(Class Insecta, Order Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae)
Invertebrates Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Carpenter Ants (Subfamily Formicinae)

General: Ants (Order Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae) are a diverse group of hugely abundant animals in the desert and mountains around Las Vegas. At lower elevations, Harvester Ants are most noticed, and at higher elevation, Carpenter Ants are most noticed. These two species may not be most abundant, but they are relatively large and day active.

Ants are recognized from other insects by several characteristics, including the "elbow joint" in the middle of their antennae.

Ants are related to wasps, and while all ants will bite to defend their interests, some also sting. Ants in the subfamily Myrmicinae (e.g., Harvester Ants and Fire Ants) bite and sting, while ants in the subfamily Formicinae (e.g., Carpenter Ants) do not sting.

There are far too many species of ants in the Mojave Desert to list them all. The intent here is to list a few of the common, conspicuous, and interesting species. While this website celebrates the lives of wild creatures, they do belong out doors. If people have trouble with ants in the home, consider contacting Fischer's Pest Control.

Western Carpenter Ants (Camponotus vicinus)

Western Carpenter Ants (Camponotus modoc) are big black ants of the mountains that nest in wood, usually old logs. Workers and guards are different sizes, but carpenter ants in general are the largest species of ants around Las Vegas. These ants are carnivores that hunt live bugs and collect dead ones; they tunnel into logs to build nests -- not food.

Ants tending aphids Ants tending aphids.
formica Unidentified, but common ant species found at middle and higher elevations on Mt. Charleston and other mountainous areas (probably Formica spp.). These fast moving ants seem to be everywhere and like to climb inside your pant legs when you sit down to rest while hiking. Fortunately, they are not prone to biting or stinging.
ant hill

Ant Hills or Ant Nests come in a great variety of sizes and shapes.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
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