Pogonomyrmex maricopa (Maricopa Harvester Ant)

Pogonomyrmex maricopa,  the Maricopa Harvester Ant, is quite similar to Pogonomyrmex californicus, the California Harvester. Pogonomyrmex maricopa typically has a bulkier look, though, and is not as "flighty" as P. californicus. It also seems to me that P. californicus prefers sandier soil. P. californicus' nest mounds tend to be sandier, whereas P. maricopa nest mounds are more likely to incorporate rocks and gravel.

These photos were taken in the bed of the Agua Fria River in Arizona.

As always, click on the thumbnails for larger versions of the pictures.

 

The clearing in this photo is one of the larger, but by no means atypical, nest mounds that I found in the river bed. The shrub in the lower right foreground is about 1.5 feet high.

Pogonomyrmex maricopa definitely has its share of troubles with Dorymyrmex bicolor. Here a Pogo is helped on her way by a gang of D. bicolor. Believe it or not, the Pogo got away from this interaction with no visible damage.

A close up of a P. maricopa worker.

Here is a P. maricopa worker peering out of the nest. As in most of the ants, it seems that there is often at least one ant in the entrance of the nest, perhaps acting as a guard?

Another profile of a P. maricopa worker. You can see numerous other ants in the background - it is fairly typical for them to hang around the nest entrances in dense clusters.

A head-on view of a worker.

Perhaps my favorite P. maricopa photo. A nice profile view.

Here is a worker that was trapped in a spider web.

Some of the other workers appear, seemingly attracted to the trapped worker. As far as I could tell, the worker was already dead at this point.

Some of the other Pogos came and bit at the web, whether to free their nestmate or just to get rid of the foreign material is unclear to me.

After the workers left, the culprit came back to the trapped worker. This is a male Euryopis. He was a few inches away from his prey, waiting for the fuss to die down.

Many other workers from the colony clustered around the nest entrance, seemingly afraid to venture forth.

A ventral view of Euryopis.

Here is a profile view of the Euryopis.

Euryopis feeding.


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