Temnothorax americanus

Temnothorax americanus is a species of slave-maker ant in the genus Temnothorax. The ants are 2–3 mm in size, and endemic to the northeastern United States and adjacent Canadian regions.[1] They do not forage for food, but instead 'scout workers' from the colony seek out nearby host colonies of ants, steal larvae and bring them back to their own colony. A small T. americanus colony could consist of a queen, two to five workers and thirty to sixty slaves.[2]

Temnothorax americanus
Protomognathus americanus casent0003235 profile 1.jpg
Temnothorax americanus worker
Scientific classification
T. americanus
Binomial name
Temnothorax americanus
(Emery, 1895)

In a study published in Animal Behaviour, researchers showed that T. americanus scouts target stronger colonies over weaker ones to steal larvae from.[2][3]

It was formerly placed as the sole member of the genus Protomognathus.[4]


  1. ^ a b Social Insects Specialist Group 1996. Protomognathus americanus. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 10 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b Davies, Davies (8 November 2010). "Slave-making ants target the strong not the weak". BBC News. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  3. ^ Pohl, Sebastian; Foitzik, Susanne (2011). "Slave-making ants prefer larger, better defended host colonies". Animal Behaviour. 81 (1): 61–68. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.09.006.
  4. ^ Ward, Philip S.; Brady, Sean G.; Fisher, Brian L.; Schultz, Ted R. (2015). "The evolution of myrmicine ants: phylogeny and biogeography of a hyperdiverse ant clade (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)". Systematic Entomology. 40 (1): 61–81. doi:10.1111/syen.12090. ISSN 1365-3113.

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