Subfamily DOLICHODERINAE
Tribe DOLICHODERINI

Dolichoderus taschenbergi (Mayr)
Dolichoderus taschenbergi, frontal view of the head of a worker.
Dolichoderus taschenbergi, side view of a worker.

The Dolichoderus species found in the U.S are small to medium sized ants that are somewhat atypical for other North American Dolichoderinae in that the integument is harder, and not as thin and flexible as in our other Dolichoderine genera. Additionally, they can be characterized by having strong sculpture on the alitrunk, and the declivious face of the propodeum being strongly concave (see side view above). Species found in the U.S. possess "repugnatorial" glands, which produce a pungent or smoky smelling volatile secretion (Creighton 1950). They collect the sweet secretions produced by various homopterans and eat other insects for sustenance.

Workers of Dolichoderus taschenbergi can be distinguished by the following characteristics: head with regular, but shallow punctures; alitrunk and propodeal dorsum with stronger punctures, some foveolate; body mostly lacking erect hairs except for a few on scapes (apex), head, pronotum, and gaster; the dorsal surface of the propodeum subquadrate, less than 1.2 times as long as broad; color is a uniform brownish black to piceous.

According to Creighton (1950), this species has large colonies with thousands of workers. Nests are usually in sandy soils and constructed beneath grasses or bushes. They are found in a variety of habitats including open grassy areas to shaded forests. Similar to other Dolichoderus species, they collect the sweet secretions produced by various homopterans and eat other insects for sustenance. Apparently, colonies have multiple queens.

North American species are only found east of the Rocky Mountains. This species is no exception and is widely distributed in the eastern U.S. However, we have only collected this species in three counties in central MS.

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