Aphaenogaster lamellidens is a common woodland species found in eastern North America, from New York south and west to Texas. They form large colonies (several thousand workers) and are ground nesting in open areas, under rocks or in or under rotten wood. Workers are general predators and scavengers, feeding on a range of living and dead insects and other arthropods.
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
- 7 References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics
Aphaenogaster lamellidens has dark legs compared to the rest of the body and the frontal carina has a rearward-facing tooth. (DeMarco, 2015)
Deyrup (2016) - The frontal lobe of this species is elevated to form a thin ridge that is notched posteriorly so that it projects posteriorly as a tooth. The antennal scape can fit into this notch, perhaps protecting the base of the scape, or allowing it to fold back more compactly against the head. This diagnostic character is not as easy to see as it might seem, because the head of the ant must be positioned at just the right angle for this notch or tooth to be visible. In the field, workers are distinctively colored, a dark reddish brown with pale coxae that contrast with the dark femora and tibiae. The gaster is often paler than the rest of the body. In the Appalachians, workers of Aphaenogaster fulva and Aphaenogaster tennesseensis may be colored like lamellidens, perhaps forming a mimetic trio. Foraging lamellidens are usually seen walking slowly up or down the trunks of large hardwoods.
Keys including this Species
Deyrup (2016) - New York south into Florida, west into Illinois and eastern Texas (Smith 1979). In Florida, lamellidens is known from Highlands County northward, including most of the Panhandle. Records are scattered because this species is often difficult to find without baiting a large number of trees.
Latitudinal Distribution Pattern
Latitudinal Range: 42.4604° to 27.209°.
- Source: AntMaps
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.
Deyrup (2016) - The following paragraph is summarized from Carroll (1975). In Florida, the nests of lamellidens are almost always in dead portions of living hardwood trees. There is some evidence that colonies may be founded in rotten logs on the ground, and these colonies either fail or relocate into standing live trees. In its range north of Florida, lamellidens colonies may be permanently in fallen logs, and may also be in standing pines, which do not seem to serve as nest sites in Florida. The shape and extensiveness of the nest depends on the preformed cavity in which it occurs. Old galleries of termites and other insects may be modified, and large holes or cracks to the outside may be sealed with wood chips, but lamellidens does not construct its own extensive galleries in sound wood. Foragers explore the trunk and large branches of the nest tree, and make expeditions to the surrounding ground, but do not forage on leaves and twigs. Workers collect arthropods, such as crickets, caterpillars, staphylinid beetles, small spiders, psocopterans, and chironomids, as well as flower petals and seeds. Alates were found in a colony in June. Mature colonies may contain more than 600 workers.
In a survey of the ants of Tennessee (Dennis 1938), lamellidens was the commonest Aphaenogaster found, except for Aphaenogaster fulva (the latter probably a combination of several species). It was collected in many forest types, up to a level of 2500 feet in the mountains, nesting in stumps and rotten logs. Dennis (1938) suggests that low temperatures restrict lamellidens to lower elevations. In North Carolina, Carter (1962) found lamellidens in hardwood, pine, and mixed forests, usually in mesic rather than xeric conditions. The species seemed to be more common in pine forests. Nests were in rotten wood, stumps, and standing dead trees. Large numbers of individuals could be found under loose bark. In Florida, I, like Carroll, have found lamellidens restricted to dead, often rotted out, portions of large, standing, live trees, always in mesic forests or edges of swamp forests. This regional difference in nest site may possibly reflect the history of Florida and adjacent areas of the Coastal Plain. During parts of the Pleistocene, the cliniate was much drier, and large trees and logs may have been confined to riverine corridors and bottomlands. Seasonal flooding could have precluded nesting in fallen logs, leaving the rotted out portions of standing trees as the only useable nest sites. As recently as two or three centuries ago, the uplands of Florida in their native state burned frequently, leaving open pine forest with little dead wood, as fallen dead trees were mostly consumed by fire. Swamp forests and floodplain forests would have been the primary refuges for lamellidens, with logs and stumps submerged or saturated during periods of high water.
Aphaenogaster lamellidens has a strong chemical repellent that is easily detected by the human nose and unpleasant to taste when specimens are aspirated from tree trunks.
- Check details at Worldwide Ant Nuptial Flights Data, AntNupTracker and AntKeeping.
|Worker. .||Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.|
|Worker. .||Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.|
Images from AntWeb
|Worker. Specimen code casent0103589. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences.||Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.|
Images from AntWeb
|Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0103592. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences.||Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.|
Images from AntWeb
|Male (alate). Specimen code casent0103593. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences.||Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.|
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.
- lamellidens. Aphaenogaster lamellidens Mayr, 1886d: 444 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. (Maryland, Virginia, Florida).
- [Note: type-locality designated as Virginia by Creighton, 1950a: 144.]
- Taber & Cokendolpher, 1988: 95 (k.).
- Combination in Stenamma (Aphaenogaster): Emery, 1895c: 302;
- combination in Aphaenogaster: Wheeler, W.M. 1913c: 114;
- combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Emery, 1921f: 58.
- Status as species: Cresson, 1887: 260; Dalla Torre, 1893: 102; Emery, 1895c: 302; Wheeler, W.M. 1904e: 304; Wheeler, W.M. 1905f: 383; Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 565; Wheeler, W.M. 1913c: 114; Emery, 1921f: 58; Smith, M.R. 1928b: 246; Smith, M.R. 1930a: 4; Wheeler, W.M. 1932a: 5; Creighton, 1950a: 144; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 796; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Carter, 1962a: 6 (in list); Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; DuBois & LaBerge, 1988: 137; Deyrup, et al. 1989: 95; Bolton, 1995b: 70; Deyrup, 2003: 44; Coovert, 2005: 46; MacGown & Forster, 2005: 71; Deyrup, 2017: 49; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 282 (redescription).
- Senior synonym of nigripes: Creighton, 1950a: 144; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Bolton, 1995b: 70; Coovert, 2005: 46; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 282.
- nigripes. Aphaenogaster lamellidens var. nigripes Smith, M.R. 1923b: 308 (w.) U.S.A. (Mississippi).
- Subspecies of lamellidens: Dennis, 1938: 285; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 796.
- Junior synonym of lamellidens: Creighton, 1950a: 144; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Bolton, 1995b: 71; Coovert, 2005: 46; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 282.
- 2n = 38 (USA) (Crozier, 1977; Taber & Cokendolpher, 1988).
- Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 70, catalogue)
- Carroll, T.M. 2011. The ants of Indiana (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). M.S. thesis, Purdue University.
- Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 104: 1-585 (page 144, Senior synonym of nigripes)
- Davis, T. 2009. The ants of South Carolina (thesis, Clemson University).
- DeMarco, B.B. 2015. Phylogeny of North American Aphaenogaster species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reconstructed with morphological and DNA data. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
- Deyrup, M.A. 2016. Ants of Florida: Identification and Natural History. CRC Press, 423 pp.
- Emery, C. 1895d. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. (Schluss). Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 257-360 (page 302, Combination in Stenamma (Aphaenogaster))
- Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 58, Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma))
- Ipser, R.M., Brinkman, M.A., Gardner, W.A., Peeler, H.B. 2004. A survey of ground-dwelling ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Georgia. Florida Entomologist 87: 253-260.
- Ivanov, K. 2019. The ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): an updated checklist. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 70: 65–87 (doi:firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Lau, M.K., Ellison, A.M., Nguyen, A., Penick, C., DeMarco, B., Gotelli, N.J., Sanders, N.J., Dunn, R.R., Helms Cahan, S. 2019. Draft Aphaenogaster genomes expand our view of ant genome size variation across climate gradients. PeerJ 7, e6447 (doi:10.7717/PEERJ.6447).
- MacGown, J.A., Booher, D., Richter, H., Wetterer, J.K., Hill, J.G. 2021. An updated list of ants of Alabama (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with new state records. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 147: 961-981 (doi:10.3157/061.147.0409).
- Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 444, worker, queen, male described)
- Taber, S. W.; Cokendolpher, J. C. 1988. Karyotypes of a dozen ant species from the southwestern U.S.A. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Caryologia 41: 93-102 (page 95, karyotype described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1913d. Ants collected in Georgia by Dr. J. C. Bradley and Mr. W. T. Davis. Psyche (Camb.) 20: 112-117 (page 114, Combination in Aphaenogaster)
References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics
- Annotated Ant Species List Ordway-Swisher Biological Station. Downloaded at http://ordway-swisher.ufl.edu/species/os-hymenoptera.htm on 5th Oct 2010.
- Callcott A. M. A., D. H. oi, H. L. Collins, D. F. Williams, and T. C. Lockley. 2000. Seasonal Studies of an Isolated Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Population in Eastern Tennessee. Environmental Entomology, 29(4): 788-794.
- Coovert, G.A. 2005. The Ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Ohio Biological Survey Bulletin New Series Volume 15(2):1-196
- Dash S. T. and L. M. Hooper-Bui. 2008. Species diversity of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Louisiana. Conservation Biology and Biodiversity. 101: 1056-1066
- Dennis C. A. 1938. The distribution of ant species in Tennessee with reference to ecological factors. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 31: 267-308.
- Deyrup M., C. Johnson, G. C. Wheeler, J. Wheeler. 1989. A preliminary list of the ants of Florida. Florida Entomologist 72: 91-101
- Deyrup, M. 2003. An updated list of Florida ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 86(1):43-48.
- Dubois, M.B. and W.E. Laberge. 1988. An Annotated list of the ants of Illionois. pages 133-156 in Advances in Myrmecology, J. Trager
- Forster J.A. 2005. The Ants (hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Alabama. Master of Science, Auburn University. 242 pages.
- Frye J. A., T. Frye, and T. W. Suman. 2014. The ant fauna of inland sand dune communities in Worcester County, Maryland. Northeastern Naturalist, 21(3): 446-471.
- General D. M., and L. C. Thompson. 2011. New Distributional Records of Ants in Arkansas for 2009 and 2010 with Comments on Previous Records. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 65: 166-168.
- General D., and L. Thompson. 2008. Ants of Arkansas Post National Memorial: How and Where Collected. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 62: 52-60.
- General D., and L. Thompson. 2008. New distributional records of ants in Arkansas. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science 62: 148-150.
- General D.M. & Thompson L.C. 2008. New Distributional Records of Ants in Arkansas for 2008. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science. 63: 182-184
- Gibbs M. M., P. L. Lambdin, J. F. Grant, and A. M. Saxton. 2003. Ground-inhabiting ants collected in a mixed hardwood southern Appalachian forest in Eastern Tennessee. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 78(2): 45-49.
- Guénard B., K. A. Mccaffrey, A. Lucky, and R. R. Dunn. 2012. Ants of North Carolina: an updated list (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3552: 1-36.
- Hill, J.G. 2006. Ants collected at Okatibbee Lake, Lauderdale County, Mississippi
- Ipser R. M. 2004. Native and exotic ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Georgia: Ecological Relationships with implications for development of biologically-based management strategies. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Georgia. 165 pages.
- Ipser, R.M., M.A. Brinkman, W.A. Gardner and H.B. Peeler. 2004. A Survey of Ground-Dwelling Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Georgia. The Florida Entomologist 87(3) 253-260.
- Ivanov, K. 2019. The ants of Ohio (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): an updated checklist. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 70: 65–87.
- Ivanov K., L. Hightower, S. T. Dash, and J. B. Keiper. 2019. 150 years in the making: first comprehensive list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Virginia, USA. Zootaxa 4554 (2): 532–560.
- Johnson C. 1986. A north Florida ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insecta Mundi 1: 243-246
- Longino, J.T. 2010. Personal Communication. Longino Collection Database
- Lynch J. F. 1988. An annotated checklist and key to the species of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Chesapeake Bay region. The Maryland Naturalist 31: 61-106
- MacGown J. A., J. G. Hill, R. L. Brown, T. L. Schiefer, J. G. Lewis. 2012. Ant diversity at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Oktibbeha, Noxubee, and Winston Counties, Mississippi. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1197: 1-30
- MacGown J. A., J. G. Hill, and R. L. Brown. 2010. Native and exotic ant in Mississippi state parks. Proceedings: Imported Fire Ant Conference, Charleston, South Carolina, March 24-26, 2008: 74-80.
- MacGown J. A., and R. L. Brown. 2006. Survey of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Tombigbee National Forest in Mississippi. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 79(4):325-340.
- MacGown, J. 2011. Ants of South Carolina (species list).
- MacGown, J.A and J.A. Forster. 2005. A preliminary list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Alabama, U.S.A. Entomological News 116(2):61-74
- MacGown, J.A. and JV.G. Hill. Ants of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee and North Carolina).
- MacGown, J.A. and R.L. Brown. 2006. Observations on the High Diversity of Native Ant Species Coexisting with Imported Fire Ants at a Microspatial Scale in Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist 5(4):573-586
- MacGown, J.A. and R.L. Brown. 2006. Survey of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Tombigbee National Forest in Mississippi. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 79(4):325-340.
- MacGown, J.A., J.G. Hill, R.L. Brown and T.L. 2009. Ant Diversity at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in Oktibbeha, Noxubee, and Winston Counties, Mississippi Report #2009-01. Schiefer. 2009.
- MacGown. J. 2011. Ants collected during the 25th Annual Cross Expedition at Tims Ford State Park, Franklin County, Tennessee
- Macgown J. A., S. Y. Wang, J. G. Hill, and R. J. Whitehouse. 2017. A List of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Collected During the 2017 William H. Cross Expedition to the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas with New State Records. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 143(4): 735-740.
- Nuhn, T.P. and C.G. Wright. 1979. An Ecological Survey of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a Landscaped Suburban Habitat. American Midland Naturalist 102(2):353-362
- O'Keefe S. T., J. L. Cook, T. Dudek, D. F. Wunneburger, M. D. Guzman, R. N. Coulson, and S. B. Vinson. 2000. The Distribution of Texas Ants. The Southwestern Entomologist 22: 1-92.
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- Smith M. R. 1965. House-infesting ants of the eastern United States. Their recognition, biology, and economic importance. United States Department of Agriculture. Technical Bulletin 1326: 1-105.
- Taber S. W., and J. C. Cokendolpher. 1988. Karyotypes of a dozen ant species from the southwestern U.S.A. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Caryologia 41: 93-102.
- Turner C. R., and J. L. Cook. 1998. The ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Caddo Lake region of northeast Texas. Texas Journal of Science 50: 171-173.
- Van Pelt A. F. 1948. A Preliminary Key to the Worker Ants of Alachua County, Florida. The Florida Entomologist 30(4): 57-67
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- Zettler J. A., M. D. Taylor, C. R. Allen, and T. P. Spira. 2004. Consequences of Forest Clear-Cuts for Native and Nonindigenous Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 97(3): 513-518.