It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

The other day, VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology and Ant Expert Extraordinaire Dr. Kal Ivanov asked me why I haven't featured any cool ants recently. With that in mind, please enjoy some ants, Kal!

These little guys are Temnothorax curvispinosus, also known as acorn ants. These tiny ants are fairly common in the eastern U.S. At first glance, you might assume that these ants have ventured away from their nest to gather up the remains of the nut meat inside this old hickory nut shell. However, what we're actually looking at right now is the nest itself!

These ants are small enough that their entire colony can fit inside an acorn or a nut shell. You might also find a colony inside a dead twig, or underneath some bark, or under rocks out in the woods. Colonies typically feature fewer than 100 workers, although some may contain as many as 300. The colonies also feature multiple queens! Since these ants tend to live at the surface rather than underground, nuts and other structures help protect them during the harsh winter months. Even so, it's been estimated that a third to one-half of all acorn ant colonies are wiped out by the end of winter.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

Hear More  arrow