Scientific Name: Pseudomyrmex gracilis
Common Names: Elongate twig ants, twig ants, mexican twig ants
Native to: Texas, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. (There are no records in Chile but it is likely to be native there too)
Dubious in (Unsure if in): Chihuahua, Sonora, and Sinaloa. (Northeastern Mexico) & West Bengal (Bangladesh)
Invasive to: Hawaii, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), Lesser Antilles, & Trinidad and Tobago. Likely to be invasive to Georgia state as well.
Indoor Introduced to: California, and United Kingdom.
Queen size: ~11 mm
Worker size: ~9 mm
Male size: ~11 mm
Natural Habitat: Tight spaces. Twigs, oak galls, rotting wood, extremely rarely inside homes.
Circadian Activity: Very diurnal. Rarely are out at night unless they are dealing with prey. Once the colony gets larger, they will start to actively forage during the day and night.
Mating Flight: Mating happens from March - November. Mostly found from May - August.
Queen Founding Method: Semi-Claustral
Monogyne or Polygyne: Extremely monogyne, they do not tolerate multiple fertile queens in their nest.
Average time from egg to worker: Egg to Larva - ~5 days, Larva to Pupa - ~25 days, Pupa to Worker - ~10 days
Recommended Temperature: These ants love heat. Their room is around 73° F, or about 22.7° C. I keep half of their nest at around 80° F, or 26.6° C. Keep in mind that the entire nest should not be heated like that, or moisture will evaporate everywhere.
Recommended Humidity: Pseudomyrmex gracilis hate moisture. When keeping them in a Mini-Hearth Type III (Recommended Nest), do not put any water in the water tower, but filling the Nestmate is fine as long as the heat source is not on its side of the nest.
Preferred Foods: Offer a constant supply of honey, and always cut up protein other than fruit flies.
They eat: Honey, Spiders, Crickets, Fruit flies, and Apples.
Hibernation Details: These are pretty tropical ants, so they do not hibernate. They may slow down brood production during colder months, but foraging and egg laying will not stop.
Escape Barrier Methods: Fluon (PTFE). This is the only barrier that I know of that keeps them contained. These ants are escape artists, so their outworlds always need an air tight lid.
Difficulty rating: 8/10. Reasons for this rating:
• Semi-Claustral queens
• Queens usually almost immediately find a place to found their colony, and usually aren’t wandering
• Very good escape artists (Airtight lidded outworld w/ Fluon REQUIRED)
• Queens are difficult to distinguish from workers
• This species’ stings can be pretty painful.
Bite and/or Sting rating: ~5/10. This species bites and stings. They usually bite before following up with a sting. Even if they fall on you, they take a few seconds before they even try to sting you. If you are intentionally aggravating their nest(s), you’re just asking to be stung. Bites don’t really hurt. Stings can be quite painful, but are not on Myrmecia or Paraponera clavata level of pain.
Special Care or Interesting Notes:
• These ants have excellent vision, and can detect you from multiple feet away.
• Most likely able to chew through Ytong.
• They hate airflow, if you want to move them create airflow in the undesirable area.
• They are heat lovers, but don’t scorch them alive.
• Keep half of nest heated, and the other half of the nest & outworld at room temperature.
• The outworld needs to be quite large, as they are solo foragers.
• The outworld needs to have Fluon (PTFE) applied, and have an air tight lid. TarheelAnts' "Premium Desert Scene" or The Container Store's "Narrow Stackable Rectangle Clear" both work fantastic.
• I find the best setup is an airtight outworld connected via tubing to a Mini-Hearth Type III.
• If the colony’s alates fail to fly, the males will die or be eaten, and the queen alates will get their wings ripped off and act as workers or killed.
• They much prefer dead protein sources, except for fruit flies once the colony is big. Feed fruit flies dead until they get around 20 workers.
• The queen will often be elected as the only replete in the colony, workers like to give her lots of honey/other sweets. This can also make her easily identifiable when the colony starts growing quickly.
Edited by Ants_Texas, July 29 2018 - 11:05 AM.