Monday, May 05, 2008

Ants of Berrien County, Michigan

Ants are those tiny, creepy, crawly things of the insect world that make some people go "Eeew!" when they come upon one of their colonies. But they are also utterly fascinating. Just ask E. O. Wilson!

Of 113 species of ants (Family Formicidae, Order Hymenoptera, Class Insecta) known from the State of Michigan, 36 have been documented to occur in Berrien County; these represent 4 subfamilies and 16 genera. The following list is based on a Checklist of the ants of Michigan; the habitat associations of each species in quotes are from Wheeler et al (1994). Some of these species (see especially the ones with common English names) are potential pests in and about the home:
Subfamily Ponerinae (1 species, 1 genus):
  • Ponera pennsylvanica – “in rotting logs in woods”

    Subfamily Myrmicinae (15species, 9 genera):
  • Aphaenogaster rudis – “in logs or stumps in woods”
  • Aphaenogaster tennesseensis – “in hard woods of logs and stumps in woods”
  • Crematogaster cerasi – “in logs and stumps in dense woods”
  • Crematogaster lineolata, acrobat ant – “in logs and stumps in open woods”
  • Leptothorax curvispinosus – “in acorns and twigs in open woods”
  • Leptothorax longispinosus – “in logs or stumps in moist woods”
  • Monomorium minimum, little black ant – “in soil in dry grassy areas”
  • Myrmecina americana – “in logs and stumps in moist woods”
  • Myrmica detritinodis – “in logs and stumps in moist woods”
  • Myrmica incomplete – “in soil and moss hummocks in bogs and swamps”
  • Myrmica punctiventris – “in soil in mesic woods”
  • Pheidole bicarinata – “in soil in sand dunes and ridges”
  • Solenopsis molesta, thief ant – “in soil in grasslands”
  • Stenamma brevicorne – “in soil in open woods”

    Subfamily Dolichoderinae (2 species, 2 genera):
  • Dolichoderus mariae – “in domes of plant fragments and soil in marshes and swamps”
  • Tapinoma sessile, odorous house ant – “in soil, under bark, and in dead plant cavities in diverse habitats”

    Subfamily Formicinae (18 species, 4 genera):
  • Acanthomyops claviger – “in and/or under stumps and logs or under rocks in woods or the edges of fields”
  • Acanthomyops latipes – “in soil of grassy habitats”
  • Camponotus ferrugineus, carpenter ant – “in logs and stumps in woods”
  • Camponotus nearcticus, carpenter ant – “in twigs and branches and under bark in woods”
  • Camponotus novaeboracensis, carpenter ant – “in logs and stumps in moist woods”
  • Camponotus pennsylvanicus, carpenter ant – “in logs and stumps and in dead wood in living trees in dry woods”
  • Formica argentea – “in soil in field-woods edges”
  • Formica exsectoides, Allegheny mound ant – “in large mounds of soil in dry fields near woods”
  • Formica fusco – “in logs, stumps and soil in mesic woods”
  • Formica pallidefulva – “in soil, often under objects, in woods and woods edges”
  • Formica schaufussi – “in soil in grasslands and field edges”
  • Formica subsericea – “in soil in grasslands, woods edge, and open woods”
  • Formica ulkei – “in large mounds of soil in fields near water”
  • Formica vinculans – “in soil in dry grasslands”
  • Lasius alienus, cornfield ant – “in logs and stumps and in soil in woods”
  • Lasius nearcticus – “in soil under rocks and logs in mesic woods”
  • Lasius neoniger – “in soil with nest entrances surrounded by craters of soil particles; in grasslands and open woods”
  • Lasius umbratus – “in soil mounds and under stumps and logs in woods and swamps”
  • Citation:
    Wheeler, George C., Jeanette N. Wheeler, and Paul B. Kannowski. 1994. Checklist of the ants of Michigan (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Great Lakes Entomologist 26:297-310.

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