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Old 03-28-2014, 11:04 PM   #21
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Wow Thank you so much MrILoveTheAnts.
So that's what causes the huge mounds we see just south of us.
It's funny that they are all in a limited area. Not North, Nor South of it.

Something must not be to their liking beyond the area...Would that be due to soil type or what they feed upon?
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Old 03-29-2014, 03:13 PM   #22
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Wow Thank you so much MrILoveTheAnts.
So that's what causes the huge mounds we see just south of us.
It's funny that they are all in a limited area. Not North, Nor South of it.

Something must not be to their liking beyond the area...Would that be due to soil type or what they feed upon?
The larger mound building species don't reproduce with new queens as often as they simply divide or setup a sub colony elsewhere. This essentially restricts their distribution to forested areas that are rich with aphids, caterpillars, and pray items. When I find mounds of Formica exetoides they're often hauling in big cicadas, wasps, and caterpillars, and usually have several lines going up into trees to tend dew producing insects. Despite being the biggest predator in the forest, they only build their mounds in forest clearings where the sun shines upon the ground.

Other species that reproduce by nuptial flight and have queens that can start colonies independently, tend to spring up everywhere.

This is mimicked in how a forest reclaims a field. Seeds that are air born tend to show up first, while the ones that have to sprout off of the roots of a parent or are dependent on some type of relationship with animals or fungi show up later on.

With these large mound forming ants, their scent trails are actually disrupted by car traffic, so something as simple as a road or highway can prevent them from spreading across the street. Sometimes its better that they don't invade new areas because they can limit the diversity of other ant species around.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:20 PM   #23
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ant cartoon

I noticed my photo wasn't labeled as far as to where I had taken it....
After doing a little search, I found it was actually taken while we were in California. (And is now properly labeled) Those are actually Californiants not from the mounds just South of here. Next time, I'll take note if they're built in the sun or not and then look for the lines of ants traveling for food....

The only other colonies I've found like that were in the Carney fen where it was real boggy.
Are there different sorts of ants that build near a swamp rather than high and dry land like you're walking upon?

Their nuptial flight is one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed.
One encounter was like a swirl of little fairies arising in a beam of light from within a silver weather worn stump.

I look forward to their flight yearly. I'm saddened if when I go outside, I find the queens walking around already wingless. I know I've missed it.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:25 PM   #24
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With these large mound forming ants, their scent trails are actually disrupted by car traffic, so something as simple as a road or highway can prevent them from spreading across the street. Sometimes its better that they don't invade new areas because they can limit the diversity of other ant species around.
That pretty much explains why the colony hasn't spread much. On one side, there's a road and the other, a forest so if they are a sun liker....that's what's keeping them pretty much roadside.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:59 PM   #25
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The only other colonies I've found like that were in the Carney fen where it was real boggy.
Are there different sorts of ants that build near a swamp rather than high and dry land like you're walking upon?
Could be, without specimens right in front of me or photos to go on I can't say for sure.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:38 PM   #26
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Thank you MrILove
I enjoy learning about all facts of life.
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:23 PM   #27
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My first native bloom of the year was on March 11th: my Chickasaw Plum. (the non-native annual weeds were up in February ) I've had this little tree for a few years now, having dug it up one winter at deer camp on an island in the Mississippi River. This is the first year it has bloomed for me.
~March 2014 Photo of the Month Contest~-chickasaw-plum.jpg
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Old 04-01-2014, 07:49 PM   #28
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Oh how pretty! Congratulations
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