So what do 696 ants look like?
I believe these guys are Formica obscuripes. The Formica genus can be identified by the three very distinct ocelli on their foreheads and the short but prominent frontal carinae, the two dark lines extending upward from the bases of the antennae.
For most of Friday I worked through my pitfall traps, with Katherine diligently sorting through hundreds of ants, grouping them by the most similar-looking.
We also encountered a few questionable ants which may also be Formica obscuripes, but with highly inflated gasters.
The progress is slow, but steady-- by 5pm, we finished 12 of the 144 traps.
Aside from my life in antworld, the other members of Team Echinacea worked on their individual projects and completed a few smaller tasks including:
-GPSing the recruitment plots
-GPSing a few positions in the common garden
-Scanning data sheets for Amy
-Entering data from seedling searches
Overall, Friday was very productive for all of us and we look forward to more days like it this coming week.