Lone Pine Nov 2016 Part 1
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Lone Pine Road Trip Nov 2016 Part 1
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Lake Henshaw, Indio & Salton Sea

Hwy 79 Past Lake Henshaw En Route To Indio

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A touch of fall along the shoreline of Lake Henshaw, San Diego County (28 October 2016).


Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) Introduced To Indio

I can now testify that imported fire ants are definitely in irrigated parks & lawns in Indio, CA. Beware of dirt mounds in the grass, they may not be gophers!

Major and minor workers of the imported South American fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) from Mira Mesa in San Diego County, California. The head and thorax are a little darker than the native southern fire ant (S. xyloni). There are other technical differences beyond the scope of this website.

  More Images Of The Imported South American Fire Ant  


Harvester Ant (Messor pergandei) At Salton Sea

Large crater-like nest of the desert harvester ant (Messor pergandei) on the north shore of Salton Sea.


Pyramid Ant (Dorymyrmex cf. bicolor) At Salton Sea

At first I thought this was a species of honeypot ant (Myrmecocystus) nesting in the Salton Sea State Park pavement. Under higher magnification I saw the very obvious propodeal cone typical of Dorymyrmex. This is probably D. bicolor, although it appears a little larger than colonies of the latter species on Owens Peak and Palomar Mountain. In addition, the color of the head is more orange-red compared with ants on Owens Preak. This species also lives under the pavement at the Best Western in Indio and appears to be rather common in the Coachella Valley.


Union Pacific Freight Train


Honeypot Ant (Mymecocystus) At Salton Sea

Found More 50 Caliber Belt Links & Casings
(Shells) On The North Side Of Salton Sea

Entrance to honeypot ant nest (Myrmecocystus) surrounded by 50 caliber belt links all collected nearby. This area was obviously a military training site many years ago.

I am uncertain about the common bicolored Myrmecocystus (subgenus Endiodioctes) ants north of the Salton Sea. There may be more than one species. Myrmecocystus mimicus is common in southern California and this may be that species; however, the very similar M. flaviceps has been reported from this area. I have one photo of a honeypot ant from Box Canyon North of Mecca and the Salton sea that appears to be M. flaviceps. Tergum III has densely appressed hairs and the gaster is dull black compared with the glossy black gaster of M. mimicus. M. flaviceps has been reported from Mecca, North of the Salton Sea, Joshua Tree National Park (Cottonwood Campground), Deep Canyon near Palm Desert, and the Algodones Dunes!

Honeypot ant (Myrmecocystus) north of the Salton Sea.

Nest of Myrmecocystus on north side of Salton Sea. Although some entrances do not have a well-defined crater, this one is quite distinct. This may be related to the age of colony.