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The ant fauna of Colorado is highly diverse, in large part because the state is a crossroads where the ant faunas of the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, and desert southwest meet and blend. Unfortunately, it is still imperfectly known. The following preliminary list is based on Gregg’s The Ants of Colorado (1963). This book remains a useful compendium of basic information, but the nomenclature is outdated and the classification in many important genera has been superseded by more modern revisions. The present list is an edited version of Gregg’s, with updated nomenclature in accordance with Bolton et al. (2007). In addition, the names of several eastern species very unlikely to occur in Colorado, as well as those of poorly defined taxa, have been removed pending better evidence concerning their occurrence in the state or their identities, respectively. Lastly, a few species have been added to the list based on recent collections by Stefan P. Cover (SPC).
Despite much collecting effort in the past (notably by W. M. Wheeler and R.E. Gregg), recent collecting has resulted in many new finds. Several rare ants have been found in the state for the first time (e.g., Monomorium talbotae, Harpagoxenus canadensis) or have been rediscovered after many years (e.g., Pheidole elecebra, Formica emeryi). A new army ant species, Neivamyrmex kiowapache, was recently described from Colorado by Snelling and Snelling (2007). In addition, two recently described Myrmica species (Francoeur, 2007) have been collected in Colorado. These and many other new ant species that have been discovered will add considerably to the state list over the next few years. The findings include new Formica, Myrmica, Dorymyrmex, Tapinoma, and Temnothorax. Studies in progress will transform our knowledge of the Colorado ant fauna and will soon render the picture presented here obsolete.
Stefan Cover & David Lubertazzi