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This little ant is fairly easy to identify.

First, look for the volcano-cone-shaped nest.

cone-nest

If you spot some active ants with reddish-brown heads and alitrunks, and black gasters, take a closer look.

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If there's a cone-shaped bump on the posterior dorsal surface of the alitrunk, then you've found Dorymyrmex bicolor.

Dale Ward has some close-up photos to show the characteristics of this species.

We saw it in typical habitat, which is open and dry. In this case the were at an agricultural research station in Maricopa, Arizona.

dorymyrmex

Dorymyrmex commonly feed on nectar and honeydew. Check out the nearby guayule flowers.

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dory-on-guayule

Guayule is a plant grown for its latex, which is used as a natural rubber.

Obviously, insects find it useful too.

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8

Not everyone gets to see the workers of this golden-colored ant, Camponotus festinatus.

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The workers forage at night, often as single individuals.

camponotus-festinatus2

This is a desert species, found in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The workers feed on honeydew or eat other insects, as with many ants in the genus Camponotus.

Scientists have found quite a bit of color and morphological variation between Camponotus festinatus workers from different areas, and suggest it might be a complex of species or subspecies.

These photos were taken in the low desert, where the workers tend to be lighter in color.

I'd love to learn more about them. Have you ever seen one?