Ant biology: March 2012 Archives


Dear AntAsk,

I was wondering if the species Prenolepis imparis is up north in Ontario, Canada? I live about a half an hour away from London. And is this ant a queen and what is the species? Because if she's a queen it would be good to know if she was semi-claustral. So I can start feeding her and studying her species. And if she isn't a queen what are ants doing out early. Or is it common for ants up north to be out in March besides Prenolepis imparis? And thanks!

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Dear Jacob,

According to this website, Prenolepis imparis is present in southern Ontario but the ant you found is a major worker of Camponotus pennsylvanicus. It is not unusual to see ants out in March if the weather has been mild. Check out this post and this post on what ants do in the winter and this post for a brief discussion of ant castes.

Thanks for your question,
James Trager, Ben Rubin, & the AntAsk Team


I live in Canada I was just wondering is there an ant species that
evolved just in Canada. Like just native here that would be pretty cool
like a Canadian ant that just evolved here then moved south? And what
is the most rare ant species in Canada? And are there ants in Antartica?
Thanks in advance - Jacob

Thanks for an excellent question, Jacob. There are a number of ant
species that were first discovered in Canada, and even some which have
the species name canadensis, the Latin word for Canadian. But
apparently, there are none found only in Canada. All Canadian species
may be found in American states on the Canadian border, or even farther
south, especially in the Rocky Mountains.

There are no ants in either the high Arctic (north of 67 deg. N), nor in
Antarctica. By contrast, in equatorial countries of South America,
Africa, or Asia, there are thousands of species. In non-Arctic North
America, the number is in between, about 900 species.

James Trager & the AntAsk Team

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