Singapore ant

bites
 

harms people
 

harms wildlife 
 

lives in trees
 

lives on ground
 

night active
 

day active
 

different sizes

Scientific name: Trichomyrmex destructor, until recently known as Monomorium destructor

Other common names: destroyer ant; ninja ant

Size: 1.8-3.5 mm

Colour:  light yellow to dull brownish yellow with dark abdomen.

General description: workers come in a large range of sizes (polymorphic). The body of this ant appears shiny and the abdomen is always darker in colour than the rest of the body.

Habitat and nesting: the Singapore ant is a ground or tree dwelling species found in disturbed or modified habitats often near water. The ant may nest in wall and roof cavities in urban areas as well and is known to invade electrical sockets in houses. Outside, the ant may nest in pot plants and in standing trees including coconut plantations.

Rate of spread: unknown.

Distribution: see our invasive ant distributions page for the worldwide distribution of the Singapore ant.

Reproduction: budding, but with potential for winged dispersal.

For a detailed description of Singapore atns:

PIAkey: Trichomyrmex destructor (see diagnostic characters tab)

AntWeb: Trichomyrmex destructor

Social, agricultural and environmental impacts of the Singapore ant

This ant is a significant household pest in some places. It is known to infest houses, attack and bite people in bed and get into food products.

The Singapore ant can cause extensive economic damage, for example, it chews holes though fabric and rubber goods, removes rubber insulation from electric cables and phone lines, damages polyethylene cable, and shorts out car ignitions in vehicles parked in infested areas over night.

They may also carry human diseases.

It displaces other ant and invertebrate fauna where it occurs.

 

A close-up of a Singapore ant worker (© Eli Sarnat, Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike CC BY-SA License)

Singapore ants foraging (© Eli Sarnat, Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike CC BY-SA License)

Singapore ants foraging on peanut butter (© Eli Sarnat, Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike CC BY-SA License) 
 

Video of Singapore ants foraging on peanut butter in Fiji, Vimeo video (© Eli Sarnat, Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike CC BY-SA License)

Information sources

AntWiki, Singapore ant

Biosecurity New Zealand Invasive Ant Threat Information Sheet number 10, Singapore ant

Global Invasive Species Database (GISD)

Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species (GRIIS)

PIAkey, Singapore ant

Content reviewed by Eli Sarnat June 2017

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