Wheeler, W.M., 1917
A Great Basin and Colorado Plateau ant that favors arid areas but can be found in cool desert, pinyon-juniper and coniferous forest habitats. It can nest under wood or stones but will also build in exposed situations and create nest openings with 6 to 8 cm craters. It forages nocturnally and nests may contain several hundred workers.
- 1 Photo Gallery
- 2 Identification
- 3 Distribution
- 4 Biology
- 5 Castes
- 6 Nomenclature
- 7 References
These ants live between thin layer of limestone in arid areas (DeMarco, 2015).
Small to medium-sized. Bicolored: head and thorax yellowish red, gaster very dusky gray varying to head and thorax red, gaster very dusky red. In the field and to the unaided eye the gaster appears black; hence this species exhibits the coloration characteristic of several species of desert ants (Wheeler & Wheeler, 1973:12). Head and thorax partially shining, gaster strongly shining. (Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986)
Aphaenogaster uinta is one of several Aphaenogaster species with a lighter head and mesosoma, and darker gaster. They have large eyes, very short propodeal spines and scapes that extend just beyond the occiput of the head. (DeMarco, 2015)
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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So far as Colorado is concerned, this species is exceedingly rare. The sole record I possess for it was obtained from Dr. Creighton, who collected it a long time ago in the southwestern portion of the state. According to Creighton (1950), the ant is a Great Basin insect and it is said to thrive in areas of marked aridity. From these facts, we may assume that in the Mesa Verde area, Aphaenogaster uinta was, without much doubt, nesting in the dry, hot part of the park rather than in a Transition Zone locality. (Gregg, 1963)
In Nevada it is widely scattered throughout the state; 4,500-8,000 ft. We have 37 records from 31 localities. Eight records were from the Cool Desert (2 from disturbed habitats), 15 from the Pinyon-Juniper Biome, 1 from the Coniferous Forest Biome, and 1 from a building. Fifteen nests were under stones, 1 under a log; 2 nests were exposed with craters 6 and 8 cm in diameter. A mating flight occurred in Tonopah on 13 July. The myrmecophile Pilopius ocularis Casey (Coleoptera: Pselaphidae; det. R.R. Snelling) was found with this ant at Panaca Summit, Lincoln Co. 6,700 ft. (Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986)
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- uinta. Aphaenogaster uinta Wheeler, W.M. 1917a: 517 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Emery, 1921f: 60.
Wheeler (1917) likely choose this name based on the type specimens being collected where the Uinta Mountains loomed on the eastern horizon. As stated in the original description: “Described from seventeen workers, one female and one male taken by Dr. R.V. Chamberlin at East Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, Utah.”
- Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 74, catalogue)
- Cole, A. C., Jr. 1934c. An annotated list of the ants of the Snake River Plains, Idaho (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Cambridge) 41:221-227. [1934-12] PDF
- Cole, A. C., Jr. 1942. The ants of Utah. Am. Midl. Nat. 28: 358-388 PDF
- DeMarco, B.B. 2015. Phylogeny of North American Aphaenogaster species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reconstructed with morphological and DNA data. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
- Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 60, Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma))
- Gregg, R. E. 1963. The ants of Colorado, with reference to their ecology, taxonomy, and geographic distribution. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, xvi + 792 pp.
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.
- Wheeler, W. M. 1917a. The mountain ants of western North America. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 52: 457-569 PDF (page 517, worker, queen, male described)