• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Wheeler Peak Summit Trail Closed

    A small smoldering fire near the trail has caused the closure of the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. park staff is observing the fire. Check back here to get an update whne the trail will open. Alpine Lakes Loop and Bristlecone Trail are open. More »

  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »

  • Travel Not Recommended - Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive Above 8,000 Feet

    Snow and ice may make travel on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive unsafe, travel is not recommended at this time. Warmer weather later in the week is expected and conditions may improve. Please check back. 9/29/2014

  • Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed

    The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.

Ants

Over 60 ant species have been documented in White Pine County, Nevada, and 23 of these have been found in the park. Many more species likely occur in the park but have yet to be documented. Close inspection of the ground and plants in almost any corner of the park will reveal ants.

Although often seen as annoyances, ants play important roles in almost all ecosystems, including those in and around Great Basin National Park. In the Great Basin, ants are important predators of other small insects and invertebrates, and they turn over and aerate the soil as much as or more than earthworms. They are also major consumers and dispersers of seeds, especially the aptly named harvester ants, of which two species are local.

Harvester ants (genus Pogonomrymex) are also infamous for their painful stings. Although many ants bite with their powerful mandibles when agitated, some ants also stings like wasps or bees. Stinging ants first bite their victims to gain leverage for pressing their stingers through exoskeletons or skin, followed by injection of venom. Harvester ant venom is the most toxic venom known, and is three to twelve times more potent than bee and wasp venoms, depending on the ant species. Although ant stings can be painful, you are very unlikely to experience one without deliberately disturbing a colony.

Ants of Great Basin National Park and White Pine County, Nevada

Family Formicidae

Subfamily Dolichoderinae

  • Forelius pruinosus

Subfamily Formicinae

  • Camponotus laevigatus
  • Camponotus modoc
  • Camponotus sansabeanus
  • Camponotus sayi
  • Camponotus semitestaceus
  • Camponotus vicinus
  • Formica argentea*
  • Formica dakotensis*
  • Formica densiventris*
  • Formica fusca
  • Formica haemorrhoidalis
  • Formica hewitti*
  • Formica lasioides
  • Formica manni
  • Formica neoclara*
  • Formica neogagates
  • Formica neorufibarbis
  • Formica nevadensis*
  • Formica obscuripes
  • Formica obscuriventris*
  • Formica obtusopilosa
  • Formica oreas
  • Formica planipilis*
  • Formica puberula
  • Formica subelongata
  • Formica subnitens
  • Formica subnuda*
  • Formica subpolita
  • Formica subsericea*
  • Lasius alienus
  • Lasius crypticus
  • Lasius flavus*
  • Lasius pallitarsis*
  • Lasius sitiens*
  • Lasius subumbratus*
  • Myrmecocystus hammettensis
  • Myrmecocystus pyramicus
  • Myrmecocystus testaceus
  • Polyergus breviceps

Subfamily Myrmicinae

  • Aphaenogaster occidentalis
  • Aphaenogaster uinta*
  • Crematogaster mormonum
  • Leptothorax crassipilis*
  • Leptothorax muscorum*
  • Leptothorax nevadensis
  • Leptothorax rugatulus*
  • Leptothorax tricarinatus*
  • Manica mutica
  • Monomorium minimum*
  • Myrmica americana
  • Myrmica emeryana*
  • Myrmica fracticornis*
  • Myrmica incompleta
  • Myrmica lobifrons
  • Pheidole pilifera
  • Pogonomyrmex occidentalis
  • Pogonomyrmex salinus
  • Solenopsis molesta
  • Veromessor lobognathus

Subfamily Dolichoderinae

  • Tapinoma sessile

*Species identified within Great Basin National Park.

References

Wheeler, G. C. and J. N. Wheeler. 1986. The Ants of Nevada. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles.

Baggs, J. E. 1993. Annotated bibliography of biological collections from Great Basin National Park: Volume I (Flora) and Volume II (Fauna). Cooperative Park Studies Unit, UNLV, Las Vegas.

Did You Know?

Century + year old orchard; Photographed by Bryan Petrytyl

The apricot trees in front of the Lehman Caves Visitor Center in Great Basin National Park are over 100 years old! The trees are thought to have been planted by Absalom Lehman, discoverer of Lehman Caves. These historic fruit trees continue to produce today.