Ant identification: January 2012 Archives


I was just wondering if you knew what type of ants these critters are? I live in Florida if that helps.

K. Brown






These appear to be ghost ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum), a notorious so-called "tramp" species that is well-established in Florida. The species epithet melanocephalum literally means "brown head", owing to its distinctive bicoloration. Here is a previous post that addresses the role of ghost ants as pests in the home and also provides links to a number of articles that can tell you more about the appearance and ecology of this species.


Alexandra Westrich & the AntAsk Team

My 3 year old daughter found this insect on her bicycle
from Santa in Chile. I have contacted some local entomologists but this
specimen may be introduced. so, a more experienced entomologist may be
needed. My wife found your website and since you work with such a high
number of species, you may have a better understanding of what this
specimen may be or where to look.

It looks and behaves as an ant, but its head (rostrum) is quite
different as you will see. Any idea?




Dear Gian,

The insect that your daughter found looks a lot like an ant, but as you noticed, its head and mouthparts give it away as another type of insect mimicking an ant. All ants have mandibles that they can use for chewing in one way or another but this insect appears to have piercing mouthparts and is likely a member of a hemipteran group that look a lot like ants. We have several posts on ant mimics here, here, here, and here that you might find interesting.

Thanks for your question,
Ben Rubin & the AntAsk Team

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