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TaxonomyBrowse
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Species Pogonomyrmex barbatus - Red Harvester Ant

Ants in conflict - Pogonomyrmex barbatus - female ants in the trail - Pogonomyrmex barbatus Ant - Pogonomyrmex barbatus Unknown bug.   - Pogonomyrmex barbatus Ants eating a crab - Pogonomyrmex barbatus Ants - Pogonomyrmex barbatus P. barbatus - Pogonomyrmex barbatus Red harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus)? - Pogonomyrmex barbatus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Formicoidea (Ants)
Family Formicidae (Ants)
Subfamily Myrmicinae
Tribe Pogonomyrmecini
Genus Pogonomyrmex (Harvester Ants)
Species barbatus (Red Harvester Ant)
Size
Workers are 1/4 to 1/2 inch, Queens at the largest end of that range
Identification
Long propodeal spines, broad square head, and fine, fingerprint-like cephalic rugosity.
Nest structure varies but is a plant-free gravelly area, either a mound or flat disc, up to 6 feet across.
Range
From eastern Louisiana and Arkansas west to central Arizona and Nevada, south into Mexico.
Habitat
Mesic habitats with significant clay in the soil, usually open grassy areas in sun or shade
Season
Mating flights are triggered by summer rains.
Food
Mostly seeds (will raid bird feeders) but also scavenges dead insects
Life Cycle
Monogynous (single-queen) colonies. Males die shortly after the mating flight. Mated females disperse to found their own colonies. Colony size increases over first 5 years before levelling off around 10,000+ workers, though some reach twice this size. Colony may go 20 feet beneath the soil's surface and span several meters across. Colony life expectancy is 15-20 years.
Remarks
This species is the primary food of the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) in part or all of the lizard's range.

This ant's sting is more painful than most species in its range, but is rarely used.

The removal of plants from the area around the colony entrance helps prevent plant roots from disrupting the subterranean tunnels.