Ants On Merriam Mtn

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San Diego County Ants:
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Ants On Palomar Mountain, San Diego County

Distant Marine Layer From South Grade Road

Flight over Palomar Mouintain. Scanned from 35 mm Kodachrome transparency (April 1969).

In June, 2007 Phil Ward (UC Davis) recorded 16 species of ants in Palomar State Park: Boucher Lookout and along Boucher Trail and Adams Trail. Collections were made in a mixed coniferous forest with Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, Calocedrus decurrens, Abies concolor, Quercus kelloggii and Q. chrysolepis. Dr. Ward's checklist is available at the following URL. Special thanks to John Henning for finding some of the ants on this page.

  Ants Of Palomar Mountan State Park by Phil Ward  


Amblyoponinae: Dracula Ant (Amblyopone pallipes)

The dracula ant (Amblyopone pallipes = Stigmatomma pallipes) is one of the most interesting species on Palomar Mountain. This small, subterranean predator of forested areas is seldom seen. It has greatly reduced eyes composed of only one or two facets and long, slender mandibles each lined with a row of teeth. It is a specialist predator on geophilomorph centipedes that live in the forest soil and duff. I have yet to find one of these curious ants.

Photo courtesy of http://www.antweb.org

Other Species Reported For Palomar Mtn State Park By Phil Ward:
Species In Bold Have Image Links On Wayne's Word Ant Pages

Dolichoderinae:
Tapinoma sessile

Formicinae:
Formica moki, Lasius pallitarsis

Myrmicinae:
Solenopsis molesta, Crematogaster, C. hespera, C. mormonum, Monomorium ergatogyna,
Myrmica punctinops, Stenamma punctatoventre, S. cf. snellingi, Temnothorax andrei, T. nevadensis.

Undoubtedly, Some Ant Species On Owens Peak & The Merriam Mtns May Also Occur On Palomar Mtn.


Grey Field Ant (Subfamily Formicinae): Formica moki


Field Ant (Subfamily Formicinae): Lasius pallitarsis

Lasius pallitarsis: Photo courtesy of http://www.antweb.org


Boucher Lookout, Palomar Mountain State Park

Myrmicinae: Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex subnitidus)

Pogonomyrmex subnitidus: This species is very similar to Pogonomyrmex californicus and is listed as a subspecies of the latter species in some references.

cf. Pogonomyrmex subnitidus from Merriam Mtns north of Escondido.

  Ants Of The Merriam Mountains  


The 18-inch Schmidt Telescope: In 1993 the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was discovered by Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy in this observatory. The following year this famous comet collided with the planet Jupiter.

Dolichoderinae: Pyramid Ant (Dorymyrmex bicolor)

Nest of small mound-building ants of the genus Dorymyrmex.


Formicinae: Carpenter Ant (cf. Camponotus semitestaceus)

I originally thought this was Camponotus vicinus; however, C. vicinus has a black gaster like C. dumetorum. The species on Palomar Mountain has a feruginous (rust-colored) gaster & thorax. It appears to be in the C. vicinus-complex that includes C. semitestaceus and C. ocreatus.

This is not a wasp! It is a large queen carpenter ant (probably Camponotus ocreatus) almost 20 mm in length. It was discovered under a pillow in a friend's bed who lives on Palomar Mountain.


Doane Pond, Palomar Mountain State Park

Formicinae: False Honey Ant (Prenolepis imparis)

Prenolepis imparis is sometimes called a false honey ant because the colonies have food storage repletes like honey pot ants (Myrmecocystus). "False honey ant" is an unfortunate name, since the storage product in the swollen gasters of young workers (repletes) of these ants is fatty, not sugary.


Lower Doane Valley, Palomar Mountain State Park

A forked ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) in Lower Doane Valley.

Watch out for rattlesnakes when crawling around looking for ants!
Large Southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis ssp. helleri).

Dolichoderinae: Velvety Tree Ant (Liometopum occidentale)

These aggressive, biting ants give off a pungent odor if disturbed.

Minute pseudoscorpions live under the bark flakes of ponderosa pine.

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