Domain: Eukarya is the broad domain of organisms that have membrane bound organelles, such as mitochondria, and a true nucleus. This is in contrast to the other domains of Bacteria and Archaea that do not possess membrane bound organelles or a true nucleus (Campbell, Reece & et al, 2008).
     Kingdom: Animalia includes organisms that are multicellular and develop tissues that form from embryonic layers. Another key characteristic is that animals are heterotrophic by ingestion then digestion which separates this kingdom from the kingdom of fungi because fungi digest their food before ingesting (Campbell, Reece & et al, 2008).
          Phylum: Arthropoda have segmented bodies, jointed appendages, a chitin exoskeleton, and an open circulatory system. The phylogenetic tree below shows the relationship between the different phyla of animals and the classes within the phyla of arthropoda are shown within the boxed region (Campbell, Reece & et al, 2008).

Class: Insecta, or insects, are commonly known for having three pairs of legs, three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and one pair of antennae.  Typically organisms in this group have two pairs of wings (but there are some organisms with one pair or even none) and one pair of compound eyes (but some have simple eyes). This group contains the majority of "bugs" such as the mosquito and horsefly (Campbell, Reece & et al, 2008).
      Order: Hymenoptera are characterized by having a mobile head, chewing or sucking mouthparts, and a process they undergo known as complete metamorphosis.  The antennae of organisms in this group are longer than their head, as well as being highly social with separate reproductive and worker castes (workers, soldiers, queen, etc.). Bumblebees, ants, hornets are examples of organisms that participate in this construction (Cook, 2011).
              Family: Formicinae are commonly known as ants (such as the stereotypical ant described on the home page, the carpenter ant ). They have a unique constricting band on the rear portion of their waist or second abdominal segment that forms a well-defined node or scale called a petiole.  Their antennae are elbowed and their bodies are usually brown, black, or reddish. The ant morphology is depicted below on Figure 1 in more detail. Figure 2 illustrates the relationship between the various ant families within hymenoptera, Formicinae is in the boxed area.

Genus: Tapinoma, a genus within the above boxed family of Formicinae, includes ants with a distinct bicolor pattern with a yellowish gaster, legs and antennae that contrast their dark head and thorax.  Also, Tapinoma are distinguishable by their 4 segments on the top surface of the gaster and by having an odor (Harris, 2005).
    Species: Tapinoma melanocephalum is a specific group of ants that "12-segmented antennae, lack of spines, lack of a stinger, lack of large erect hairs on the body, and the lack of a protruding node on the petiole" (MacGown & Hill, 2009). Tapinoma  can be translated as lowly or humble and ordorus and melanocephalum means black head.

To learn more about the classification of this organism and many others visit or to learn more about T. melanocephalum continue to the habitat page.