Saturday, May 29, 2010

Red Car Property: THEM!

Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 21, 2010. California Harvester Ant carrying a piece of non-native Wild Radish. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

While stopping to pull foxtails out of my socks the other day, I noticed two Harvester Ants struggling to move a piece of Wild Radish seed pod, many times larger than the ants. Now these are already substantial sized ants. I was quite impressed when one ant finally just pushed the second ant away and carried the prize easily by himself.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 21, 2010. California Harvester Ants are a indication of good biodiversity on the Red Car Property near Adelbert. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Harvester Ants are a native species and should not be confused with Red Imported Fire Ants. Harvester Ants are NOT aggressive. I've read Environmental Impact Reports citing the presence of Harvester Ants as an "indicator species." In other words, their presence is a sign of good biodiversity of the land.

Last year, while shooting a lot of wildflower photos on the Adelbert end of the Red Car Property, I discovered these ants seem to choose different seeds and debris based on what is currently drying up or blooming. They even had a lichen farm for a few weeks last year.