Tapinoma melanocephalum have an interesting life cycle that is much different than most of the organisms we know.  Reproduction is sexual but there are many intermediate stages before the adult ant. We are born as mini-humans and then grow to be adults, in contrast, ants hatch as larvae that look nothing like actual ants.  The first stage is the egg. Queens lay two types of eggs: reproductive and alimentary (trophic) eggs.  From there, the unfertilized reproductive eggs will develop into males, fertilized reproductive eggs will develop into females, and the alimentary eggs will be consumed as food (Jesus & Bueno, 2007). From the reproductive eggs hatch larvae of which have four stages, called instars, that progress through molting. Finally, the organism undergoes complete metamorphosis by pupating, then encloses as an adult ant (Jesus & Bueno, 2007).  To learn more visit

Another interesting aspect of Tapinoma melanocephalum's life cycle is that most of the time colonies become too big to be supported by the small and temporary nest. To overcome this problem the colony undergoes a process called budding which consists of one of more females and several workers leaving the main colony to start a new nest nearby.  Sometimes the workers will carry with them larvae and pupae called brood.   If the nests are close the different nest sites will keep interacting by exchanging individuals along an odor trail (Jesus, 2010). What about how Tapinoma melanocephalum acquires the resources to reproduce? Find out on the nutrition page.