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Species: Tetramorium caespitum   (Linnaeus, 1758) 

Download Data

See Also:

Tetramorium caespitum_cf, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr01, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr02, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr03, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr04, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr06, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr07, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr10, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr11, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr21, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr22, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr23, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr24, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr25, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr26, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_gr27, Tetramorium caespitum_cf_spe, Tetramorium caespitum barabense, Tetramorium caespitum caespitomoravicum, Tetramorium caespitum flavidulum, Tetramorium caespitum japonicum, Tetramorium caespitum pallidum, Tetramorium caespitum typicum

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2019)

Extant: 6 valid subspecies

Formica caespitum Linnaeus, 1758 PDF: 581 (w.) EUROPE. Palearctic. Secondary type information: Wagner et al., 2017 PDF: 114: Type locality. Floghult Bohuslan (Sweden), 58.97° N, 11.42° E, 100 m a.s.l., leg. C.A. Collingwood, 21.VI. 2000. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Latreille, 1798 PDF: 50 (q.m.); Mayr, 1861 PDF: 62 (q.m.); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1954d PDF: 445 (l.); Hauschteck, 1961 PDF: 221 (k.); Imai, 1966b PDF: 119 (k.).
Combination Manica: Jurine, 1807 PDF: 279; in Tetramorium: Mayr, 1855 PDF: 426.
, Radchenko, 2007 PDF: 31; of Tetramorium modesta [missing reference] Foerster, [no year]: Curtis, 1854: 215; Mayr, 1855 PDF: 426; of Tetramorium fusca: Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 132; of Tetramorium transversinodis: Brown, 1949a PDF: 47; of Tetramorium immigrans: Bolton, 1979 PDF: 171; of Tetramorium himalayanum, Tetramorium indocile, Tetramorium transbaicalense: Radchenko, 1992b PDF: 50; of Tetramorium hammi: Bolton, 1995b: 405; of Tetramorium jiangxiense: Wu & Wang, 1995a: 82; of Tetramorium fusciclavum: Sanetra et al., 1999 PDF: 320.


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Africa: Kenya
    Americas: Canada, United States
    Asia: China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia
    Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Afrotropical, Indomalaya, Nearctic, Palearctic
  Native to (according to species list records):
    Palearctic bioregion

Distribution Notes:

Holarctic, America to Japan, North Africa to North Europe including British Isles


Prefers grassland, especially steppe and rock steppe, also urban. Nests in soil, under rocks and in small loam hills.

Observation by J. Longino, 22 Mar 2012. This observation relates to whichever cryptic species of this complex inhabits Salt Lake City, Utah. The city has massive battles on the sidewalks. The first warm day of the season, above 15C, was on 15 Mar and I saw the first battle. Sometimes these battles seem to be a matter of grappling only, with very few casualties. But today was different. At 6:00pm I saw a mass of workers on the sidewalk. They were in a roughly circular patch over a sidewalk crack, a dense mass of grappling workers several ants deep, the circular mass around 20cm dia. A column of workers extended from the mass, about 1.5m long, through the grass at the side of the sidewalk to another crack. I returned at 7:30pm and found a triangular patch of more thinly spread workers, in an area of about 400 square cm. There was a low density of live workers, but most of the layer was dead workers, most of them dismembered. I counted the number of dead workers in a 2x2cm patch, got 60 workers, an estimated 6000 dead workers in the patch.


By James Trager:  This is the famous pavement ant, long known as T. caespitum. It is a very common, yet apparently undescribed component of the urban ant fauna of Europe, North America and temperate Argentina. Tetramorium sp. E also occurs in xeric, sandy or rocky natural areas. It is host to three famous parasitic ant genera, Harpagoxenus, Anergates, Teleutomyrmex; these ranging from dulotic grading into inquilinous with workers, to workerless inquilinous, to ectoparasitic(!), respectively. The diet consists of any sort of dead animal matter and seeds, with occasional honeydew-gathering. Tetramorium sp. E has been displaced in some Missouri locations in recent decades, especially in the St. Louis region and adjacent portions of Illinois, by T. tsushimae. 



Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Tetramorium caespitum   Güsten, R., Schulz, A. & Sanetra, M., 2006, Redescription of Tetramorium forte Forel, 1904 (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a western Mediterranean ant species., Zootaxa 1310, pp. 1-35: 27, (download) 27 21095
Tetramorium caespitum   Forel, A., 1904, Note sur les fourmis du Musée Zoologique de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences à St. Pétersbourg., Yezhegodnik Zoologicheskogo Muzeya Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk 8, pp. 368-388: 4, (download) 4 3994
Tetramorium caespitum   Bolton, B., 1979, The ant tribe Tetramoriini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The genus Tetramorium Mayr in the Malagasy region and in the New World., Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology 38, pp. 129-181: 171, (download) 171 6435
Tetramorium caespitum   Güsten, R., Schulz, A. & Sanetra, M., 2006, Redescription of Tetramorium forte Forel, 1904 (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a western Mediterranean ant species., Zootaxa 1310, pp. 1-35: 28, (download) 28 21095
Tetramorium caespitum   Collingwood, C. A., 1979, The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark., Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 8, pp. 1-174: 84-85, (download) 84-85 6175
Tetramorium caespitum   Mayr, G., 1862, Myrmecologische Studien., Verhandlungen der Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 12, pp. 649-776: 740, (download) 740 4445
Tetramorium caespitum   Emery, C., 1893, Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud aux iles Canaries. Formicides., Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 62, pp. 81-88: 84, (download) 84 3764
Tetramorium caespitum   Güsten, R., Schulz, A. & Sanetra, M., 2006, Redescription of Tetramorium forte Forel, 1904 (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae), a western Mediterranean ant species., Zootaxa 1310, pp. 1-35: 29, (download) 29 21095
Tetramorium caespitum   Forel, A., 1890, Fourmis de Tunisie et de l'Algérie orientale., Annales de la Societe Entomologique de Belgique, Comptes-rendus des Seances 34, pp. 61-76: 75, (download) 75 3926
Tetramorium caespitum   Ward, P. S., 2005, A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 936, pp. 1-68: -1, (download) -1 21008
Tetramorium caespitum   Emery, C., 1884, Materiali per lo studio della fauna Tunisina raccolti da G. e L. Doria. III. Rassegna delle formiche della Tunisia., Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria (Genova) 21, pp. 373-386: 380, (download) 380 3743

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 246 times found in Unknown, 199 times found in heathlands, 0 times found in mixed oak forest, rocky loam soil, nest in soil, brood in nest, 88 times found in anthropogenic, 87 times found in dry grassland, 0 times found in sagebrush, cheek grass, light brown, fine, sandy clay, after 1 hour, 31 times found in dunes & inland dunes, 29 times found in Forest, 14 times found in oak forest, loam soil, nest under medium stone, brood in nest, 24 times found in Rocks (rocky-calcareous grasslands), ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 5 times under stone, 4 times in house, 4 times on road, 3 times soil mound, 3 times ground nest, 3 times grassy mound, 1 times ex grass covered mound, 2 times beach sand around marsh, 1 times in modern high rise building 21st floor, 2 times flat tile in clay soil, 2 times under rock, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 345 times pitfall trap, 135 times Manual catch, 0 times Vienna sausage bait, 31 times search, 0 times pitfall trap, 14 hour, nite, 16 times Malaise trap, 5 times Color trap, 5 times Hand, 4 times light trap, 2 times Pyramid trap, 2 times Window trap, ...

Elevations: collected from 1 - 2250 meters, 693 meters average

Type specimens: cotype of Tetramorium caespitum: casent0917265; Holotype: casent0741035, casent0741036, casent0741037; neotype of Formica caespitum: casent0919632; syntype of Teramorium caespitum himalayana: casent0917058, casent0917059, casent0917060; syntype of Tetramorium caespitum fusciclava: antweb1008487; syntype of Tetramorium caespitum hammi: casent0901252; syntype of Tetramorium caespitum himalayanum: casent0913996; syntype of Tetramorium caespitum himalayanum: casent0904814; type of Tetramorium caespitum subsp. himalayanum: focol0193, focol0194, focol0195, focol0196, focol0200, focol0201, focol2021, focol2107, focol2018-1, focol2018-2, focol2019-1, focol2019-2, focol2020-1, focol2020-2

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