turfgrass ant

(Lasius neoniger)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

turfgrass ant

 

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common, and abundant in Minnesota

Flight/Season

 

Habitat

Well-drained, open habitats: agricultural fields, old fields, sand dunes, lawns, sidewalks, and roadsides

Size

Worker: (3 mm)

Male: (3 mm)

Queen: ¼ to 5 16 (7 to 8 mm)

Photo by Alfredo Colon

Identification

Turfgrass ant is a relatively small cornfield ant with relatively large eyes. It occurs throughout the United States and southern Canada but is especially common in the eastern half of North America. It is common and abundant in Minnesota. It is found in well-drained soil, in craters and under stones, in nearly all open habitats, including agricultural fields, old fields, sand dunes, golf courses, lawns, roadsides, and sidewalks. Less commonly, it is found in open woodlands and shaded woodland borders. It is never found deep in forests.

Workers are (3 mm) long and light brown to medium brown, rarely dark brown. The head, thorax, and abdomen are hairy. The hairs are relatively short (relative to closely related species) and many of the hairs recline or even lay flat with just the tips ascending.

The head is slightly darker than the body. The eyes are large. The margins of the facial plate above the mouth (clypeus) are angular, not curved. This can only be viewed when the mandibles are open. The three basal teeth on the mandible are unequally spaced, and the second tooth is smaller than the other two. The finger-like sensory mouth part (maxillary palp) is long and has six segments. The basal segment of each antennae (scape) is very long and hairy, and has several erect hairs.

There is a distinct notch in the upper (dorsal) surface of the thorax.

The abdomen consists of a large first segment (propodeum) that is fused to the thorax; a narrow waist-like second segment (petiole); and the bulbous remainder (gaster).

On the front legs the fourth segment (tibia) has fewer than six erect hairs. On the hind legs there is a row of at least four erect hairs on the lower edge.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

 

 
Adult Food

Aphid honeydew, other insects

 
Life Cycle

Males and queens take to the air in a swarm and mate around the first Monday in September (Labor Day), giving this species one of its common names, “Labor Day field ant.”

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30.


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)

 

Suborder:

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)

 

No Rank:

Aculeata (ants, bees and stinging wasps)

 

Superfamily:

Formicoidea (ants)

 

Family:

Formicidae (ants)

 

Subfamily:

Formicinae

 

Tribe:

Lasiini

 

Genus:

Lasius (cornfield ants, citronella ants)

 

Subgenus:

Lasius

 
Synonyms

Lasius niger var. neoniger

 
Common
Names

cornfield ant

Labor Day field ant

nuisance ant

turfgrass ant


 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Clypeus

On insects, a hardened plate on the face above the upper lip (labrum).

 

Gaster

The bulbous part of the abdomen of ants, bees, and wasps. In ants it usually begins at segment three.

 

Palp

Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi.

 

Scape

On plants: An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster. On insects: The basal segment of an insect’s antenna.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Alfredo Colon


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Alfredo Colon
June 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

turfgrass ant


     
     
 

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