Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Warning: large video. May take a few seconds to load.

This has been the scene on my front lawn for the past few evenings. Basically, every day in the late afternoon a large swath of ants - not going anywhere in particular or consuming any resource that I can detect - seems to form in the same general region of my front yard in Durham, North Carolina. When I get up to run in the morning and the yard is shaded, they are still there; but as soon as the hot summer sun hits the front lawn they have disappeared. In the evening, when the lawn is again shaded, sure enough - they reappear. Any comments on this peculiar phenomenon are welcome!


Glor said...

Surely Alex Wild of Myrmecos can help!

Anonymous said...

Pavement ants- Tetramorium sp. What you are seeing is a large, mostly ritualistic battle between neighboring colonies. It's one of the more spectacular ant phenomena.

Both sides send out as many workers as they can muster and the resulting pile-up helps colonies figure out the strength of their competition. Then they can adjust their territories accordingly.

This is an introduced species from Eurasia that is now common in temperate-zone urban areas worldwide.

Cool video- thanks for posting!

Liam Revell said...

As of this morning, the battle has been ongoing for over four days, although as I noted in my post the ants seem to disappear during the day.

Susan Perkins said...

That must be when the drinking of the whisky and eating of the haggis happens.

Susan Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Perkins said...

I just posted a parasite of pavement ants over at "Parasite of the Day."