What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Curious red forest ants with prey
Location: Cherokee County, NC
April 4, 2015 10:51 am
Photo was taken on 1st April 2015
Here are some odd red ants that I’ve never been able to identify. They seem to be about a uniform ~6-7mm in body length. I’ve only found these in rather specific environments; mixed deciduous forest in Western NC/ North GA with plenty of moist rotted logs and tree stumps. Tree stumps in particular with abandoned insect and carpenter ant tunnels seem to be their favorite; they take up residence in the old tunnels and clean them out to their liking. Colonies I’ve seen seem small with maybe a few hundred individuals at most, though to my recollection I’ve never seen a queen amongst the ones I’ve stumbled upon.
They seem to be primarily carnivorous; when I do find them there’s usually several small groups hauling various forest floor insects like crickets and beetle larvae into their tunnels. The ones in the photo here had what might be a newly-molted cricket nymph.
One distinct aspect is that their movement is rather different from other ants I’ve encountered; they seem to more more slowly/methodically, like the way an assassin bug moves. Even when disturbed they’re more slow to scurry about.
Finally, I couldn’t take a photo that included it but there’s a slight but rather distinct berry-red adularescence/schiller effect to the back of their abdomens when they’re in the light. For some reason my camera failed to capture it.
Signature: Jacob H

Unidentified Red Forest Ants

Unidentified Red Forest Ants

Dear Jacob,
We are posting your ant image and labeling it unidentified.  We are also featuring the posting.  We hope to be able to provide you with an identification soon.

Unidentified Red Forest Ant

Unidentified Red Forest Ant

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Cherokee County, North Carolina

3 Responses to Unidentified Red Forest Ants

  1. Jacob H says:

    @Cesar, neat, I’ve never heard of Neivamyrmex before. Definitely a genus I’ll have to keep an eye out for in the future.

    After doing some digging I stumbled across this page from the Mississippi Entomological Museum-

    http://mississippientomologicalmuseum.org.msstate.edu/Researchtaxapages/Formicidaepages/faunal.lists/North.Carolina.ant.species.htm#.VSqZjpOaS4r

    Ants belonging to the genus Aphaenogaster fit my unidentified ones in both appearance and described behavior. I’d have to catch one and get a good look at it under a strong lens or microscope to narrow anything down further

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