Distribution based on AntWeb specimens Check data from AntWeb Habitat Occurs sporadically in creosotebush scrub and grasslands, up to sagebrush zones and becomes much more common at higher elevations m in oak forests most common habitat , pinyon pine, up to ponderosa pine and riparian sites. Mackay and Mackay Biology Liometopum apiculatum exist in populous colonies. They can form long and very busy trails that are used for foraging or to connect segments of their polydomous nest. Established trail routes can persist for many years Shapley
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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens Check data from AntWeb Habitat Occurs sporadically in creosotebush scrub and grasslands, up to sagebrush zones and becomes much more common at higher elevations m in oak forests most common habitat , pinyon pine, up to ponderosa pine and riparian sites.
Mackay and Mackay Biology Liometopum apiculatum exist in populous colonies. They can form long and very busy trails that are used for foraging or to connect segments of their polydomous nest. Established trail routes can persist for many years Shapley Foraging columns can also be located under the ground and litter, surfacing underneath ground level objects such as rocks and downed wood.
Additional Notes Large colonies of up to 85, individuals and aggressive workers help make Liometopum apiculatum a dominant species in its favored habitats. Foragers are opportunistic omnivorous and will prey upon other organisms.
Workers are highly excitable and when a colony or nest fragment is disturbed they burst forth, emitting a noxious alarm pheromone, and quickly swarm upon any unwitting myrmecologists found near the nest.
Colonies are rarely investigated because both finding and excavating a nest can be difficult. Foraging trails often disappear into inaccessible holes e. Workers disappearing under a rock that can be flipped over, for example, are typically found to be using the covering object to make their way into one of their underground trails.
In some cases these cavities will contain numerous workers, but no brood, and digging reveals there are no additional nest chambers nearby. When the main section of the nest is found, or suspected to be located, it may be situated in a tree bole or under a large rock. Liometopum apiculatum queens are among the largest North America ants. Their large size is likely an adaptation for claustral nest founding in what can be a harsh environment for most insects.
Associations with other species Workers are known to tend membracids and aphids. They will also visits extrafloral nectaries of some Agave, Yucca and Opuntia plants. In the case of Opuntia imbricata, Liometopum apiculatum provides protective services to the plant.
Workers have been shown to be effective at reducing herbivore damage to these plants. Workers will follow the trails of other ant species.
In concert with this behavior, workers have been observed successfully soliciting food from of Pogonomyrmex barbatus , Camponotus sayi and Solenopsis xyloni foragers. Associates found living in the nests of Liometopum apiculatum include a weevil, Liometophilus , a cricket species and a variety of beetle species.
A few of the latter are putatively obligate as they are only known from their nest association with this ant. Foraging Rafael-Valdez et al. Favored plants for foraging workers were Yucca palm tree , Agave salmiana agave and Opuntia rastrera prickly pear.
Longer distances and hence greater foraging effort were observed for Yucca plants. This suggested the palms, with their infestations of scale insects, provided a rich source of honeydew.
Harvesting of larvae for sale as escamoles appears to be reducing the abundance of this ant in the study area. Today the market demand for brood can be so high that local ant populations of this species are reduced by over-collecting.
It is polydomous with segments of nests scattered over the landscape under stones and logs. It is the dominant ant in most of the oak forests in the state and can be easily found foraging on the sides of oak trees. This species is predaceous, collects dead insects and tends Homoptera.
It is extremely pugnacious and attacks without hesitation. Although it does not sting, it can be very irritating due to bites by large numbers of individuals. Sexuals occur in nests from May to August. Males and females were collected on the ground in June to August, foundress females were commonly collected in July and August under stones, cow manure or logs. They can be found from March to September, one was collected in December.
This species nests together with Paratrechina austroccidua, Lasius sitiens several nests , Lasius pallitarsis , Tapinoma sessile , Forelius and Camponotus vicinus. Inquilines appear to be especially common in the nests of this species. The small cricket, Myrmecophila spp. Staphylinids including Apteronina schmitti Wasmann and Dinardilla liometopi Wasmann are also found in nests.
Taxonomy[ edit ] Liometopum luctuosum was originally named Liometopum apiculatum subsp. Creighton relocated it to a subspecies of Liometopum occidentale. Their range extends from temperate habitats as far north as British Columbia , Canada , and to more arid habitats of central Mexico and western Texas. They inhabit pine , oak , Douglas fir , and juniper forests, sagebrush , and high-elevation riparian habitats.
Escamol, larva de hormiga güijera (liometopum apiculatum)