Did you know?!
DID YOU KNOW!?
There’s only one hill, on one WMA, where the Florida harvester ant can be found in ALL of Louisiana—Sandy Hollow WMA
While our biologists were out studying the threatened gopher tortoise, they began noticing signs of the Florida harvester ant. Similar to the gopher tortoise, which prefers a sandy area to construct its burrow, the harvester ant builds its nest in non-vegetated areas, underground as opposed to a normal ant mound. A tell-tale sign that harvester ants were in the area was their particular way of building their nest.
Harvester ants eat seeds and then deposit the hulls around the perimeter of the nest. They will also line the periphery of the nest with bits of charcoal. This is important because the seeds they disperse are a food source for birds like the bobwhite quail. The harvester ant has a unique tool on the underside of its large head to help carry items.
The ant possesses a psammophore or a “seed beard”. The psammophore consists of long curved hairs extending from the underside of the ant’s head, forming a basket-like structure beneath. This extremely helpful for the ants since they dig into the ground and have to carry sand out from the underground nest.
The harvester ant’s head is fairly large and wide, and its body is much bigger than a fire ant. They are reddish brown with a shiny abdomen and their sting not only hurts but can travel through one’s lymphatic system. For example, if you get stung in the elbow, you can feel it in your shoulder!
LDWF biologists have searched other areas of the state where they find gopher tortoises, but have not found the Florida harvester ant anywhere else but Sandy Hollow WMA—now you know!