turfgrass ant

(Lasius neoniger)

Conservation Status
turfgrass ant
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Worker: (3 mm)

Male: (3 mm)

Queen: ¼ to 5 16 (7 to 8 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

 

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

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.”

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

 

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Aphid honeydew, other insects

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 27, 29, 30.

 
  1/5/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common, and abundant in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)  
 

Suborder

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)  
 

Infraorder

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 insects, and as 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

 
    turfgrass ant      
           
 
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  Alfredo Colon
June 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

turfgrass ant  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 1/5/2019

Last Updated:

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