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An Ant chews on piece of beef jerky left by a hiker.  It is probably a Camponotus sp. (Order: Hymenoptera, Family: Fomicidae) or commonly known as a carpenter ant.  Carpenter Ants get their name because they build their nests in wood and this ant was found in a forested area of the Sandia Mountains on the Embudito Trail near a small stream.  There are nine types of carpenter ants throughout the US.  Each ant colony is initiated by a single fertilized queen where she rears her first brood of workers by feeding them saliva.  Once matured they gather food for the next generation which increases  the colony rapidly to 2,000 or more workers..The carpenter ants are omnivorous eating live and dead insects, meat, fats, and sugary foods incliding honeydew and nectar from plants.
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