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One of our first local insect harbingers of spring now says winter is officially over! Prenolepis imparis females (shown below) are emerging from their winter torpor, and immediately being swarmed by tiny black, pepper grain-sized, winged males. To appreciate our local ant version of the annual African wildebeest migration or Nebraska’s annual sandhill crane migration, go to Busey Woods tomorrow, find a several foot wide expanse of moss (it’s easy, moss is the only green vegetation you’ll find out there right now), sit down next to it, and wait for the frenzy to begin! If you look closely at the end of this light brown female, you will see the wings and top of a small black male who is mating with her. I’ll post more graphic mating sequences on my blog tomorrow. Yup, winter’s now officially done. Hallelujah!

Female Prenolepis imparis. If you look closely at the end of this female, you’ll see the wings and dorsal area of a small black male who is mating with her. Click/double click image to enlarge.

One of our first local insect harbingers of spring now says winter is officially over! Prenolepis imparis females (shown above) are emerging from their winter torpor, and immediately being swarmed by tiny black, pepper grain-sized, winged males.

To appreciate our local ant version of the annual African wildebeest migration or Nebraska’s annual sandhill crane migration, go to Busey Woods tomorrow, find a several foot wide expanse of moss (it’s easy, moss is the only green vegetation you’ll find out there right now), sit down next to it, and wait for the frenzy to begin!

Winter’s now officially done. Hallelujah!

Ant2April2014

A male mates with a female, while another male approaches. Some females were covered by four to five males at a time. Click/double click image to enlarge.

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