Pogonomyrmex californicus

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Pogonomyrmex californicus
Pogonomyrmex californicus casent0102895 profile 1.jpg
P. californicus worker from Arizona
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Myrmicini
Genus: Pogonomyrmex
Species: P. californicus
Binomial name
Pogonomyrmex californicus
Cole, 1968

Pogonomyrmex californicus, or California harvester ant,[1] is a species of ant in the subfamily Myrmicinae. It is native to North America, where it occurs in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.[2] It is best known as the ant that is sent out for Uncle Milton's Ant Farm.[3]


Pogonomyrmex californicus can be found in open, warm, and sandy areas. Typically, it forages during the day as individuals or in a group, forming columns as they work. It preys on arthropods and collects seeds. It can form colonies of hundreds of individuals. The nest entrances are often irregular and are surrounded by loose sand arranged in a circular or semi-circular pattern. Reproduction occurs around July, when reproducing individuals are present.[2]

Polygynous colonies[edit]

Pogonomyrmex californicus forms multiple-queen colonies at times. Most colonies are founded and sustained by one queen, but one population has been noted to contain multiple queens in a cooperative, a phenomenon known as pleometrosis.[2]


The distribution of this ant extends from Texas to Utah to Baja California, Sonora, and Chihuahua.[2]


  1. ^ A Dictionary of Entomology. CABI. 2011. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-84593-542-9. 
  2. ^ a b c d Lubertazzi, D.; G. Alpert (2010). "Pogonomyrmex californicus Buckley". Navajonature.org. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Hevesi, D. (January 29, 2011). "Milton M. Levine, 97, Inventor of Ant Farm, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 

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