Domain: Eukarya

The “Little Black Ant” is classified within the domain of Eukarya because it has a distinct nuclues and contains organelles (Encyclopedia of Life 2013).

Kingdom: Animalia

M. minimum belongs to the kingdom Animalia because it is multi-cellular, lacks cell walls, and is heterotrophic (it consumes food instead of producing it for themselves) (Encyclopedia of Life 2013).

Permission to use image. 2013. Copyright 2013 Bryan E. Reynolds
Phylum: Arthropoda

This organism is categorized in the phylum Arthropoda due to its triploblastic tissues that results in bilateral symmetry, and its coelom, which is derived from protostome development. Monomorium minimum undergoes ecdysis which is more commonly known as molting. It is also an Arthropod because it has an exoskeleton and jointed appendages. Another organism in this phylum includes: Harpahe haydeniana.


Subphylum: Hexapoda

This organism is placed under the Hexapoda subphylum because it contains a segmented body (a head, abdomen, and thorax), three pairs of legs, a pair of antennae, a pair of compound eyes, and generally a pair of wings (Encyclopedia of Life 2013).


Class: Insecta

M. minimum is part of the Insecta class because of its ability for flight, its social behaviors and communication, and its metamorphosis characteristics (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). See figure 1 below for reference to Arthopoda phylum.

Other organisms in this class include: Oiceoptoma noveboracense and Sarcophaga crassipalpis.


Order: Hymenoptera

When the word Hymenoptera is broken down, “Hymeno” means membrane and “ptera” means wing, therefore this order contains winged insects (College of Agriculture and Natural Resources 2013). This group therefore contains ants, wasps, bees, sawflies, etc. More specifically, this group contains insects that have proboscises or mouth parts, and two pairs of wings that have barbs so they can stay together in flight (Excyclopedia of Life 2013). Other organisms in this order include: Xylocopa virginica, Polistes dominula, Xylocopa varipuncta.


Family: Formicidae

M. minimum belongs to this family due to its fused segmented, and relatively narrow section where its abdomen meets its thorax. It also has a metapleural gland that secretes acid by a means of defense against bacteria and fungi, and these are eusocial organisms where they live and work among each other (Encyclopedia of Life 2013). See Figure 2 below for additional information incorporating subfamilies. Other organisms in this family include: Eciton burchelli, Iridomyrex purpureus, Myrmecocystus mexicanus, and Solenopsis invicta.

Permission to use image. 2013. Copyright April Nobile from www.AntWeb.orgPermission to use image. 2013. Copyright April Nobile from


Genus: Monomorium

Species: M. minimum
Lastly, these ants distinguishable from others base on a few more integrate characteristics such as: having a polygynous (more than one producing queen) and social colony structure, completing metamorphosis in a distinct way, etc. (Bhatkar 1992).

Monomorium minimum means "little black ant" (Bhatkar 1992).


                                                                         Phylogenetic Trees


Permission to use. 2013. Creative Commons, GNU Free Documentation License


Figure 1. The phylogenetic tree to the right represents the evolutionary trends of many classes. This figure also represents that Myriapoda and Insecta are a monophyletic sister group with their next closest relative being the Crustacea group. All three of these groups are a subset of the clade Mandibulata where these organisms have specialized mouth parts (mandibules or jaws). In the case of the Insectas, they have a proboscis used for sensing and eating. M. minimum falls under this Insecta class.




  Permission to use image. 2013. Copyright Alex Wild




     Figure 2. The phylogenetic tree to the left represents the different

      lineages of ants categorized by subfamily. These organisms are more

      specifically arranged based on molecular DNA sequencing using the 18S,

      28S and EF-1alpha nuclear genes. (Constructed by Alex Wild 2008). M.

     minimum is represented under the Formicinae subfamily with its

      closest relatives being other ants within the Myrmicinae and

      Ectatomminae subfamilies. These three subfamilies comprise one

      monophyletic group within the Formicoids or Formicidae family.









For more information on M. minimum's Habitat, click here.

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