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Amber Twig Ants

6 May
An amber-colored twig ant poses by an amber ring (Pseudomyrmex pallidus).

An amber colored twig ant poses by an amber ring (Pseudomyrmex pallidus).

Ran across a few members of this small species of twig ants nesting in some hollow willow twigs near my home.  The little workers were so fast I only managed to snap one decent photo–the above picture where the honey colored ant showed off how well she matched my amber ring.

Pseudomyrmex ants are easily distinguished by their long narrow bodies and wasp-like appearance.  The most common local species is the elongate twig ant (Pseudomyrmex gracilis) a large-bodied ant with distinct black and red coloration.  By contrast, P. pallidus is tiny and delicate, with a characteristic amber coloration.

Like other Pseudomyrmex, the small colonies of P. pallidus nest in stems and twigs.  Twig-popping, or the snapping of dead tree stems, is an ant hunting technique that was recently recommended to me, and it has been fun to see what turns up.