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Dolichoderus mariae Forel
Dolichoderus mariae, frontal view of the head of a worker
(click on image to enlarge).
Dolichoderus mariae, side view of a worker
(click on image to enlarge).

The Dolichoderus species found in the U.S are small to medium sized ants that are somewhat atypical for other North American Dolichoderinae in that the integument is harder, and not as thin and flexible as in our other Dolichoderine genera. Additionally, they can be characterized by having strong sculpture on the alitrunk, and the declivious face of the propodeum being strongly concave (see side view above). Species found in the U.S. possess "repugnatorial" glands, which produce a pungent or smoky smelling volatile secretion (Creighton 1950).

Workers of Dolichoderus mariae can be distinguished by the following characteristics: dorsum of head and mesosoma with fine punctation, never forming a rugo-reticulate pattern; scapes usually lacking erect hairs, but occasionally 1 or 2 present; most of body and head lacking erect hairs except for a few on gaster; dorsal surface of the propodeum distinctly longer than broad, more than 1.4 times longer than broad; bicolored, with the head and alitrunk reddish and the gaster dark brown, or occasionally individuals brownish with darker gaster.

According to Creighton (1950), this species prefers to live in pure sand, often in fields or other grassy areas. Nests are typically made underneath grass tufts or small bushes. Mature colonies are large with thousands of individuals present. They collect the sweet secretions produced by various homopterans and eat other insects for sustenance.

North American species are only found east of the Rocky Mountains. This species is no exception and is widely distributed in the eastern U.S. This is not an ant we encounter with any regularity in AL and MS, although we records of it from five widely separated counties in MS.


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