Tetramorium bicarinatum is one of the most successful, abundant, and widespread tramp species within the genus Tetramorium. It occurs in almost all tropical and subtropical habitats around the world, except for most of the Afrotropical, and also has been transferred to temperate countries where it can survive in constantly heated buildings (botanical gardens, zoos, etc.). The species is known to occur in most of the Oriental and Indo-Australian regions, including almost all Pacific island systems, the New World, Europe, the Malagasy region, and on several islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (Hita Garcia and Fisher 2011).
- 1 Identification
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Biology
- 4 Castes
- 5 Nomenclature
- 6 References
Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) - Tetramorium bicarinatum can be well identified within the T. bicarinatum group in the Malagasy region because of its distinctly sculptured mandibles, rectangular nodiform petiolar node with antero- and posterodorsal angles at about the same height, and its characteristic bicolouration.
Keys including this Species
- Key to Afrotropical Tetramorium bicarinatum species group
- Key to Afrotropical Tetramorium species groups
- Key to Arabian Tetramorium
- Key to Australian Tetramorium Species
- Key to Micronesian Ants
- Key to Tetramorium of Hispaniola
- Key to Tetramorium of India
- Key to Tetramorium of the southwestern Australian Botanical Province
- Key to US Tetramorium species
Worldwide throughout tropical and subtropical regions (widespread tramp species). It has been reported from the Mediterranean in the Iberian Peninsula (Reyes & Espadaler, 2005), Italy (Limonta et al., 2003), Montenegro (Petrov, 2008) and Morocco (Taheri et al., 2017) (see Gomez, 2017).
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Afrotropical Region: Cape Verde, Comoros, Eritrea, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Australasian Region: Australia, Lord Howe Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island.
Indo-Australian Region: American Samoa, Borneo, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Indonesia, Kiribati, Krakatau Islands, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Guinea, Niue, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Vanuatu.
Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Mayotte, Seychelles.
Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Aruba, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Galapagos Islands, Greater Antilles, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago.
Oriental Region: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nicobar Island, Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: Austria, Belgium, Canary Islands, China, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Israel, Japan, Malta, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden.
Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) - Its native range was originally thought to be in Africa by a number of authors (Creighton, 1950; Brown, 1957; Taylor & Wilson, 1961; Wilson & Taylor, 1967). Yet the species is not even native to the Afrotropical region, and is only known there from very few introductions (Bolton, 1979, 1980). It seems that the Afrotropical members of the T. bicarinatum group, all endemic to this region, have the ability to hinder the establishment of T. bicarinatum. Outside of Africa, in the Malagasy, Neotropical, and parts of the Palaearctic and Neartic regions, these T. bicarinatum group species are absent, and T. bicarinatum can set up stable populations. The situation is different in the Oriental and Indo-Australian regions because T. bicarinatum is widespread and common but the T. bicarinatum species group is also present with a number of species closely related to T. bicarinatum. This fact led Bolton (1977, 1979, 1980) to the conclusion that the native range of T. bicarinatum is most probably in South East Asia, from which it was anthropogenically transferred to the rest of its actual, immense distribution range. This view is supported by several authors (McGlynn, 1999; Deyrup, 2000; Astruc et al, 2001) and we concur with this opinion.
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Heterick (2009) - Common in Perth gardens and with a wide distribution throughout Australia. The range for this species given by Brown and Taylor (1985) is probably understated; e.g. I have seen T . bicarinatum in Port Augusta, SA, although this State is not listed by the former authors. Unlike some other exotic myrmicines in Australia, this species does not seem to adversely affect the native ant fauna.
Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) - T. bicarinatum is almost surely not native to the Malagasy region and can be considered introduced. It is now a common species well-established in most of Eastern and Northern Madagascar, and also can be found in some tropical dry forest or gallery forest habitats in the western part of the country. It seems completely absent from the more arid Southwest and the High Plateau. In addition, T. bicarinatum can be commonly encountered on most of the surrounding islands, e.g. the Comoros, Mayotte, Seychelles, Reunion, and Mauritius.
A moderately common species occurring as far north and west as Walton county. Nests are usually in dead wood or hollow stems or under loose bark, usually at the edges of wet areas. This species is not particularly associated with disturbed habitats, and if it were not a notorious tropical tramp (Bolton 1979), one would never suspect from its ecology that this was an introduced species. Pest status: minor; known to occasionally enter houses, and is capable of stinging. First published Florida record: Emery 1895. (Deyrup, Davis & Cover, 2000.)
Additional images can be found on the species category page.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- bicarinatum. Myrmica bicarinata Nylander, 1846b: 1061 (w.q.) U.S.A. Forel, 1891b: 151 (m., misidentified as guineense); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1954d: 449 (l., misidentified as guineense); Wheeler, W.M. 1924c: 136 (gynandromorph, misidentified as guineense). Combination in Tetramorium: Mayr, 1862: 740; Bolton, 1977: 94. Junior synonym of Formica guineensis Fabricius, 1793: 357 (now in Pheidole): Mayr, 1862: 740. Revived from synonymy and senior synonym of cariniceps (and its junior synonym kollari), modesta Smith, reticulata: Bolton, 1977: 94. [Note. The names cariniceps, kollari and reticulata had previously been incorrectly synonymised with guineensis Fabricius by Roger, 1862c: 293; modesta Smith was wrongly synonymised with guineensis by Donisthorpe, 1932c: 463.] See also: Bolton, 1979: 164; Hita Garcia & Fisher, 2011: 18.
- cariniceps. Myrmica cariniceps Guérin-Méneville, 1852: 79 (w.) DOMINICA. Combination in Tetramorium: Roger, 1861b: 171. Senior synonym of kollari: Roger, 1861b: 171. Junior synonym of guineense: Roger, 1862c: 293; of bicarinatum: Bolton, 1977: 94.
- kollari. Myrmica kollari Mayr, 1853c: 283 (w.q.m.) AUSTRIA. Junior synonym of cariniceps: Roger, 1861b: 171.
- modesta. Myrmica modesta Smith, F. 1860b: 108 (w.) INDONESIA (Batjan I.). [Unresolved junior primary homonym of modesta Foerster, above.] Combination in Tetramorium: Donisthorpe, 1932c: 463. Junior synonym of guineense: Donisthorpe, 1932c: 463; of bicarinatum: Bolton, 1977: 94.
- reticulata. Myrmica reticulata Smith, F. 1862b: 33 (w.) PANAMA. Combination in Tetramorium: Mayr, 1862: 740. Junior synonym of guineense: Roger, 1862c: 293; of bicarinatum: Bolton, 1977: 94.
Three worker syntypes (2 on one card, 1 on another) in Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Labelled “Bac 19.”
Two other specimens, labelled “Gil. 13,” are also present.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
- Myrmica bicarinata: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s) (apparently lost), California, United States.
Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011 ) - HL 0.760–0.910 (0.848); HW 0.655–0.810 (0.740); SL 0.510–0.625 (0.575); EL 0.185–0.220 (0.201); PW 0.480–0.580 (0.532); WL 0.940–1.120 (1.037); PSL 0.175–0.240 (0.208); PTL 0.230–0.290 (0.262); PTH 0.260–0.330 (0.299); PTW 0.235–0.300 (0.264); PPL 0.220–0.280 (0.247); PPH 0.250–0.315 (0.292); PPW 0.295–0.365 (0.329); CI 85–89 (87); SI 75–80 (78); OI 26–28 (27); PSLI 22–26 (24); PeNI 46–52 (50); LPeI 84–93 (88); DPeI 96–106 (101); PpNI 59–66 (62); LPpI 81–91 (85); DPpI 128–139 (133); PPI 120–132 (124) (23 measured).
Head distinctly longer than wide (CI 85–89). Anterior clypeal margin with distinct median impression. Frontal carinae strongly developed, ending shortly before posterior head margin. Antennal scrobes weakly developed, narrow, shallow, and posterior and ventral margins never differentiated, as long as frontal carinae. Antennal scapes of moderate length, not reaching posterior margin of head (SI 75–80). Eyes relatively large (OI 26–28), with 11 to 14 ommatidia in longest row. Mesosomal outline dorsally flat, metanotal groove absent. Propodeal spines medium-sized to long (PSLI 22–26). Propodeal lobes small, triangular, and acute. Petiolar node rectangular nodiform, anterior and posterior faces roughly parallel, anterodorsal and posterodorsal angles at about same height, in dorsal view weakly longer than wide to weakly wider than long (DPeI 96–106), in lateral view higher than long (LPeI 84–93). Postpetiole in profile roughly rounded and higher than long (LPpI 81–91), in dorsal view distinctly wider than long (DPpI 128–139). Postpetiole in profile less voluminous than petiolar node, in dorsal view always distinctly wider than petiole (PPI 120–132). Mandibles distinctly longitudinally striate. Clypeus longitudinally rugose, usually with three strong rugae. Most of head with reticulate-rugose sculpturation, area between frontal carinae from posterior clypeal margin to posterior eye margin irregularly rugose with few cross-meshes; ground sculpturation on head weak and faint. Mesosoma and waist segments reticulate-rugose without ground sculpture. Gaster with basigastral costulae on the first tergite, remainder completely unsculptured, smooth, and shiny. All dorsal surfaces of head, mesosoma, waist segments, and gaster with numerous long, standing hairs; hairs on antennal scapes and tibiae appressed to suberect. Head, mesosoma, waist segments, and legs yellowish orange to orange brown, gaster always much darker, usually dark brown to blackish brown.
Hita Garcia and Fisher (2011) -
Syntype workers, queen, U.S.A., California, 1840 [types lost, see Bolton 1977:94].
Myrmica cariniceps Holotype worker, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, Santo Domingo Island, 19.IV.1850, (A. Salle) (ZSM) [examined].
Myrmica kollari Syntype workers, queen, male, AUSTRIA, Vienna, in hothouses in botanical gardens (NMW) [examined].
Myrmica modesta Syntype workers, INDONESIA, Batjan Island, (A.R. Wallace) (OUMNH) [examined].
Myrmica reticulata Syntype workers, PANAMA, (R.W. Stretch) and UNITED KINGDOM, England, Exeter, botanic gardens, (Parfitt) (BMNH) [examined].
- Agavekar, G., Hita Garcia, F., Economo, E.P. 2017. Taxonomic overview of the hyperdiverse ant genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in India with descriptions and X-ray microtomography of two new species from the Andaman Islands. PeerJ 5:e3800 (DOI 10.7717/peerj.3800).
- Bharti, H. & Kumar, R. 2012. Taxonomic studies on genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) with report of two new species and three new records including a tramp species from India with a revised key. ZooKeys. 207:11-35. doi:10.3897/zookeys.207.3040
- Bolton, B. 1977. The ant tribe Tetramoriini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The genus Tetramorium Mayr in the Oriental and Indo-Australian regions, and in Australia. Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 36:67-151. PDF (page 94, Revived from synonymy, combination in Tetramorium, and senior synonym of cariniceps (and its junior synonym kollari), modesta Smith and reticulata Bolton)
- Bolton, B. 1979. The ant tribe Tetramoriini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The genus Tetramorium Mayr in the Malagasy region and in the New World. Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 38: 129-181 (page 164, see also)
- Bolton, B. 1980. The ant tribe Tetramoriini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The genus Tetramorium Mayr in the Ethiopian zoogeographical region. Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 40: 193-384 (see also)
- Deyrup, M., Davis, L. & Cover, S. 2000. Exotic ants in Florida. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 126, 293-325.
- Fabricius, J. C. 1793. Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta. Secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonimis, locis observationibus, descriptionibus. Tome 2. Hafniae [= Copenhagen]: C. G. Proft, 519 pp. (page 357, Junior synonym of Formica guinensis)
- Forel, A. 1891c. Les Formicides. [part]. In: Grandidier, A. Histoire physique, naturelle, et politique de Madagascar. Volume XX. Histoire naturelle des Hyménoptères. Deuxième partie (28e fascicule). Paris: Hachette et Cie, v + 237 pp. (page 151, male described)
- Hita Garcia, F. and B.L Fisher. 2011. The ant genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Malagasy region—introduction, definition of species groups, and revision of the T. bicarinatum, T. obesum, T. sericeiventre and T. tosii species groups. Zootaxa 3039:1-72.
- Gomez, K. 2017. Two species of exotic ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) new to Malta. Boletín de la Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa 61: 233–235.
- Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 740, Combination in Tetramorium)
- Nylander, W. 1846b. Additamentum adnotationum in monographiam formicarum borealium Europae. Acta Soc. Sci. Fenn. 2 2: 1041-1062 (page 1061, worker, queen described)
- Wetterer, J.K. 2009. Worldwide spread of the Penny Ant, Tetramorium bicarinatum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 54: 811-830.
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1954d. The ant larvae of the myrmicine tribes Meranoplini, Ochetomyrmicini and Tetramoriini. Am. Midl. Nat. 52: 443-452 (page 449, larva described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1924d. A gynandromorph of Tetramorium guineense Fabr. Psyche (Camb.) 31: 136-137 (page 136, gynandromorph)