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This species is a pantropical tramp that is easily dispersed by human activity. They are a common pest ant in houses and seem peculiarly adapted to the interior and immediate vicinity of human habitations (Fig. 1). In Costa Rica I have collected them in the town squares of Liberia and Sierpe, city parks in San JosŽ, around the buildings at Finca La Pacifica, beach margins of Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and in the dining hall of La Selva Biological Station. At La Selva, where intensive surveys of the ant fauna have been carried out, I have never collected P. longicornis beyond the confines of the dining hall.
The workers are very generalized scavengers, very quickly recruiting to food scraps in houses.
On two occasions, once at Discovery Bay Marine Lab in Jamaica and once on the steps of the La Selva dining hall, I have seen massive emergences of P. longicornis colonies (Fig. 2). I do not know what caused these evacuations, but the visual effect was stunning. In each case many square meters were covered with a coruscating layer of workers. The workers formed a closely spaced monolayer. Many of the workers were carrying brood, and many dealate queens were scattered amongst the workers. When undisturbed the ants were more or less stationary, but shining a light on them or blowing on them caused ripples and waves of movement.
There is a large literature on the biology of P. longicornis. A search for "Paratrechina longicornis" in the 2001 version of Formis, a database of ant literature, yielded 271 references.
|Paratrechina longicornis||Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 29, (download)||29||21367|
|Paratrechina longicornis||Paknia, O., Radchenko, A. & Alipanah, H., 2008, A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Iran., Myrmecologische Nachrichten 11, pp. 151-159: 155, (download)||155||21820|
|Paratrechina longicornis||Espadaler, X., 2007, The ants of El Hierro (Canary Islands)., Advances in ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage to E. O. Wilson - 50 years of contributions., Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 80, pp. 113-127: 121, (download)||121||21278|
|Paratrechina longicornis||Ward, P. S., 2005, A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 936, pp. 1-68: -1, (download)||-1||21008|
Found most commonly in these habitats: 99 times found in urban/garden, 36 times found in coastal scrub, 38 times found in dry forest, 24 times found in urban garden, 25 times found in open secondary vegetation, 14 times found in degraded dry forest, 17 times found in rainforest, 17 times found in 2º lowland rainforest, 15 times found in Degraded dry forest on tsingy, 4 times found in savannah shrubland, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 112 times on low vegetation, 86 times ground forager(s), 26 times under stone, 41 times ex soil, 21 times sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), 27 times ground forager, 19 times ex rotten log, 18 times ex sifted leaf litter, 16 times at bait, 12 times ground nest, 1 times ex rot pokcet above ground, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 37 times Hand, 30 times search, 27 times hand collection, 15 times Beating, 16 times hand collecting, 24 times beatting, 20 times malaise, 5 times water traps, 13 times hand collected|aspirator>bait trap|peanut butter, 16 times Baiting, 13 times hand collected|aspirator>bait trap|peanut butter, maple syrup, ...
Elevations: collected from 1 - 1850 meters, 158 meters average