July 19, 2009

Children and scientists search for ant

Scientists and children near Boulder City, Nev., have joined the search for the Charleston Ant, not seen for 55 years, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The Charleston Ant Safari was organized by Burton Pendleton, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in New Mexico, the Las Vegas Review reported Saturday.

Pendleton recruited volunteers, many of whom brought small children because children like ants. They looked for Lasius nevadensis, the Charleston Ant, last observed at Mount Charleston 55 years ago this week.

The ants picked up then have been in a box in a museum ever since.

It's just a matter of being here at the right time, said Pendleton, who wore his pith helmet on the safari.

He said the point of finding the Charleston Ant is to measure the health of the ecosystem. Scientists are gathering data on a number of species from the Charleston Mountain area.