● Madera Canyon (Whitehouse Picnic Area), AZ [el. 1364 m / 4474 ft] view location in Google Maps »
● 11/03/2010 9:37AM sunny, windy, air temp: 21°C / 70°F
[IMAGE 4 of 9 - see notes below for background info on this series of Pheidole obtusospinosa images] As the intruding major is pinned down by 6-8 defending minors, an enormous ‘home’ supermajor arrives and surveys the scene below. In the lower-left corner of the image, the gaster (rear abdominal body part) of the trapped intruder can be seen. The supermajor nipped at the trapped intruder’s gaster a few times, but did nothing else. In this case, the home minors appeared to have the situation under control, and still had the (apparently dying) intruding major pinned down when I left the area. Also note the damage to the supermajor's enormous head, and a missing antenna - presumably the results of previous battles. For the purposes of these images, I refer to the colony that is being attack (or intruded upon) as the 'home' colony. [scroll down for additional notes/references]
These Pheidole battles were observed on 11/3/2010 and 11/5/2010. In both cases, it appeared that workers of a nearby Pheidole obtusospinosa nest attacked, or simply wandered into the nest area of another colony of the same species. All three types of workers (minor, major and supermajor) were seen engaging in defense of the colonies, though the supermajors inflicted the most damage. In both cases, I was not able to find the exact locations of the nests where the intruders came from.
These images were captured in Madera Canyon (border of Pima and Santa Cruz counties), in the Santa Rita Mountains of southern Arizona. The elevation was measured at 1364 m / 4474 ft. The ants were found in a juniper/oak woodland area, and were in partial shade. Air temperatures ranged from 21°C/70°F to 23°C/74°F. Two nests were seen. One of these had a small, irregular spread of fine sand and gravel around a single entrance (entrance approx. 8mm wide). The entrance of the other observed nest was hidden somewhere in a tangle of twigs, leaves, and other debris. Both of these nests were located immediately adjacent to a paved walkway. These battles took place amongst a profusion of twigs and leaves, so much of this action was very difficult to capture photographically. I did my best under the circumstances…
- Pogolumina - Pogonomyrmex Harvester Ants of North America
Amazing ants of the genus Pheidole imaged in Arizona, USA. Scroll down PAST BOTTOM OF PAGE for complete image description, and CLICK large image to make it even LARGER...
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