thanks!

That's a cocoon, most likely enclosing a male pupa (a bit larger than the worker). From repeated carrying, the cocoons become creased, which eases transport, and does not harm the developing ant within. Ants commonly move some of their brood to warmer and drier (or cooler) microhabitats, when weather differs form their optimum conditions for development.

Cracked me up!
Their dinner looks like a really small baked potato that's been a tad too long in the microwave.

Cropped and moved for expert attention.
Moved from ID Request.

I took the liberty of cropping your pic, because only you and the experts have the option of viewing the full-size image. Everyone else is left looking at some tiny ants in a lot of unnecessary background. :)

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