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Photo © Ken-ichi Ueda, some rights reserved
Mount Diablo State Park, Co... (Google, OSM) Details Hide details

Description

These cute little ants were... doing something. Their males were taking off, so maybe they were throwing a party.

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Comments & Identifications

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Ants - Photo (c) Farhan Bokhari, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)
kueda's ID: Ants (Family Formicidae)
Posted by kueda over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Small Honey Ant - Photo (c) Ian Marsman, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)
m_prebus's ID: Small Honey Ant (Prenolepis imparis)
Posted by m_prebus almost 3 years ago (Flag)
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Welcome to iNat! Are there some features you're seeing in these photos that lead you to this ID?

Posted by kueda almost 3 years ago (Flag)
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Now that I look at this, I agree this is Prenolepis imparis too (one of the few ants I know). These are the small black ants that look kind of like the invasive argentine ant but their abdomens are bigger (and are native). They're often found walking around solitarily in the winter, and like argentine ants, they tend aphids.

Posted by loarie almost 3 years ago (Flag)
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Yes, they are super common and conspicuous in this part of the country, one of the few ant species that are active during the winter. Their mesosoma has a pretty distinctive profile: a bulbous pronotum followed by depressed mesonotum/propodeum, with a lateral promesonotal constriction. Their eyes are relatively large and set far back on their almost spherical head, and the gaster is big and fairly pointy posteriorly. If you were to look at their petiole under a microscope you would notice it has a distinctive wedge shape, too.

Posted by m_prebus almost 3 years ago (Flag)
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I just noticed that in some of the original pictures, you can see a tiny fringe of hairs at the tip of the gaster: the acidopore. This is a feature of the subfamily Formicinae, which automatically tells you that this isn't an Argentine ant, which belongs to the Dolichoderinae.

Posted by m_prebus almost 3 years ago (Flag)
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Small Honey Ant - Photo (c) Ian Marsman, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)
kueda's ID: Small Honey Ant (Prenolepis imparis)

Great, thanks for the info, you guys.

Posted by kueda almost 3 years ago (Flag)
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Small Honey Ant - Photo (c) Ian Marsman, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)
kueda's ID: Small Honey Ant (Prenolepis imparis)
Small Honey Ant - Photo (c) Ian Marsman, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)
m_prebus's ID: Small Honey Ant (Prenolepis imparis)
kueda has chosen to retain control over the taxa associated with their observations
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Observation © Ken-ichi Ueda
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