Native to California, harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex spp.) are currently facing a number of threats. Besides habitat loss resulting from urban development, harvester ant populations are also struggling due to a nonnative invasive competitor: the Argentine ant.
But, who cares? L.A. has plenty of ants, right?
Biodiversity is incredibly important for ecosystem success (even in a concrete jungle). Several other species of insects, plus frogs, birds, and lizards rely on harvester ants for food; in fact, about 60-90% of the coast horned lizard’s diet is comprised of harvester ants.
Supporting harvester ant populations means supporting a wide variety of other species that depend on them, such as: Willow flycatchers, Arroyo toads, Common green darners and Coast horned lizards.
Getting an accurate sense of where harvester ants currently reside is a critical first step in learning how to best support their populations.
As a small team of researchers from CSU Fullerton & CSU Dominguez Hills we can’t collect all the data we need on our own. That's where YOU come in.
Keep an eye out for harvester ants when out and about in Los Angeles County.
Snap a picture (be sure to take note of the location).
Upload your pictures to the Harvester Hunt project on iNaturalist.