Subfamily MYRMICINAE
Tribe MYRMICINI

Pogonomyrmex badius (Latreille)

Pogonomyrmex badius, full face view of major worker (click image to enlarge) .
Pogonomyrmex badius, profile view of a major worker. Note the psammophore on the ventral side of the head.
Pogonomyrmex badius colony
P. badius workers
P. badius colony at Ohoopee Dunes, Emanuel Co. GA
P. badius colony in GA
P. badius colony in Smith Co., MS

Pogonomyrmex badius (the Florida harvester ant) workers are strongly dimorphic with major workers having large heads and being much larger than the minor workers. They are large ants that recognized by their size, the presence of a psammophore (a series of long hairs-see photo above) on the ventral surface of the head, metasternal process in the form of two large prominent teeth, palp formula 5, 3, and the middle and hind tibial spurs being pectinate.

This species nests in deep sand habitats and makes large crater like nests that are often covered with debris and with many individuals in a colony.

Pogonomyrmex badius is the only species in the genus found east of the Mississippi River. Until recently, this species was thought to have been extirpated from Mississippi by competition from imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri) and from control measures aimed at the fire ants. However, since 2006, harvester ants have documented to occur in many sandy areas in Mississippi (MacGown et al. 2008).

Literature Cited

MacGown, J. A., J. G. Hill, L. C. Majure, J. L. Seltzer. 2008. Rediscovery of Pogonomyrmex badius (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in mainland Mississippi, with an analysis of associated seeds and vegetation (online: http://midsouthentomologist.org.msstate.edu/Volume1/Vol1_1_html_files/vol1-1_004.html). Midsouth Entomologist 1 (1): 17-28. [pdf]

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