Messor cephalotes


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Messor cephalotes

Messor cephalotes  is a West African Ant which is not often seen on sale and so is relatively rare.   This is one of the largest and most beautiful  Messor  species available.   The Major workers reach an enormous  size measuring nearly 2cm in length. The heads on these Majors are sometimes larger than the Queens head.   These workers crack large wild seeds with their strong mandibles.

Messor cephalotes  is a  Harvester Ant.   They collect seeds and store them in a grainary within the nest.   The larger Ants will chew these seeds to make “Ant Bread” which is their primary food source.   They also feed off dead insects.  Messor cephalotes  will not normally feed on sugar-water/Honey-water, but we feel a small supply of sugar-water should always be present just in case.   A freshwater source should also be available.

The nest should have both a dry and moist area,with more emphasis on the dry area for the seed storage.   It is recommended to provide a heat spot as this species of  Messor  like it warm.

In nature the  Messor cephalotes  will generally only have one Queen per colony.   Whilst this species is not recommend for beginners, some would say they are hardy and relatively easy to keep.

Latin Name:  Messor cephalotes

English Name:

Rearing Difficulty:  (1=Beginner, 5=Expert):  2, It is advisable to have some experience keeping Tropical species of Ants.

Temperature: Arena,  25-30 °C

Nest,  24-28 °C


Humidity: Arena,  30-50%

Nest,  50-70%

Diet:  Seeds, Grains, Insect protein, Flies, Crickets, Cockroaches, Sugar-water,

Length/Description: Queen,  23-25mm long, Brown-Red

Length/Description: Workers,  5-20mm long, Brown-Red

Queen Starting Out:  Claustral (without feeding)

Development of Worker:

Nest Suitability:

Minimum Tube/Connector Diameter:

Colony Size:  10,000 workers.

Life Span of Queen:  25 years.

Distribution:  Africa, East Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania

These ants are not native to the UK and is therefore illegal to release them into the wild. Please contact AntsMynala if you no longer wish to keep them and we will arrange for them to be collected from you at no cost.


Additional information

Colony size

1 Queen only


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