Wasmannia

This is a neotropical genus with a species, the little fire ant, which is common in other regions of the world. Workers are 1.5-1.8 mm long and usually golden brown to light brown; the gaster is dark brown. Antennae are 11-segmented, with a distinct club. The head and thorax may have small punctures; the setae on the body are scarce. The thorax lacks a constriction and the epinotum has long spines; the pedicel is two-segmented.

Little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (= ochetomyrmex auropunctatus) (Fig. 9.7g) Workers are 1.5-2 mm long and yellowish brown to brown. Ridges on the front of the head are widely spaced, forming a partial groove for the antennal scape. Antennae have a three-segmented club, but the last two segments are greatly enlarged and give the impression of a two-segmented club. The scape does notreach the posterior border of the head. Epinotal spines are close together at base, long, and with an acute angle. Nests are in the ground and in soil between objects, in rotting wood, and in buildings and houses. Several nests may be interconnected by worker trails forming a large colony and a unicolonial social structure. This species is neotropical and it is sensitive to cold temperatures. Colonies are usually large and contain several functional queens. New colonies are probably formed by budding. Flights of reproductives have not been recorded. Natural food includes honeydew, live and dead insects and other arthropods, and small animals. Indoors they feed on meat, oil, seeds, milk, juice, and fruit. Workers are notaggressive, buthave a painful sting. This species is native to neotropical regions, and it occurs in Central and South America, West Indies, Mexico, and in southern USA, especially Florida. This species is found in the Galapagos Islands and New Caledonia.

Other Formicidae The urban environment provides suitable habitats for a large number of ant species. They are usually unnoticed, because of their nest and foraging habits, and only occasionally come indoors. They are infrequent pests, and establish nests in peridomestic habitats. Most are noticed by the emergence of winged forms or the activity of foraging workers. The brown house ant, Doleromyma darwiniana, occurs in Australia. Workers are 2-3 mm long and uniformly brown, and the pedicel is one-segmented. It nests along paths, and in the joints ofbrick- and stonework, and workers forage indoors for high-protein foods. The black house ant, Ochetellus glaber, occurs in Australia. Workers are 2.5-3 mm long and black; the pedicel is one-segmented and the epinotum is concave. It nests outdoors along paths, but may establish nests indoors, including subfloor areas ofhouses. Indoors itforages for a variety of household foods, but prefers sweets. The greenheaded ant, Rhytidoponera metallica, occurs in Australia. Workers are 5-6 mm long, and they are black with a metallic green head. Nests are along paths, among rockeries, in bushy areas. It feeds on vegetable material. This species can inflict a painful sting.

Anoplolepis custodiens and A. steingroeveri are pests in South Africa. During late summer and fall in western Cape orchards and vineyards, A. steingroeveri workers attack farm laborers and hinder their work. A. custodiens workers are known to kill domestic chickens. Dorylus helvolus is a driver ant in South Africa that is common in gardens in most southern African regions. Although it is rarely seen because of its subterranean habits, workers occasionally come indoors through openings in outside walls. Melissotarsus emeryi is one of the South African ants that tunnel into live trees, including Ficus sur and Schotia spp. that grow along roadsides. Nests consist of a complex of tunnels and passages, mostly under the bark but also penetrating into the heartwood. Tunneling by these ants induces parts of the tree to die and this causes branches to fall, endangering pedestrians and property. This species occurs in northern and southern Africa.

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