A full-grown L. minutissimus queen makes her way toward a hole in an acorn. Entire colonies of L. minutissimus can live in acorns, hickory nuts and hollow twigs and grass stems. Photo by Jo McCulty, University Relations, Ohio State University.
A L. curvispinosus queen is surrounded by L. minutissimus queens. The grown ants are scuttling around ant larvae. Photo by Jo McCulty, University Relations, Ohio State University.
Last fall, ecologists at Ohio State University cracked open an acorn they had found in an Ohio park and discovered a colony of extremely rare ants.
They had uncovered Leptothorax minutissimus, an ant species that has been found in only four other areas of the eastern United States. The researchers found the acorn at a Columbus metro park – the first time the ant has been found in Ohio.
"What makes this find special is the lifestyle of these ants," said Joan Herbers, an ant expert and a professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State.
Holly Wagner | OSU
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