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Amazing Ghost Ants : Tapinoma melanocephalum

Ghost Ants : Tapinoma melanocephalum

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Now this is a cool looking insect. Ghost ants, or tapinoma melanocephalum feed on sweets among other things. Since their abdomens are transparent, you can actually see the color of the food that they eat.

Tapinoma melanocephalum is a species of ant that goes by the common name ghost ant. They are recognised by their dark head and pale or translucent legs and gaster (abdomen). This colouring makes this tiny ant (1'16 of an inch, 1.5 mm) seem even smaller.

The ghost ant's diet consists mainly of sweets but they will also feed on grease and occasionally living or dead insects. They exhibit a high need for moisture, and although colonies are usually established outside, they can readily "set up camp" inside domestic houses during dry conditions.

This is a widespread tropical species, found throughout the world. Its native range is unknown.

The ghost ant is thought to be so named because the legs and abdomen of the insect look transparent, with only the head and thorax being dark brown in colour.




Observed in infested buildings with the naked eye they are quite difficult to distinguish from pharaoh ants, being virtually of the same size.

Like a lot of small insects a positive identification can only be made once is a specimen is looked at through a microscope.

The worker ants form trails like pharaoh ants, taking food back to the nest, and also like pharaoh ants, the queens are communal, so that there can be several queens in a colony, and several thousand workers. New colonies can be formed when a queen and some workers migrate away.

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