Tetramorium

This is a large and widespread Old World genus, which contains several cosmopolitan tramp species. Workers are 2.5-4 mm long and the body color ranges from yellowish brown through brown to blackish brown; the legs are usually lighter in color. Antennae are 12-segmented and with a three-segmented club. The thorax is slender and the epinotum has spines; the pedicel is two-segmented. The femora are noticeably enlarged. Nests are in soil, often under stones, boards, sidewalks, or around building foundations. They are omnivorous, and feed on a variety of plant and animal material, including live and dead insects, honeydew, seeds, and plant sap.

Pavement ant, Tetramorium caespitum (Fig. 9.8h) Workers are 2.5-3 mm long and the body color ranges from light brown to brown to blackish brown; the legs are usually light brown. The dorsal surface of the head and thorax has distinct longitudinal grooves. The scape extends nearly to the posterior border of the head. The mesoepinotal suture forms a distinct constriction on the thorax. Epinotal spines are short. Nests in natural habitats are in exposed soil or under stones, pavement, and sidewalks. Indoors they may be in the masonry walls and along the foundation. Refuse expelled from the nest site is somewhat characteristic ofthis species, and includes fragments ofseeds, dead insects, and fine wood fibers. Colonies are large and there is usually one functional queen. Winged forms emerge from the nest in June and July, but they may emerge at almost any time of the year. Queenless colonies with workers are known to occur, and they contain black, winged females and wingless males of a parasitic ant, Anagates atratulus. This parasitic species is known only by its association with T. caespitum. It is dependent on its host for food and care. Natural food for T. caespitum includes live and dead insects, honeydew, plant sap, and seeds. Indoors they forage for meat and grease. This species is native to Europe, but it is nearly cosmopolitan in urban areas.

Guinea ant, Tetramorium guineense (Fig. 9.8g) Workers are 3-3.5 mm long and the body color ranges from light brown to reddish brown, with a dark brown gaster. The head has longitudinal ridges and the distance between them widens posteriorly. The clypeus has three longitudinal ridges. The thorax is compressed on each side. Sculpturing on the cuticle is deep on the head, thorax, and pedicel. Nests in natural habitats are in exposed soil or under the cover of stones, or inlogs and stumps. Indoor nests are located in cavities and voids in woodwork and other places. In northern portions of its range, this ant usually nests indoors. Natural food includes honeydew, and live and dead insects. Indoors they feed on meat, grease, fruits, and vegetables. This species is apparently native to Africa, but it is nearly cosmopolitan in urban environments. It occurs in northern Europe and the UK in heated greenhouses.

Tetramorium simillimum Workers are about 2.5 mm long and yellowish brown to reddish brown. This cosmopolitan species occurs in heated glasshouses and buildings in Europe and the UK.

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