Nests in sandy exposed areas with mixed vegetation. Nest surmounted by 1 or 2 circular craters about 13 cm in diameter. Galleries penetrated the loose upper layer of sand to chamber up to 60 cm deep in firmer sand. Stored seeds in some chambers. Population of 1 nest: 275 workers, 1 queen, 27 winged females, and 97 males. The workers are crepuscular, timid, and sluggish (Cole 1963, 1966).
Identification Keys including this Taxon
Arizona, California and Nevada.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Nevada, Wheeler and Wheeler (1986) - We have 22 records from 17 widely scattered localities (4,100-6,200 ft.) but none in the northeastern quarter nor along the western border. Three were in the Pinyon-Juniper Biome and 12 in the Cool Desert (3 in Sarcobatus Subclimax, 3 in Atriplex Subclimax, 1 on a revegetating playa, 1 from a disturbed habitat). Six nests were under half-buried stones; 9 were surmounted by craters 5-10 cm in diameter.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- smithi. Veromessor smithi Cole, 1963: 678, figs. 1-4 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1972b: 240 (l.). Combination in Messor: Bolton, 1982: 341; in Veromessor: Ward et al., 2014: 13.
- Bolton, B. 1982. Afrotropical species of the myrmecine ant genera Cardiocondyla, Leptothorax, Melissotarsus, Messor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology, 46: 307-370 (page 341, Combination in Messor)
- Cole, A. C., Jr. 1963a. A new species of Veromessor from the Nevada Test Site and notes on related species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 56: 678-682 PDF (page 678, figs. 1, 2, 3 worker, queen, male described)
- Plowes, N. J. R.; Johnson, R. A.; Hölldobler, B. 2013. Foraging behavior in the ant genus Messor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Myrmecological News 18:33-49. [2013-03-22] PDF 142390
- Ward, P.S., Brady, S.G., Fisher, B.L. & Schultz, T.R. 2014. The evolution of myrmicine ants: phylogeny and biogeography of a hyperdiverse ant clade (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology, DOI: 10.1111/syen.12090
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1972b. Ant larvae of the subfamily Myrmicinae: second supplement on the tribes Myrmicini and Pheidolini. J. Ga. Entomol. Soc. 7: 233-246 (page 240, larva described)
- Wheeler, G. C. and J. Wheeler. 1986. The ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.