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
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.