Ants of Tucson, Arizona: Mystery

The challenge: to see how many species of ants I could find in Tucson, Arizona in two hours.

Species 5:  You tell me.

To make this a little more fun, why don’t you tell me what the fifth species is.

Bonus:  What is this ant carrying?

4 Replies to “Ants of Tucson, Arizona: Mystery”

  1. Acromyrmex versicolor carring frass?
    If I’m right, I’m also surprised. I thought this habit was peculiar to other fungus growing ants, like Mycocepurus or Cyphomyrmex, but not to the “green leaf-cutters”. Although, this piece could be a strange seed.

  2. You are correct. It is carrying a large piece of caterpillar frass, most likely from a Manduca rustica (there was a host tree for that species nearby).

    I was also under the impression that collecting frass was common for the other leafcutters. Anyone else have thoughts?

  3. Leaf-cutters, especially Acromyrmex, do more scavenging for compostables than is commonly recognized. In Latin American cities, they may depend on this (including human scraps). They have been observed cutting up fruit, flowers, nuts, fried potatoes, etc, to carry home for their gardens.

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