Pogonomyrmex colei mates from mid-August through to October. Interestingly, mating behaviour is triggered by rainfall, a rare occurrence in this species’ arid habitat. The male will emerge from the host nest after light rain, although the female will only emerge after rainfall has penetrated several centimetres into the soil (2). Males of this species do not venture far from the nest site, a common behaviour in rare ant species as it increases the chance of finding a mate (4).
During copulation, in which only fertile offspring are produced, the host species, Pogonomyrmex rugosus will move around the copulating pair but will not interfere (4). The flightless male Pogonomyrmex colei then returns to the nest, while the females fly to new colonies, following pheromones laid down by Pogonomyrmex rugosus workers (2).
Colonisation of new nests by female Pogonomyrmex colei has a very low success rate, with 90 percent of females removed by the much larger Pogonomyrmex rugosus workers (2).