Tetramorium immigrans

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Tetramorium immigrans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Tetramorium
Species: T. immigrans
Binomial name
Tetramorium immigrans
Santschi, 1927

Tetramorium immigrans F19b-c.jpg

Common Name
Pavement Ant
Language: English

More thermophilic than all species except Tetramorium hungaricum, Tetramorium breviscapus, and Tetramorium fusciclava; TAS of 201 sites 19.9 ± 2.5 °C [13.0, 26.7]. In France and partially Central Europe synanthropic: roadsides, ruderal areas, parks, gardens, pavements, railway constructions, stone pits, balconies, inside of buildings. In Pannonian zone, Mediterranean, and Caucasus most common species in anthropogenic areas, but also primary habitats like semi-arid and arid grasslands, rocky and sandy grasslands, beaches, river banks, rock walls. Bulgarian records from forests. Nests often between cracks of concrete, asphalt, rocks, as well as under stones; small soil mounds exist. In Greece, this species was noted from most provinces except Cyclades and Epirus. It is known almost exclusively from anthropogenic habitats, urban grasses, parks, and tourist resorts. Only in one site from Crete, it was collected from natural habitat (Borowiec & Salata, 2021).

At a Glance • Invasive  

Photo Gallery

  • Tetramorium-caespitum 7877.jpg


A member of the Tetramorium caespitum complex. The species can be determined with a discriminant analysis of a set of morphological measurements. See Wagner et al. (2017) and https://webapp.uibk.ac.at/ecology/tetramorium/


Wagner et al. (2017) - Mediterranean, Western Europe, Central Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Anatolia, Caucasus, introduced to North (Steiner & al. 2008) and South America (Santschi 1927).

This is a tramp species of subcosmopolitic distribution. In Greece, it was noted from most provinces except Cyclades and Epirus (Borowiec et al., 2022).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 51.725° to 35.1167°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Chile (type locality).
Palaearctic Region: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Turkey.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


In North America, this species is a common indoor pest in eastern North America, especially near the coast. Nests are frequently located under building foundations and workers forage for food inside. Once a food source is located, mass recruitment occurs along a well defined odor trail. Commonly known as "pavement" ants this species is often seen in late spring and early summer out on sidewalks in huge battles with neighboring colonies. Baits can be very effective in eliminating colonies within structures. In nature, colonies are often found nesting in soil under stones and the eastern subterranean termite is a common prey.

Adult sexuals on 27 June ± 39d [17 March, 29 September] (n = 16). Tetramorium atratulum was found in a nest of Tetramorium immigrans (Wagner et al. 2017).

Hybridizes with Tetramorium caespitum (Wagner et al. 2017; Cordonnier et al. 2019; Cordonnier et al. 2020).

M.R. Smith (1956) - Nests are usually constructed in exposed soil, or under the cover of stones, pavement, or other objects, and in rotting wood ... also in houses, most commonly around or between the lower masonry walls of the foundation .... Colonies are moderately large to large .... The ants are almost omnivorous and feed on both dead and live insects, honeydew, seeds, the sap of plants, and various household foods such as meats, grease, nuts, potato chips, cheese, honey and bread, but the ants seem to show a preference for meat or grease. Workers steal seeds from seed beds and girdle, scar, or scarify the roots or stems of many agricultural plants.

Sano et al. (2018) characterized the cuticular hydrocarbons of this species. They also showed that workers use cuticular hydrocarbon profiles to recognize non-nestmate conspecific and heterospecfic workers.

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
  • This species is a host for the ant Tetramorium aspina in Turkey (Wagner et al., 2018).


  • This species is a host for the fungus Myrmicinosporidium durum (a pathogen) in Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia (Csősz et al., 2012).


Images from AntWeb

Tetramorium caespitum casent0005827 head 1.jpgTetramorium caespitum casent0005827 profile 1.jpgTetramorium caespitum casent0005827 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium caespitum casent0005827 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0005827. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by UCDC, Davis, CA, USA.
Tetramorium caespitum casent0106026 head 1.jpgTetramorium caespitum casent0106026 profile 1.jpgTetramorium caespitum casent0106026 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium caespitum casent0106026 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0106026. Photographer Michael Branstetter, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by UCDC, Davis, CA, USA.

TetramoriumEconomo-header (arilab.unit.oist.jp).png  X-ray micro-CT scan 3D model of Tetramorium immigrans (worker) prepared by the Economo lab at OIST.

Tetramorium immigrans. Pavement ant native from Europe but introduced pest ant in the United States. Collected in San Francisco (located at OIST: CASENT0317570). See on Sketchfab. See list of 3D images.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • immigrans. Tetramorium caespitum var. immigrans Santschi, 1927a: 54 (w.) CHILE.
    • Junior synonym of caespitum: Bolton, 1979: 171; Radchenko, 2016: 244.
    • Status as species: Wagner, et al. 2017: 120 (redescription).

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



Wagner et al. (2017) - Lectotype in μm: CL = 914, CW = 912, dAN = 246, EL = 183, EW = 142, FL = 355, HFL = 783, MC1TG = 25.1, ML = 1100, MPPL = 318, MPSP = 427, MPST = 236, MtpW = 461, MW = 592, PEH = 313, PEL = 218, PEW = 310, PLSP = 223, PLST = 243, PnHL = 238, PoOc = 363, POTCos = 12, PPH = 343, PPL = 144, Ppss = 68, PPW = 379, PreOc = 223, RTI = 359, SLd = 727, SPST = 213, SPWI = 289.

Largest species of complex, CS = 834 ± 56 [713, 943] μm. Dark brown to blackish, rarely reddish.

Head moderately elongate, CL / CW = 1.012 ± 0.013 [0.985, 1.035]. Eye medium-sized, EYE / CS = 0.176 ± 0.004 [0.167, 0.189]. Scape long, SLd / CS = 0.784 ± 0.014 [0.755, 0.817]. Mesosoma moderately long and narrow, ML / CS = 1.158 ± 0.020 [1.109, 1.201], MW / CS = 0.629 ± 0.012 [0.605, 0.649].

Promesonotal dorsum convex, metanotal groove shallow. – Head dorsum and occiput with longitudinal costae and costulae. Postoculo-temporal area of head with highest number of costae and costulae in complex, POTCos = 12.33 ± 1.67 [8.25, 16.13]. Mesosoma dorsum longitudinally rugulose, lateral side of propodeum with pronounced sculpture, Ppss = 30.5 ± 14.5 [13.6, 63.3]. Dorsum of petiolar with sculpture, reticulate microsculpture, or smooth. General surface appearance rather dull. – Connected stickman-like or reticulate microsculpture: large units scattered over 1st gastral tergite, MC1TG = 21.67 ± 2.68 [16.07, 27.00]. – Some workers with long c-shaped, crinkly, or sinuous hairs on ventral head posterior to buccal cavity.


Wagner et al. (2017) - Paramere structure belongs to caespitum-like form: ventral paramere lobe with one or two sharp corners; without distinct emargination between paramere lobes in posterior view, both paramere lobes reduced in size. In ventro-posterior view, second corner on ventral paramere lobe > 87 μm apart from first. In posterior view, two corners on ventral lobe.

Type Material

Wagner et al. (2017) - Valparaíso (Chile), 33.05° S, 71.61° W, 18 m, leg. Edwards, 1926. Lectotype designation. Worker of middle card closer to needle than second worker, labeled "TYPE [–] "Chili Valparaiso, Miss Edwards" [–] "Tetramorium caespitum L immigrans Sant". SANTSCHI det. 19 "26" [–] Sammlung Dr. F. Santschi Kairouan", designated as lectotype. Lectotype worker and seven paralectotype workers in Naturhistorisches Museum Basel (Switzerland).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Lenoir A., and C. Galkowski. 2017. Sur la présence d’une fourmi envahissante (Tapinoma magnum) dans le Sud-Ouest de la France. Bull. Soc. Linn. Bordeaux 152, 45(4): 449-453.
  • Salata S., and L. Borowiec. 2018. Taxonomic and faunistic notes on Greek ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom Entomology 27: 1-51.
  • Salata S., and L. Borowiec. 2019. Comments to distribution of several Greek Tetramorium Mayr, 1855 species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom Entomology 28(2): 1-9.
  • Salata S., and L. Borowiec. 2019. Preliminary division of not socially parasitic Greek Temnothorax Mayr, 1861 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) with a description of three new species. ZooKeys 877: 81-131.
  • Schar S., G Talavera, X. Espadaler, J. D. Rana, A. A. Andersen, S. P. Cover, and R. Vila. 2018. Do Holarctic ant species exist? Trans-Beringian dispersal and homoplasy in the Formicidae. Journal of Biogeography 00: 1-12.
  • Wagner H. C., W. Arthofer, B. Seifert, C. Muster, F. M. Steiner, and B. C. Schlick-Steiner. 2017. Light at the end of the tunnel: Integrative taxonomy delimits cryptic species in the Tetramorium caespitum complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 25: 95-129.