Nylanderia phantasma

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Nylanderia phantasma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Nylanderia
Species: N. phantasma
Binomial name
Nylanderia phantasma
(Trager, 1984)

Paratrechina phantasma casent0104244 profile 1.jpg

Paratrechina phantasma casent0104244 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

This nocturnal species has a similar nesting pattern as Nylanderia arenivaga, with both possessing polydomous nests with numerous crater entrances (Trager, 1984). Reproductives are produced in the fall, and fly late in winter and early spring; workers are active foragers all year long (Trager, 1984). Nylanderia phantasma was originally thought to only occur in the Lake Wales Ridge area of central Florida, but populations have since been discovered in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia (MacGown et al., 2009). Its preference for xeric scrubland dunes may reflect refugia for species adapted to the semiarid areas formed 3,000–15,000 years ago (MacGown et al., 2009). The morphological similarities between N. phantasma and N. arenivaga, in both workers and males, and similar habitat preferences suggest they are sister taxa. Its range is similar to that of N. arenivaga (Kallal & LaPolla, 2012).


Kallal & LaPolla (2012) - Uniformly pale yellow to whitish in color with pale, whitish pubescence; teeth mandibular reddish; scape macrosetae count low (SMC: 0–4).

Compare with: Nylanderia arenivaga.

This nocturnal species is most likely to be confused with Nylanderia arenivaga. Nylanderia phantasma is generally whitish in color, although it may sometimes be pale yellow. When a little more yellow in color, it can be separated from N. arenivaga by its whitish, rather than brown, macrosetae and not possessing a darkened gastral tip. The mandibles of N. phantasma are reddish rather than the more typical dark brown observed in most Nearctic Nylanderia species. Nylanderia phantasma males have long, outwardly curving digiti, contrasting to N. arenivaga, which has long, but straight digiti. Behaviorally, N. phantasma tends to prefer white sand areas whereas N. arenivaga prefers yellow sands (M. Deyrup, pers. comm.).

Identification Keys including this Taxon


Southeastern US. Known from central Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Xeric scrubland dune habitat.







The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • phantasma. Paratrechina phantasma Trager, 1984b: 124, figs. 24, 26, 48 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. Combination in Nylanderia: LaPolla, Brady & Shattuck, 2010a: 127. See also: Kallal & LaPolla, 2012: 29.

Type Material

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Kallal & LaPolla (2012) - Measurements (n=15) TL: 1.71–2.34; HW: 0.44–0.55; HL: 0.54–0.63; EL: 0.14–0.18; SL: 0.49–0.71; PW: 0.30–0.51; WL: 0.52–0.76; GL: 0.61–1.08; PH: 0.11–0.23; PFL: 0.48–0.59; PFW: 0.13–0.17. SMC: 0–4; PMC: 2–5; MMC: 2–4. Indices: CI: 77–90; REL: 24–29; SI: 89–124; FI: 79–113.

Uniformly pale yellow to whitish in color; cuticle smooth and shiny; cephalic pubescence dense; mesosoma and gastral pubescence virtually absent; macrosetae and pubescence whitish. Head relatively quadrate; posterior margin not emarginated medially, or very slightly emarginated medially; scapes surpass posterior margin by first 3–4 funicular segments; ocelli not apparent. Pronotal anterior pronotal face at least 45°; pronotum with slight inflection between approximately equally long pronotal anterior and pronotal dorsal faces; anterior margin of mesonotum continuous with, or slightly higher than, pronotal margin; propodeum slightly rounded, with approximately equally long dorsal and declivitous faces.


Kallal & LaPolla (2012) - Measurements (n=2) TL: 4.60–4.75; HW: 0.88–0.89; HL: 0.88–0.92; EL: 0.27–0.29; SL: 0.88–0.95; PW: 1.11–1.18; MW: 1.04–1.10; WL: 1.29–1.54; GL: 2.33–2.39; PH: 0.39–0.54; PFL: 0.86–0.90; PFW: 0.23–0.24. SMC: 0–2; PMC: 4–7; MMC: 15–38; MtMC: 4–9. Indices: CI: 97–101; REL: 38–39; SI: 100–103; FI: 98.

Uniform pale yellow to yellow-orange in color; cuticle smooth and shiny; body with dense pubescence; macrosetae and pubescence whitish. Head as broad as it is long; scapes surpass posterior margin by first 3 funicular segments; mandible sometimes with seventh tooth between basal and subbasal teeth. Propodeum with short dorsal face and long, sloping declivitous face.


Kallal & LaPolla (2012) - Measurements (n=4) TL: 1.84–2.16; HW: 0.50–0.52; HL: 0.46–0.53; EL: 0.18–0.24; SL: 0.52–0.57; PW: 0.48–0.52; MW: 0.41–0.52; WL: 0.63–0.84; GL: 0.72–0.80; PH: 0.19–0.32; PFL: 0.47–0.62; PFW: 0.11–0.12; PL: 0.25–0.28. SMC: 0; MMC: 6–11; MtMC: 1–5. Indices: CI: 99–108; REL: 35–48; SI: 102–110; FI: 89–127.

Overall light brown; scapes and joints of legs yellowish-brown; mesocoxae and metacoxae paler yellow-brown; gaster darker brown; cuticle smooth and shiny; cephalic pubescence moderate; mesonotum with dense pubescence; gaster pubescence virtually absent; macrosetae and pubescence whitish. Head slightly broader than it is long; eyes convex, extending well beyond lateral margins of head in full face view; scapes surpass posterior margin by first 3–4 funicular segments; mandibles with long, straight inner mandibular margin, a basal angle at approximately 90°, and a smooth masticatory margin large apical tooth and smaller subapical tooth. Mesosoma enlarged to accommodate flight muscles; in lateral view, pronotal margin short and relatively straight; propodeum with long, sloped dorsal face becoming steeply sloped at inflection point to shorter declivitous face. Genitalia: parameres short, laterally oriented, triangular; dorsally parameres curved entad; digiti and cuspides long, slender and curved toward each other; digiti curve ectad, extending to nearly as long as aedeagal valves; rounded teeth occur on both digiti and cuspides where they meet; aedeagal valves broadly triangular, teeth absent; ninth sternite relatively broad with blunt lateral apodemes and a long medial apodeme.


  • Kallal, R.J. & LaPolla, J.S. 2012. Monograph of Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the World, Part II: Nylanderia in the Nearctic. Zootaxa 3508, 1-64.
  • Trager, J. C. 1984b. A revision of the genus Paratrechina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the continental United States. Sociobiology 9: 49-162 (page 124, figs. 14, 16, 48 worker, queen, male described)