In the process of looking for nest mounds there seemed to be variation in the frequency of harvester ants colonies across the landscape and this may be related to landscape quality. Areas to the east with little ground cover seemed to have fewer ant colonies while on the western side of the San Simon riverbed, where grazing is excluded, there seemed to be more colonies. This observation suggests that harvester ants may be useful a proxy indicator species for range land health and an experiment to test this idea is under development.
|The surface expression of a large mature ant colony, probably leaf cutter ants. The mound of excavated material is over 1 ft in height.|
|Underground expression of an ant colony. Four foot deep and approximately 2' wide this nest sampled approximately 50 cubic ft of soil.|
|Ant nest, closeup of underground chambers. Note the connections between chambers.|
|clear crystals from nest mounds.|
|More clear crystals from harvester ant colony mounds. The rounded specimen in the bottom left is chalcedony which is weakly fluorescent.|