Turtle Ants

Official Name

Cephalotes

Size

3 -16 mm

Color

Brownish to Dark Brownish or Black

Geographical Location

Subtropical United States

Common Household Location

Kitchen, Floor, Pantry and Outdoors

Identifying Characteristics

  • A member of the pallens clade characterised by the following apomorphies: in the worker propodeal sides unarmed or with a narrow membranaceous margin medially denticulate, in the soldier and in the gyne by the combination of head disc with foveae contiguous each other, in the soldier by the outer face of the hind femora superficially carinate, by the head longer than broad, and, in the gyne, by the petiole and postpetiole without or with reduced lateral expansions.

Official Name

Cephalotes

Size

3 -16 mm

Color

Brownish to Dark Brownish or Black

Geographical Location

Subtropical United States

Common Household Location

Kitchen, Floor, Pantry and Outdoors

Identifying Characteristics

  • A member of the pallens clade characterised by the following apomorphies: in the worker propodeal sides unarmed or with a narrow membranaceous margin medially denticulate, in the soldier and in the gyne by the combination of head disc with foveae contiguous each other, in the soldier by the outer face of the hind femora superficially carinate, by the head longer than broad, and, in the gyne, by the petiole and postpetiole without or with reduced lateral expansions.

Notes

Cephalotes is a broad genus of ants. They are heavily armored – it makes you wonder just how formidable they would look if they were the same size as us. The amazing thing about many of them is the large flat head, which they often use as a barrier when threatened. The ants live in trees in the forest areas of the new world tropics and the subtropics. Some of the winged Cephalotes species can even glide back to the tree if they are knocked from it.

Most of them are what is known as polymorphic which means that they have various castes that have a specific use and purpose in the colony. One of the most common species of Cephalotes is the Turtle Ant. It is unknown why this particular ant has wings. Perhaps it aids in the formation of new colonies by allowing them to move rapidly.