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Alabama Ants

Joe MacGown

Alabama is an extremely diverse state with five major and 31 minor physiographic regions. Several physiographic regions from the northern, southern, and midwestern United States reach their geographic limits in Alabama, making it a unique transitional zone. Not only does Alabama have mountainous regions in the northeastern portion of the state, but it also has coastal habitats in the southwest, scattered prairies and glades throughout the state, and many varied forest habitats throughout the state.

To date, 168 species in 38 genera and 9 subfamilies have been found in Alabama. This number should be considered preliminary because many habitats in the state have not yet been sampled. Twenty-six species are considered to be exotic to Alabama, but only the imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, S. richteri Forel, and their hybrid, and the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), have impacted the state and its ant fauna in a noticeable way. Although these ants are exceedingly common throughout the state, they thrive in disturbed open habitats, and therefore, natural habitats, especially forested ones, seem to be less affected by their presence. Five other introduced species, Brachymyrmex patagonicus Mayr, Odontomachus haematodus M.R. Smith, Cyphomyrmex rimosus (Spinola), Pheidole moerens Wheeler, and P. obscurithorax Naves, are now well established and common in southern portions of the state. Forested habitats include a diversity of species with Aphaenogaster, Camponotus, Pheidole, and Strumigenys being the most diverse genera in the state. Similar to the fauna of other southeastern states, Strumigenys is the most diverse genus in the state with 19 species found to date.

Joe MacGown
Alabama Ant Curator
MacGown, J. A. and J. A. Forster. 2005. A preliminary list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Alabama, U.S.A. Entomological News 116: 61-74.

Layton, B. and J. A. MacGown. 2006. Control of Argentine Ants and Odorous House Ants in the Home. Mississippi State University Extension Service, Publication no. 2407. 7 pp.

J.A.MacGown. Ants (Formicidae) of the southeastern United States. WebSite-includes species list, info on species, keys to southeastern ants, etc.

MacGown, J. A., J.G. Hill, and M. A. Deyrup. 2007. Brachymyrmex patagonicus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), an emerging pest species in the southeastern United States. Florida Entomologist 90: 457-464.