Uploaded 2009; last updated 4 March 2016
Paratrechina longicornis, full face view of a worker (click image to enlarge).
Paratrechina longicornis, side view of a worker (click image to enlarge).
Photo courtesy of http://www.antweb.org/
Paratrechina species can be identified by having a waist with one distinct segment; acidopore at the apex of the gaster with a circular fringe of setae; 12-segmented antennae; triangular mandibles with five teeth; six-segmented maxillary palps; head and body with dorsally erect, coarse setae; very long scape and legs; and weakly shinning with scarce pubescence.
Paratrechina longicornis is the most widespread Paratrechina species is most often found in disturbed habitats and has a pantropical distribution. This species can be a common house pest foraging inside for any scraps of food lying around and has been able to spread to less tropical environments because of its close association with humans and heated buildings.
Queen: HL 1.06, HW 1.03, SL 1.40, EL 0.39, MeSL 1.92 (n=1) (MEM specimen). Color brown to dark brown with lighter specimens often with a yellowish mesonotum. Coxae, trochanter and base of femur pale yellow. Head covered in short, appressed, hair-like setae; eyes about 1/3 the length of the head and positioned posterior to the midline of the head; three ocelli present; mandibles more or less triangular is shape with five distinct teeth; maxillary palps long and six-segmented; antennae 12-segmented with elongate scape; scape not as long in comparison to the head as in workers. Mesosoma covered with a light pubescence; enlarged with four wings or wing scars present. Waist single segmented; petiolar node short in comparison to the gaster and often obscured by the anterior edge of the gaster in the dorsal view. Gaster covered in dense pubescence; lacking sting; acidopore present at apex.
Male: MEM no specimens
Biology and Economic Importance
Paratrechina longicornis is considered to be a nuisance pest species due to its tendency to forage and nest in homes and buildings and the ease of which humans move it around. Colonies tend to be found in buildings, or nearby to building, more frequently than in natural undisturbed areas in the Southeastern United States. It is believed to have first entered the United States through Florida and has now spread across the Gulf Coast and Southern East Coast states. P. longicornis has a great sense of smell and will quickly find any food in the area and will readily feed on common household foods including meat, sweats, vegetables and fountain soda syrups.
African Region: Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea, Kenya, Macaronesia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen (antweb.org)
U.S. Distribution: AL, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX (antweb.org)
Dalla Torre, K. W. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna).
Emery, C. 1892 ("1891"). Note sinonimiche sulle formiche. Bullettino della Società Entomologica Italiana 23:159-167.
Emery, C. 1910. Beiträge zur Monographie der Formiciden des paläarktischen Faunengebietes. (Hym.) Teil X. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1910:127-132.
Forel, A. 1891. Les Formicides. [part]. In: Grandidier, A. 1891. Histoire physique, naturelle, et politique de Madagascar. Volume XX. Histoire naturelle des Hyménoptères. Deuxième partie (28e fascicule). Paris: Hachette et Cie, v + 237 pp.
Forel, A. 1894. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part IV. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 8:396-420.
Fox, E.G.P.; Solis, D.R.; Jesus, C.M.; Bueno, O.C.; Yabuki, A.T.; Rossi, M.L. 2007. On the immature stages of the crazy ant Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille 1802) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1503: 1-11.
Hung, A. C. F.; Imai, H. T.; Kubota, M. 1972. The chromosomes of nine ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Taiwan, Republic of China. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 65:1023-1025.
Jerdon, T. C. 1851. A catalogue of the species of ants found in Southern India. Madras Journal of Literature and Science 17:103-127.
LaPolla, J. S.; Brady, S. G.; Shattuck, S. O. 2010. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the Prenolepis genus-group of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology 35:118-131.
LaPolla, J. S.; Hawkes, P. G.; Fisher, J. N. 2013. Taxonomic review of the ant genus Paratrechina, with a description of a new species from Africa. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 35:71-82.
Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire naturelle des fourmis, et recueil de mémoires et d'observations sur les abeilles, les araignées, les faucheurs, et autres insectes. Paris: Impr. Crapelet (chez T. Barrois), xvi + 445 pp.
Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Novara Expedition 1865. Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp.
Roger, J. 1863. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift 7(Beilage):1-65.
Smith, M. R. 1965. House-infesting ants of the Eastern United States, their recognition, biology, and economic importance. United States Department of Agriculture, Technical Bulletin No. 1326: i-105.
Trager, J. C. 1984. A revision of the genus Paratrechina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the continental United States. Sociobiology 9:49-162.
Wheeler, W. M. 1921. Chinese ants collected by Prof. C. W. Howard. Psyche (Cambridge) 28:110-115.
Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1986. Supplementary studies on ant larvae: Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 94:331-341.