Harvester Hunt

Participate in Harvester Hunt as a part of California Biodiversity Week!

September 2-11, 2022
Los Angeles County, California

A community science-driven research project with aims of better understanding native ant ecology in order to best support biodiversity in urban environments.


Supporting Urban Biodiversity

Native to California, harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex spp.) are currently facing a number of threats. Besides habitat loss resulting from urban development, harvester ant populations are also struggling due to a nonnative invasive competitor: the Argentine ant.

But, who cares? L.A. has plenty of ants, right?

Biodiversity is incredibly important for ecosystem success (even in a concrete jungle). Several other species of insects, plus frogs, birds, and lizards rely on harvester ants for food; in fact, about 60-90% of the coast horned lizard’s diet is comprised of harvester ants.

Supporting harvester ant populations means supporting a wide variety of other species that depend on them.

Harvester ant species (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) found in California.
©Alex Wild

Just a few of the many species that rely on harvester ants for survival:

1. Willow flycatcher / LA County
2. Arroyo toad / US Fish & Wildlife Service
3. Coast horned lizard / ©2012 Sam Murray
4. Common green darner / NPS

We need your help!

Getting an accurate sense of where harvester ants currently reside is a critical first step in learning how to best support their populations.

As a small team of researchers from CSU Fullerton & CSU Dominguez Hills we can’t collect all the data we need on our own.

That’s where YOU come in!

Ready to get involved?

It’s easy!

Your contributions matter to us!

The data collected with your help during the observation period will allow us to assess what kind of urban habitats and environmental factors that best support harvester ants! We hope to publish our findings within the next two years.*

What’s in it for you?

Get ready to get competitive: we’ll make note of both the city and individual with the most observations on our iNaturalist project by November 13, 2022. The individual with the most observations will receive the honorable winner’s title AND a prize (TBA)!

Winners will be announced here and on our Instagram (@harvesterhunt) at the end of the observation period!

* = publishing time subject to change