On a recent trip to western New York State, we made a cool discovery.
We found not just one mound, not just two mounds,
In the photo the size is a bit deceptive because the mounds were up on a bank along the road. However, they were still relatively massive. Most of them were at least two feet tall.
Each of the mounds was covered with many active ants. According to the literature, the colonies have multiple queens and split up via fission to form clumps of interconnected mounds.
Doing some comparisons, it looked like the top of each mound was clear of vegetation and the upper surface was relatively uniform.
The ants were very active. It didn't take long to find a nearby foraging trail.
(This was filmed using a small endoscope attached to laptop, which required two people to run. I need to figure out a way to mount it on some sort of mobile tripod. Any suggestions?)
Compared to a similar-sized foraging trail of our Arizona Pogonomyrmex harvester ants, it was noticeable that these ants weren't carrying anything. Because they are known to feed on insects, as well as gather honeydew, they must process their food in the field. Anyone know more about their foraging behavior?
Even to people who aren't interested in ants, these mounds were such a presence that they inspired awe and curiosity. It would be great to get a chance to study them longer.
Have you ever encountered Allegheny mount ant nests?