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This survey of the ants of Pennsylvania is a work in progress. Its incompleteness is evident when the ant species totals are compared with Ohio, the only other northeastern state on AntWeb. The 91 species in 26 genera and 6 subfamilies of ants listed for Pennsylvania comprises only two-thirds of the 132 species in 33 genera and 7 subfamilies reported for Ohio. Though the areas of the two states are similar (PA 116,075 km2, OH 106,057 km2) they differ significantly in other ways. The range of elevation is greater in Pennsylvania (0 to 979 m) than in Ohio (138 m to 472 m). Pennsylvania may also have greater habitat diversity. All of Ohio is in the Eastern Temperate Forest Level I ecosystem while Pennsylvania’s borders include some of Northern Forest. Four Level II ecosystems are found in Ohio. Three of these, Mixed Wood Plains, Southeastern USA Plains and Ozark Ouachita-Appalachian Forests, are also found in Pennsylvania. However, Pennsylvania’s borders also contain Atlantic Highlands and, at its southeastern tip, a bit of Mississippi Alluvial and Southeast USA Coastal Plains. For these reasons, it is reasonable to expect that Pennsylvania’s ant species totals will eventually exceed those of Ohio.
None of the 91 species listed here are endemic. The most common subfamilies are Formicinae (7 genera and 45 species) and Myrmicinae (13 genera and 37 species). The most common genera are Formica (22 species) and Lasius (10 species). The species most commonly found, at least in museum collections is the carpenter ant, Camponotus pennsylvanicus. This is likely due in part to the carpenter ant’s large size. The types of four species listed here are from Pennsylvania (Lasius claviger, Pheidole pilifera, Stenamma schmitti and Ponera pennsylvanica) and four of the listed species are in the “vulnerable” category of the IUCN Red List (Crematogaster pilosa, Lasius latipes, Polyergus lucidus lucidus and Protomognathus americanus). This list of Pennsylvania ants has been compiled from four sources: published literature, visits to four museum collections (the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Frost Entomological Museum at Pennsylvania State University, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences and the National Museum of Natural History), personal collecting by me and by Ben Coulter in the western part of the state. There appears to have been relatively little collecting in Pennsylvania save around Penn State and Philadelphia, thus this list should grow dramatically as more work is done.
W. Barkley Butler & Ben Coulter