Pogonomyrmex badius (Florida Harvester Ant)
An aggresive, active type of harvester ant which resides in the South Eastern territories of the USA. Nests are usually easily distinguished amongst low lying shrubs due to their characteristically round, disc shaped mounds. These are often found throughout sandy areas within pine forests.
Unlike all other Pogonomyrmex spp. , this particular species has polymorphic workers! This means that there are varying sizes of ants within the colony. These can be classified in 3 major groups: minors , medias and majors. According to scientists, majors and medias are usually tasked with opening larger sized seeds whereas minors are in charge of other foraging duties such as carrying prey into the nest as well as cracking open smaller seed husks.
Trails spanning 5-10 metres have been observed, particularly in mature colonies. These form as ants clear specific pathways to allow their fellow sisters to efficiently enter and exit the nest in an organised manner with a range of seeds and other nutritious items from the wild.
Different from other harvester ants, the Florida Harvester Ant usually excavates a new nest per year. During this relocation, upto 12 litres of sand and clay can be excavated!
It is recommended that during the foundation stage, queens should be kept at a temperature between 28-30C and humidity of 60-80% to replicate the habitats they are found in. Once the founding colony develops, a foraging area of 32-34C is recommended to promote natural behaviours whilst maintaing the nestign area at a cooler temperature of 26-30C.
It is illegal and strictly frowned upon to release any non-native ants into the wild.