Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences
Dr. Robin Choudhury
Dr. Hannah Penn
Dr. Engil Pereira
Harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex sp.) are omnivorous ants native to Texas and are the main food source for the threatened Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum). Little research has been conducted on harvester ants in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) and their interactions with their environment. For this purpose, a variety of experiments were conducted to better understand these interactions and preferences. In CHAPTER I, suburban harvester ants were exposed commonly used cover crop seeds in the LRGV and inoculated seeds via seed depots over the course of 24 hours. We found that harvester ants do have preferences for some seeds over others and are impartial to the addition of inoculum. In CHAPTER II, spatial analysis, elevation, impervious surfaces, and soil moisture were analyzed and compared between areas with and without ant colonies. We found that ant colonies were significantly clustered together within this landscape. Within the larger landscape, elevation but not impervious surface was a significant factor in colony placement. Within the subset area soil moisture was not an important predictor. Determining the specific conditions harvester ant colonies choose to reside in could help citizens take proper measures to reduce the likelihood of colony establishment on their property.
Elliott, Lilly V., "Harvester Ant (Pogonomyrmex sp.) Seed Preferences and Distribution in a Suburban Setting" (2022). Theses and Dissertations - UTRGV. 1030.