Odorous house ant, SEM

Odorous house ant, SEM

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Caption: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile). Common odorous house ants prefer to feed on sweets, so many colonies herd and tend aphids and mealybugs for their honeydew. Found indoors and out, they also eat grease, protein and other dead insects. These small brown ants are so named for the disagreeable odour, (similar to rotting coconuts), that is released when worker ants are crushed. . sessile has infested Maui, Hawaii thriving among small farms on the western slopes of Haleakala. On the mainland, the ants generally go dormant in winter, so there is concern that on Maui they will overwhelm native species by proliferating all year. The Maui invasion is thought to be a single super colony with more than 300 nests (each having multiple queens) covering more than 45 acres. Magnification: x11 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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