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False Honey Ant (Probably a Dealated Queen) - Prenolepis imparis - female

False Honey Ant (Probably a Dealated Queen) - Prenolepis imparis - Female
Berkeley, California, USA
March 5, 2007

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False Honey Ant (Probably a Dealated Queen) - Prenolepis imparis - female False Honey Ant (Probably a Dealated Queen) - Prenolepis imparis - female

Ant (Formicidae)

Looks like Argentine ant, plus size
I'm fairly sure, and it's the most common in California.


I'd rather say...
a dealated young queen of the false-honey ant, Prenolepis imparis. Argentine ant queens are similar by color, but have a more slender outline, without such a huge gaster.
Moreover, this is consistent with the early swarming date, typical of the falste honey ant.

I quickly defer to Richard on this one.
No ant expert here.

Oversized Ant
My first thought was False Honey Ant (especially because we have a lot of them in our garden), but the size, color, and body segmentation were off. I think Richard must be right...
The False Honey Ants that I find usually look like this:

Strong caste dimorphism...
accounts for this striking differences, both in size and color, between queens and workers. This is not uncommon in monogynous, independent founding evolved Formicinae and Myrmicinae. By contrast, Argentine ant is a highly polygynous species.

Ants really puzzle me on several fronts.
In southern California, where I'm told are between 200-300 species, I hardly ever see anything but Argentine and harvester ants. And it wasn't for lack of looking! However, in the last couple of weeks, I've seen some different ones. Apparently, you have more variety and/or are a better spotter.

Argentine ants...
tend to wipe out most indigenous ant species where introduced. Once their colonies form a dense network, hardly any other small or medium sized species can survive. That's why this is almost the only ant species you can find in your region. I think you're a good spotter, given the quantity of interesting bees and flies you notice.

Thanks for the info and your kind words, Richard.
I have found a couple different types of ants recently, the only identified one being velvety tree ant. Thankfully, they're very distictive, as I'm sure you know. I didn't see any Argentine ants anywhere near these, which I found atop and under about 8" of live oak leaves. Your info about the dominance of the Argentine ants certainly dovetails with what I've seen here. Thanks again!

It just so happens that I am from SoCal and I had never seen a False Honey Ant until I came to NorCal!

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