Life Cycle of Bigheaded Ants

Invasive species Pheidole megacephala is one of the most common. Seeds are eaten as food, affecting agriculture, and electrical and telephone cables are chewed during home invasions, resulting in direct damage. The ants’ association with aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and whiteflies causes indirect damage. They eat the honeydew produced by these pests and protect them from their natural predators, resulting in an increase in pest populations. Sooty mold colonies feed on the honeydew excreted from these insects, turning leaves black and preventing photosynthesis.

In tropical and subtropical countries, big-headed ants prefer disturbed habitats, such as agricultural and urban areas, but they also invade rainforests. There is a loss of biodiversity after the colony is established.

There are more than 200 eggs laid by queens in the colony every month. The male dies after mating. Worker skin varies in color from a light yellow to a dark brown shade. There are “major” and “minor” types. As you can see in the photos, the major workers have large heads, while the minor workers have heads of normal size. The queen and the brood (larvae and pupae) are the primary responsibilities of minor workers.

During the course of their foraging activities, these ants frequently construct soil tubes.

Insects and their eggs, as well as small lizards and birds, are also eaten by the ants. They’ll scavenge just about anything.

These ants are spread by ‘budding,’ in which workers, larvae and pupae, and fertile queens move from an existing colony to establish new nests nearby in various places such as under wood or in crevices in the bark of trees or in leaf litter on streets or in the walls of buildings. As long as fertile queens, minor workers, and pupae are present, dispersal over long distances beyond the borders of a colony is associated with traded goods. The newly-hatched larvae rely on the help of the minor workers.

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