Ants Of Daley Ranch 8

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Daley Ranch Ants:  
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Ants Of Daley Ranch, San Diego County Part 8 (of 9)

Amber Twig Ant (Pseudomyrmex apache)

I'm quite certain that most ant species I have found in the nearby Merriam Mtns (San Marcos & Escondido) and Owens Peak (San Marcos) will eventually be discovered in the 3,000 acres of Daley Ranch, including chaparral, coastal sage scrub, grassland, coast live oak and riparian woodland. For example, I found a single amber twig ant (Pseudomyrmex apache) on coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea) on nearby Owens Peak in San Marcos. This shrub is common at Daley Ranch in riparian scrub and coastal sage scrub.

The above image shows a single amber twig ant collected 1 November 2013 on the stem of a flowering female shrub that keys out to chaparral broom B. sarothroides, although it is probably a fall-blooming Baccharis pilularis ssp. consanguinea). All of the nearby shrubs are coyote brush, and I have often seen scattered shrubs in coyote brush populations that more closely resemble chaparral broom (B. sarothroides), particulary in the fall-blooming months. Other ants in the area (Tapinoma sessile and Formica aerata) appeared interested in the numerous flowering heads of seed-bearing achenes on female coyote brush.

Pseudomyrmex apache typically nests inside cavities of dead branches and abandoned galleries hollowed-out by beetles. According to Pseudomyrmex apache is found throughout most of California except the mountains and extreme north. It occurs in chaparral, oak woodland, mixed (oak-pine-douglas fir) forest, coastal sage scrub, and desert riparian sites. Nests have been collected in dead branches of Arctostaphylos, Baccharis, Quercus and Umbellularia. There are also records from a Fraxinus gall and a Pinus attenuata cone. Workers appear to be generalist scavengers." My specimen was discovered in the coastal sage scrub of northern San Diego County (north side of Owens Peak) on a flowering coyote brush . /font>

  More Images Of Pseudomyrmex apache On Owens Peak  

Stem Ant Queen Found On Owens Peak In Swollen Stem Of Coyote Brush (10 Dec 2015)

Stem Ant Queen (Pseudomyrmex apache)
In late November 2015 I noticed a coyote brush (Baccharris pilularis ssp. consanguinea) on the north side of Owens Peak with a swollen stem and entrance/exit hole. I brought the stem home to determine if anyone was inside. Several weeks later (10 Dec 2015) I discovered a twig ant who had apparently crawled out of the opening. Based on the body length and wing scars, this was probably a queen. In addition, her head was a little more rectangular and elongate than workers. There were no eggs, larvae or workers inside the gall-shaped stem; however there were a few unidentified insect body parts. Most authorities state that she takes advantage of pre-existing cavities in stems made by insects, such as wood-boring beetles. This remarkable ant is undoubtedy nesting in coyote brush stems at Daley Ranch.
Creighton, W. S. 1953. Pseudomyrmex apache, a New Species From The Southwestern United States
(Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Cambridge) 59: 131-142.

  Galls On Coyote Brush Made By A Rust Fungus  

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