Random Insect: Carpenter ant queen

Carpenter ant queen (Camponotus sp., Formicidae) photographed 05/07/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

A couple of week ago I found this ant (family Formicidae) crawling around on some foliage in a Michigan mesic southern forest.  I keyed it out to the subfamily Formicinae, and then the genus Camponotus (carpenter ants).  I suspect it’s of the species C. castaneus.

Carpenter ant queen (Camponotus sp., Formicidae) photographed 05/07/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Winged ants like the individual shown here are either males or queens.  They’re winged because they engage in mating flights.  Soon after these events, the males die and the queens go off to start a colony.  They’ll then either shed their own wings, or their workers will chew them off for them (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).

Carpenter ant queen (Camponotus sp., Formicidae) photographed 05/07/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

After reading an introduction to queen ant identification, I realized this individual is indeed a queen.  Males have smaller abdomens, smaller heads, and larger eyes.  Males are also smaller overall; this individual was about 2 cm in length, quite large for an ant in this area.

Literature cited:

Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson.  2005.  Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects.  Seventh Edition.  Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Random Insect: Carpenter ant queen

  1. Pingback: Random Insect: Carpenter ant queen | The Life of Your Time | Carpenter Ants

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