Gwatch's picture

Mole or Ant Hills?

Observed: 12th May 2011 By: Gwatch
Photo0243
Description:

Showing my inexperience! I assumed these were mole hills but could they be ant hills?
(Have marked as 'mammals' but can edit if necessary.)
Changed to 'invertebrates" 18:06

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

chrisbrooks's picture

ID Comment

Hi, they look like ant hills to me, if correct you will need to edit this post to invertebrates.

chrisbrooks's picture

Yellow Meadow Ant

Although there is a good chance these will be Yellow Meadow Ants, there are many species of Lasius. Can we be sure on the exact species without an image of a specimen?

Martin Harvey's picture

ant hills

As far as I am aware, it is only Lasius flavus that makes these relatively solid, vegetated ant hills in grasslands. Some of the other Lasius species will build mounds of earth, but they tend to be looser and don't continue building up over many years.

There's a useful information leaflet on ant hills available from the Royal Parks (pdf download):
http://www.royalparks.org.uk/docs/learning/Ant_Hills_Leaflet%20_March%20...

Lasius flavus nests have been estimated to grow in size at the rate of approx. a litre of volume per year, so they can in theory be dated.

----
Entomologist and biological recorder

Nick Upton's picture

Lasius flavus

I know these yellow meadow ants/anthills well as I once studied their relationship with some really weird little mites (Antennophorus grandis) that look a lot like ant heads and hang under their jaws demanding to be fed, or on their abdomens soliciting food from other ants. I've also been involved in the filming these and other amazing nest parasites of Lasius flavus such as the "death pheromone" beetle Claviger testaceus which cons ants into carrying it to their waste heap where it can feed, as well as soliciting food from them. A lot goes on under these mounds!

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

Gwatch's picture

Amazing

A whole microcosm in what I originally thought were mole hills!

G