Elongate Twig Ant

Pseudomyrmex gracilis


Foraging Characteristics: Large, slender, solitary ant often seen on vegetation.  Almost wasp-like in appearance and movement (quick, short dashes).  Bicolored, head and gaster dark (mauve to black), rest of body with dull orange and dark shading.  Large, oval eyes.  Darts quickly around branches if collection is attempted.  Other smaller yellow or blackish Pseudomyrmex species occur in Florida.  

Nest Sites & Characteristics:  Single queen per nest.  Nests are small and contain few individuals.  Nest in hollow twigs and dried grasses barely wide enough for two or three ants to pass one another.  Single small entrance.  Often nests high up in large trees. Ants usually encountered by gardeners while pruning or trimming shrubs and trees. Sting can be painful.

Most Common Complaints: Ants may fall out of trees and other plants onto people and sting when trapped between clothing and skin, or when brushed off skin. Seldom found inside home, and colonies are usually inaccessible.  Control is usually unnecessary and impractical.

Flight Season: March, May to November.  Alates usually not seen.

Distribution: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Dade, De Soto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jackson, Lake, Lee, Martin, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, and Volusia Counties.

Diet:  Hunt live insects and collect honeydew from sap-sucking insects.

Detailed Description: 8-10 mm long (5/16-2/5 in), bicolored. Two-segmented petiole.  Twelve-segmented antennae. Scattered erect hairs on head and body.  Subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae.

Origin: Mexico.