Western Thatching Ants (Formica obscuripes)

posted on 5th of july, 2012

© Kgena (Help)
On Dreamstime, there are 1456 images associated with ants. Grotesque and creepy as they may be perceived by some humans, ants are industrious and cooperative, each apparently knowing their role in maintaining the health of their community, something we humans could stand to apply to our own society.

Some photos are of real ants displaying typical ant behavior.

Others display considerable creative license.

Still others are flat out cartoony illustrations.

There are numerous images of carpenter ants, both realistic and imaginative.

But only one image specifically refers to Western Thatching Ants (Formica obscuripes). What is most intriguing about these industrious insects is in their habitat and their behavior. Their mounds are constructed from forest materials and can reach a height of three feet (1 meter) and diameter of almost four feet (1.25 meters). Their interconnected maze of tunnels can descend up to seven feet underground to form a colony of over 300 mounds representing a population over 13 million residents.

Another fascinating fact is that thatching ants eat pine beetle larvae. In forests where the ants colonize, the incidence of trees destroyed by pine beetles is significantly reduced. So despite their reputation as destructive biting pests, thatching ants serve a beneficial purpose to the forest ecosystem.

© Forca (Help)
Although the search phrase "western thatching ants" or even "thatching ants" results in just that one image, the phrase "ant hill" results in numerous images of thatching ant mounds. Perhaps the owners of those photos might take these notes to heart, and add the words "thatching" and "western" (or "eastern" for their eastern United States counterparts) to their assortment of keywords.
© Leoco (Help)

Comments (9)

Posted by Laurasinelle on July 11, 2012
Nice! Thakns for sharing! Im impress with the ants hills!
Posted by Toynutz on July 09, 2012
Thank you all for your positive feedback.
Posted by Thevegetable on July 09, 2012
I like ants. because they are very strong and are always together .. :)
Posted by Egomezta on July 09, 2012
Great blog, very interesting.
Posted by Peanutroaster on July 06, 2012
My ant contribution: [imgl]23952468[/imgl]
Posted by Karenfoleyphotography on July 06, 2012
Fascinating! Thanks for sharing this, K-
Posted by Cammeraydave on July 05, 2012
I love watching ants !
Posted by Physi28 on July 05, 2012
interesting and even fascinating info about this insects which are still perfectly unknown to most of us, great job!
Posted by Kikkerdirk on July 05, 2012
Nice blog! Nice small creatures, the world would be totally different without them!

I also have quite some ant images in my port! May be you like them!
ID: 14942496
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Comments (9)

This article has been read 1665 times.
Photo credits: Andrey Pavlov, Dmitry Maslov, Jeffrey Collingwood, Hung Meng Tan, Anatoliy Terebenin, Forca, Henrikhl, Kalensky, Gennadij Kurilin, Leoco, Magvaj, Mcandy77, Miknik, Vladimir Konjushenko, Grigoriy Pil, Sekernas, Dana Kenneth Johnson, Vladimirdavydov.

About me

Dana Kenneth Johnson is an independent freelance photographer and writer living in Gowen, Michigan, and specializing in photographing toy cars and die-cast models, animals and wildflowers, scenic landscapes and nature details.

Gowen, Michigan, US

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