Friday, October 17, 2008

Ants - an environmental indicator?

When we backpack and hike, ants are ubiquitous, big, little, all black, red and black, etc. Today we were out walking along a road bordering an East Bay Regional Park, and noticed a cone shaped ant lion trap on the edge of the road. I also saw a few in early spring. However, the only ants we ever see locally are the tiny Argentine ants, not big enough for a respectable ant lion snack. Are the local ant lions just a remnant population, gradually starving to death? Why don't we see the variety of ants here that we see while hiking the remote regions of California and Oregon?

My thought is that maybe the larger ants are an overlooked environmental indicator - not able to tolerate human disturbance.

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