Messor pergandei

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Messor pergandei
Messor pergandei casent0005733 profile 1.jpg
M. pergandei worker from the United States
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Pheidolini
Genus: Messor
Species: M. pergandei
Binomial name
Messor pergandei
Mayr, 1886

Messor pergandei is a species of harvester ant native to the Southwestern United States, especially the deserts of southeastern California. It has also been identified in the Baja California peninsula of Mexico.[1] It was first described by Gustav Mayr, who named it Aphaenogaster pergandei.[2] It has also been referred to as Veromessor pergandei[1] when classified in the Veromessor genus (a junior synonym of Messor).[3] It can also be referred to as a black harvester ant or desert harvester ant, although these common names have also been applied to other species.[4][5]


Messor pergandei has a head of equal length and width, with very large mandibles. It has short white or yellow hair and a large thorax. Males typically measure about 8.5 millimeters (0.33 in) and females about 10 millimeters (0.39 in).[1] However, individual size can vary based on factors such as availability of food and interspecific competition.[6]


Like other harvester ants, Messor pergandei gathers fruits and seeds for food. The seeds of perennial shrubs such as Larrea tridentata and Ambrosia dumosa are among its diet.[7]


Messor pergandei forms populous, long-lived colonies with an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 workers. Its nests have been estimated to span 15.5  m in underground diameter, and extending to a depth of 4  m. Nests have conspicuous crater entrances (usually 2–3 per nest), which are surrounded by chaff (refuse) piles. Mating flights in this species occur primarily in February when temperatures reach approximately 22 °C.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Wheeler, William Morton; Creighton, William Steel (1934). "A study of the ant genera Novomessor and Veromessor". Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 69 (9): 341–387. doi:10.2307/20023057. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Mayr, Gustav (1886). "Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika". Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft (in German) (Vienna) 36: 419–464. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Veromessor". AntWiki. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Lighton, J.R.; Bartholomew, G.A. (1988). "Standard energy metabolism of a desert harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex rugosus: Effects of temperature, body mass, group size, and humidity". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 85 (13): 4765–4769. doi:10.1073/pnas.85.13.4765. PMID 16593953. 
  5. ^ "Black Harvester Ant". Orkin. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Davidson, Diane W. (1978). "Size variability in the worker caste of a social insect (veromessor pergandei mayr) as a function of the competitive environment". The American Naturalist 112 (985): 523–532. doi:10.1086/283294. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Wissinger, Benjamin D. (2012). Perennial shrub and harvester ant responses to environmental gradients in southern California deserts (Thesis). University of Idaho. OCLC 823874661. 
  8. ^ Uppstrom & Klompen 2011, p. 1
  • Uppstrom, K. A.; Klompen, H. (2011), "Mites (Acari) Associated with the Desert Seed Harvester Ant, Messor pergandei (Mayr)", Psyche: A Journal of Entomology 2011: 1–7, doi:10.1155/2011/974646 
  • This article incorporates text from a scholarly publication published under a copyright license that allows anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the materials in any form for any purpose: Uppstrom, K. A.; Klompen, H. (2011), "Mites (Acari) Associated with the Desert Seed Harvester Ant, Messor pergandei (Mayr)", Psyche: A Journal of Entomology 2011: 1–7, doi:10.1155/2011/974646  Please check the source for the exact licensing terms.

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