The San Diego Urban Ant Project – Spring Survey

May 15, 2018 Posted by: Nicole Ornelas
High Tech North County 3rd graders educate the public on the invasive Argentine Ant
NPS Photo/Nicole Ornelas – High Tech North County 3rd graders educate the public on the invasive Argentine Ant

The San Diego Urban Ant Project is a citizen science project that aims at mapping the presence and absence of the invasive Argentine Ant, Linepithema humile, throughout San Diego County. Through the combined forces of several High Tech campuses in San Diego, the University of California – San Diego, the Escondido Creek Conservancy, and Cabrillo National Monument, the San Diego Urban Ant Project provides insight on the ant populations within San Diego County. 

In February 2018, Cabrillo National Monument was the host site for the San Diego Urban Ant Project with results from 60 sites across the Point Loma Peninsula. 
For more information on Cabrillo National Monument’s Winter Survey, check out our previous SD Urban Ant Project Field Note or San Diego Urban Ant Project Video

Citizen Scientists patiently surveys the area for any signs of ants.
NPS Photo/Nicole Ornelas – Citizen Scientists patiently surveys the area for any signs of ants. 

In April 2018, we were able to reconstruct San Diego Urban Ant survey again at Cabrillo National Monument. Expanding from the winter survey, an additional 50 sites were added surrounding the tidepool area in combination with the 60 original sites in the Upper Monument area for a total of 110 observation sites. 

During this three-hour survey, we had five schools participating with 277 student citizen scientists (kindergarten through eleventh grade), and over 100 adult volunteers. With this immense team of citizen scientists, we were able to identify six ant species – three of which are completely new to the San Diego Urban Ant Project! Out of the 110 sites, we found Argentine Ants only at eight of them. 
Winter and Spring Ant Survey data illustrates that 10 native ant species have been observed at Cabrillo National Monument and one invasive. 
Argentine Ant Survey MapSpecies List at Confirmed Sites:  
•    Fire Ant (Solenopsis xyloni)
o    Site: 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 29, 65, 78, 81
•    Winter Ant (Prenolepis imparis) 
o    Site: 55, 58
•    Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)
o    Site: 2, 3, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17
•    Field Ant (Formica moki)*
o    Site: 76, 77
•    Dorymyrex bicolor*
o    Site: 61, 62, 73, 74, 75
•    Odorous House Ant (Tapinoma sessile)*
o    Site: 98
*New to survey

Ida Naughton (UCSD) identifies ant species with High Tech students for San Diego Urban Ant Survey.
NPS Photo/ Nicole Ornelas – Ida Naughton (UCSD) identifies ant species with High Tech students for San Diego Urban Ant Survey. 

Last updated: May 15, 2018

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1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, CA 92106

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