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Ants in Chickasaw State Park, Chester and Hardeman Counties, Tennessee

Joe A. MacGown and JoVonn G. Hill
uploaded 7 August 2012

Chickasaw State Park is located about18 miles south of Jackson, Tennessee on State Hwy. 100 in Chester and Hardeman Counties. The park is situated on some of the highest terrain in western Tennessee. This large park has 14,384 acres of timberland, including 1,280 acres that are used for recreational purposes, two large lakes, rental cabins, campgrounds, and numerous hiking trails. The park is adjacent to Chickasaw State Forest.

Lake Placid at Chickasaw State Park

On 9 July 2012, JoVonn Hill and I collected ants in Chickasaw State Park. We spent about two hours at the park, and made our collections along a nature trail that ran through a somewhat dry sloped deciduous forest at 35°22'55"N 88°46'15"W (SIte 1) and in an open hardwood forest area near Lake Placid at 35°23'31"N 88°46'22"W (Site 2).

Site 1, along trail (very dry)

Between the general collecting we did and the litter samples we made, we found collecting to be quite profitable (species-wise) at Site 1. For the most part, the species we collected were not unexpected, with many common species present such as Aphaenogaster carolinensis, A. fulva, A. lamellidens, Camponotus chromaiodes, Hypoponera opacior, Myrmecina americana, and others. But, we were rewarded with one specimen of an undescribed Myrmecina species that JoVonn picked up in a litter sample. Only one species of Myrmecina (americana) is described for North America, but quite a few folks are aware of this undescribed species. This species is quite different than M. americana in that it is much smaller, has only one pair of propodeal spines, and is reddish colored. Very cool! See the complete list of species below.

Site 2, near Lake

We spent less time at Site 2, because we were getting ready to head to Big Hill State Park. But, with the open, mowed park-like area beneath various large hardwood trees, we were able to snag a few species that we did not find in the woods (although, most of them may have been there as well). Some of the different species we collected here included Aphaenogaster treatae, Camponotus nearcticus, C. decipiens, Crematogaster missuriensis, Pheidole bicarinata, and Trachymyrmex septentrionalis.

In the short time we were at the park, we collected 31 species of ants.

List of Species collected at Chickasaw State Park (arranged alphabetically by genus)

Aphaenogaster carolinensis (Wheeler) Site 1
Aphaenogaster fulva Roger Site 1
Aphaenogaster lamellidens Mayr Sites 1, 2
Aphaenogaster treatae Forel Sites 1, 2
Camponotus americanus Mayr Site 2
Camponotus chromaiodes Bolton Site 1
Camponotus decipiens Emery Site 2
Camponotus nearcticus Emery Site 2
Camponotus pennsylvanicus (DeGeer) Site 2
Camponotus snellingi Bolton Site 1
Crematogaster ashmeadi Mayr Sites 1, 2
Crematogaster lineolata
(Say) Site 1
Crematogaster missuriensis
Emery Site 2
Formica pallidefulva Latreille Sites 1, 2
Hypoponera opacior (Forel) Site 1
Myrmecina americana Emery Site 1
Myrmecina sp.-01 Site 1
Nylanderia faisonensis (Forel) Site1
Ponera pennsylvanica Buckley Site 1
Pheidole bicarinata Mayr Site 1
Pheidole dentata Mayr Sites 1, 2
Solenopsis carolinensis Forel Site 1
Solenopsis invicta X richteri ? Site 1, 2
Stigmatomma pallipes (Haldeman) Site 1
Strumigenys louisianae Roger Site 1
Strumigenys ohioensis Kennedy & Schramm Site 1
Strumigenys ornata Mayr Site1
Tapinoma sessile (Say) Site 2
Temnothorax curvispinosus
Mayr Site 1
Temnothorax pergandei
Emery Site 1, 2
Trachymyrmex septentrionalis (McCook) Site 2