Monomorium

These ants are relatively small and are distributed in temperate, tropical, and neotropical regions. Workers are 1.2-2 mm long, and the body is dark brown to black, but they are typically black. The body is almost entirely smooth and shiny, with few setae. Antennae are 11- or 12-segmented and with a distinct three-segmented club. The mesoepinotal region has a well-defined constriction, without spines; the pedicel is two-segmented. Nests are in soil and workers are predaceous and carnivorous on other insects, butalso feed on honeydew, nectar, and pollen of certain plants. Indoors they feed on a variety of domestic food, and some tropical species may be restricted to domestic habitats.

Singapore ant, Monomorium destructor (Fig. 9.7a) Workers are 1.8-3 mm long and yellowish brown, and the gaster is dark brown. The body setae are long and slender, and nearly erect. The dorsal surface of the posterior border of the head has irregular sculpturing; the mesopleuron and side ofepinotum are sculptured, but the remainder of the body is smooth and shiny. Nests are outdoors in tropical and neotropical regions, and indoors in temperate regions. Colonies are large and contain many functional queens. Workers are predaceous on other insects, butalso tend honeydew-producinghomopterans, and

Figure 9.7 Hymenoptera: Formicidae. (a) Monomorium destructor; (b) M. floricola; (c) M. minimum; (d) M. pharaonis; (e) Neivamyrmex nigrescens; (f) N. opacithorax; (g) Wasmannia auropunctatus; (h) Para-trichina longicornis.

feed on seeds; they forage in trails. Indoors they feed on sweets, meats, oils, grease, and animal material. They may bite people indoors. This species is native to the oriental region, but it is nearly cosmopolitan in urban areas.

Monomorium floricola (Fig. 9.7b) Workers are 1.4-1.8 mm long. The body is distinctly slender and bicolored: the head and gaster are dark brown or blackish brown, and the thorax, pedicel, and legs are pale brown, but the femora may be dark brown. The body is smooth, shiny, and setae and pubescence are sparse; the gaster is narrow at the base. Nests in natural habitats are above-ground in twigs and branches of trees, and under bark; it nests in live and dead wood. They may nest indoors. Colonies are usually large and have numerous functional queens, which lack wings. Natural food includes live and dead insects, honeydew, and nectar from flowers; indoors they feed on sweets. This species is native to the African or oriental region, and it occurs in southeastern USA, in Alabama and Florida, and in southern Asia, including Malaysia.

Little black ant, Monomorium minimum (Fig. 9.7c) Workers are 1.5-2 mm long and the body is almost entirely smooth and shiny, and dark brown to black, but typically black. Antennae are 11- or 12-segmented with a three-segmented club. The clypeus has a pair of longitudinal ridges, which often extend beyond the anterior margin of the clypeus and appear as teeth. Nests in natural habitats are usually outdoors in exposed soil or under objects, and in decaying wood. Indoor nests may be in structural wood or within the masonry of the foundation. Colonies usually contain several fertile queens, and winged reproductives emerge from June to August. This ant successfully competes with fire ants for food and territory. Natural foods include live and dead insects, honeydew, pollen, and nectar. Indoors they feed on meats, sweets, bread, grease, oils, cereals, fruit, and fruit juices. This species is native to North America and occurs in southeastern Canada and the northern and eastern regions of the USA.

Pharaoh's ant, Monomorium pharaonis (Fig. 9.7d) Workers are about 2 mm long and yellowish brown to reddish brown; erect hairs and pubescence on the body are sparse. Segments of antennal club gradually increase in size towards the apex of the club. The eye is relatively small, with 6-8 ommatidia at the largest diameter. The thorax has a well-defined mesoepino-tal impression. The head, thorax, and pedicel are densely but weakly punctate; the clypeus, mandibles, and gaster are shiny. Nests are normally restricted to indoor sites in temperate regions, and location is in inaccessible sites, such as in light switches, behind baseboards, and in cabinets. Colonies are active all year and produce a large number of individuals. Developmentfrom egg to adultworker takes about36 days, and from egg to reproductive takes about 41 days. Colonies have a large number of functional queens, but flights of reproductives from the nest are not known. New colonies are formed by the process of budding. This occurs when a young queen and a small number ofworkers split from the parent colony. Pharaoh ants make use of chemical trails when foraging. Through their stinger, workers deposit faranal from the Dufour's gland on the ground. This chemical orients other workers to the trail and the food source. Workers forage 24 h/day, in nearly all weather. Natural food includes live and dead insects; indoors they feed on sweets, meat, grease, and a variety of other materials. This species is native to the North African region, but it is nearly cosmopolitan in buildings and houses. Linnaeus described this ant in 1758 as Formica pharaonis from specimens collected in Egypt.

Pest status of M. pharaonis is based on infestation of buildings, especially urban apartment buildings, and health care facilities. The main problems caused by this species are skin irritation, skin lesions, contamination of instruments and machines, and germ transmission. Skin irritation results primarily when ants crawl under bandages; they cause itching by feeding around wounds. A large number of ants may be recruited to wound sites, causing extensive problems; they may be especially attracted to burn victims. Skin lesions occur when worker ants bite and feed directly on undamaged skin, such as hospital patients under sedation and newborn babies. Because of their small size and their ability to pass through tiny cracks, workers can infiltrate sterile hospital supplies, intravenous fluid delivery systems, and oxygen supply tubes.

A large number ofpathogenic organisms have been recorded from this species, including bacteria: streptococci, entero-cocci, Micrococcus pyogenes aureus, M. albus, Proteus vulgaris, Escherichia coli, Alcaligenes faecalis, Salmonella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Clostridium spp., and Bordetella bronchi-septica.

Other Monomorium Household infestations and damage to rubber material by M. latinode occur in Java, and M. barbatulum occurs in granaries in Egypt. M. intrudens workers are 2-2.5 mm long and yellowish brown with a dark-brown gaster. This species is a pest in Japan.

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