Hells Gate State Park, Idaho, USA, 2013

Searching for Orasema coloradensis

Austin Baker visited Hells Gate State Park in Idaho to investigate the only known potential host record of Orasema from formicine ants (Johnson et al., 1986). In that study, Orasema coloradensis Wheeler was linked with Formica subnitens Creighton, in association with thrips on the host plant Ericameria nauseosa, but no direct association beteen O. coloradensis and F. subnitens was found. This record is of particular interest to Austin, who is currently revising the O. coloradensis species group.

Austin and Ding Johnson found that an invasive ant, Tetramorium caespitum Linnaeus, has recently caused a decline in E. nauseosa populations, apparently driving O. coloradensis out of the area.

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