Monday, July 13, 2009


The following are ants of the genus Camponotus: Carpenter ants. Some distinguishing characteristics include the smooth profile of the thorax towards the abdomen, lack of the metapleural gland orifice, antennae arising above the dorsal edge of the clypeus, and the absence of guard setae. One is a soldier ant, which is larger than worker ants, and the other is a winged alate, or reproductive individual. The soldiers are responsible for defense of the nest and the colony's territory. When mating season arrives, the male and female winged alates take to the air to mate. After mating, the male ant dies while the female ant discards her wings and burrows to found a new colony.

Hymenoptera; Aculeata; Vespoidea; Formicidae; Formicinae; Camponotus
Common Name: Carpenter Ant

A useful key to the genera of Formicinae can be found here. The family containing ants is named "Formicidae" from the Latin name for ant (Formica). Methanoic acid is most commonly found in ant venom/stings, giving the acid the common name "Formic Acid." Ant societies are fascinating, and I highly recommend checking out books written or videos narrated by Edward O. Wilson, the leading expert on Formicidae. Here is one to get you started. Tip from gardening societies: To eliminate an ant colony in an environmentally friendly way, pour boiling water into the nest.

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