Temnothorax curvispinosus

From Ant Keeping Wiki
    Temnothorax curvispinosus is a small, orange ant whose colonies inhabit acorns, walnuts, and other small cavities throughout the forests of eastern North America. Because of its nesting habits, it is much easier to obtain a T. curvispinosus colony by simply collecting a wild nest than it is to catch the multiple night-flying queens needed to start a colony in the traditional way. This is one of the most well studied ant species because of its small colonies, simple nests, and ease of capture. 


Queen Ant
  • Nuptial Flight Time: June and July, at night.
  • Colony Founding: Fully claustral, but new queens often join existing colonies, rather than founding their own.
  • *gynous: Monogynous or polygynous, lone foundresses tend to fail.
  • Brood Boostable: Yes.
  • Hibernation: Yes, similar to other North American ants.
  • Feeding Requirements: None.
  • Nanitics Appear After: About 4 weeks.



  • Maple syrup / water
  • Honeydew melon
  • Termites (beheaded)
  • Raw honey
  • Walnut




  • Difficulty: Easy.
  • Typical Colony Size: A few dozen to a hundred workers. This species normally takes heavy losses from frigid winter temperatures in the wild, so captive colonies may get larger.
  • Polymorphic: No.
  • Ant Length: Very small, workers are about 2 millimeters, queens are 3 to 4 millimeters.
  • Temperament: Docile.
  • Suggested Feeding Schedule: Does not need to eat very often.
  • Hazards: Escape artists.
  • Colony Growth Rate: Somewhat fast, but colonies stay small.
  • Egg To Worker: Fast.
  • Circadian Activity: Mostly diurnal, inactive for long periods, even during the day.
  • Recommended Temperature :
  • Recommended Humidity: Probably somewhat low.
  • Heating Pad Required: No.
  • Can Climb Smooth Surfaces: Yes, can even climb upside down on fluon.
  • When To Expand: Due to small colony size, this species is unlikely to outgrow a setup.
  • When Do Soldiers and Reproductives Appear :
  • Invasive/Pest: No.
  • Farmers: No.
  • Native Location: antmaps.org
  • Natural Habitat: Lives in forests, will nest in any small cavities, including acorns, walnuts, wasp galls, and hollow twigs. Rather nomadic, and tends to have multiple nests.
  • Preferred Nesting Medium: Any small, premade space.
  • Scientific Information: antwiki.org


    Temnothorax curvispinosus is parasitized by the slavemaking Temnothorax americanus, which is a larger, black ant closely related to T. curvispinosus. T. americanus colonies pillage larvae from nearby T. curvispinosus nests, raising them as their own. The kidnapped ants perform all of the tasks they would have in their original colony, while the americanus workers, useless for everything except raiding more brood, stay inside the nest at almost all times. As such, Temnothorax americanus cannot survive without a constant supply of pillaged brood, and is effectively impossible to keep. Because only the captured workers venture outside the nest, a colony of this species can easily be mistaken for an ordinary curvispinosus colony and collected. If a captive colony turns out to be T. americanus, it should be released immediately back where it was found. Do not despair, however, as T. curispinosus is almost certainly present close nearby.