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Extant: 6 valid subspecies
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.
|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|
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, 87 times found in dry grassland, 85 times found in Anthropogenic, 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, 24 times found in Rocks (rocky-calcareous grasslands), 14 times found in oak forest, loam soil, nest under medium stone, brood in nest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 4 times under stone, 4 times in house, 3 times ground nest, 3 times grassy mound, 1 times ex grass covered mound, 2 times under rock, 1 times in modern high rise building 21st floor, 2 times flat tile in clay soil, 2 times city pavement, 2 times beach sand around marsh, 1 times window frame, pile of sawdust noted, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 345 times pitfall trap, 135 times Manual catch, 0 times Vienna sausage bait, 0 times pitfall trap, 14 hour, nite, 16 times Malaise trap, 9 times search, 5 times Color trap, 5 times Hand, 4 times light trap, 2 times Pyramid trap, 2 times Window trap, ...
Elevations: collected from 26 - 2250 meters, 1080 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