The southeastern US is home to many fascinating ants. Although some folks may be unaware of it, we have numerous unique habitats here in our region, and MEM staff members make it a habit of collecting in as many of these as possible. The Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, located in Colbert County, Alabama, is one of these wonderful spots. The preserve is privately owned by Jim and Faye Lacefield, who graciously allow visitors and researchers to the site. This preserve is 700+ acres of rocky, sloped hardwood forests with numerous waterfalls, creeks, rock overhangs and shelters, and large boulders present.
Coworker James Lewis and I visited this area this past March and again in early June after hearing rave reviews about it by our bud Paul Davison, a biology professor at the University of North Alabama. And, we were not disappointed! The preserve is beautiful in every sense of the word, and host to many unique plants and insects. Not only that, they even have a cabin available for researchers to stay in. Hard to beat!
Our first visit in late March was mostly one of convenience, rather than optimal collecting weather, as it was unseasonably cold. Despite this, we managed to collect a few species. However, our return trip on June 2nd was much more productive and we ended up with 40 species of ants in total (listed below)! For a more complete log of our collecting at Cane Creek Canyon, visit the Ants of Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve web site.
Some photos from our March trip. Even the trees look cold!
Some photos from our June trip, much warmer and greener!
List of ant species collected at Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve (arranged alphabetically by genus) Aphaenogaster carolinensis (Wheeler) Aphaenogaster fulva Roger Aphaenogaster lamellidens Mayr Brachymyrmex depilis Emery Camponotus snellingi Bolton Crematogaster ashmeadi Mayr Crematogaster lineolata (Say) Crematogaster minutissima Mayr Discothryea testacea Roger Formica dolosa Buren Formica pallidefulva Latreille Formica subsericea Say Hypoponera opacior (Forel) Monomorium minimum (Buckley) Myrmecina americana Emery Nylanderia faisonensis (Forel) Nylanderia querna Kallal and LaPolla Nylanderia vividula (Nylander) Pheidole bicarinata Mayr Pheidole dentata Mayr Pheidole dentigula Smith Pheidole tysoni Forel Ponera pennsylvanica Buckley Prenolepis imparis (Say) Proceratium crassicorne Emery Proceratium pergandei (Emery) Solenopsis carolinensis Forel Stigmatomma pallipes (Haldeman) Strumigenys angulata Smith Strumigenys clypeata Roger Strumigenys louisianae Roger Strumigenys ohioensis Kennedy & Schramm Strumigenys ornata Mayr Strumigenys rostrata Emery Strumigenys talpa Weber Trachymyrmex septentrionalis (McCook) Temnothorax curvispinosus Mayr Temnothorax pergandei Emery Temnothorax schaumii Roger Trachymyrmex septentrionalis (McCook)