This species is known from India and Sri Lanka.
A member of the pachycerus group. This species is similar to A. aratus (with which it has been treated as a junior synonym) and A. nesiotis but differs in having a broader head (cephalic index > 87 versus CI < 88 in A. nesiotis), and broader and more bulbous petiole and postpetiole (both are narrower in A. aratus and A. nesiotis). The scape is also relatively longer than in the others (scape index > 115 versus < 115). It is similar to A. levior in the shape of the head but differs in having longer scapes (Shattuck, 2008).
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Little is known about the biology of Aenictus aitkenii. The genus is comprised of species that live an army ant lifestyle. Aenictus typically prey on other ants, from other genera, or other insects such as wasps or termites. There are reports of Aenictus preying on other insects as well and even have been observed collecting honeydew from homopterans (Santschi, 1933; Gotwald, 1995) but this appears, at least from available evidence, to be uncommon. Foraging raids can occur day or night across the ground surface. Occasionally raids are arboreal. During a raid numerous workers attack a single nest or small area, with several workers coordinating their efforts to carry large prey items back to the nest or bivouac. Aenictus have a nomadic life style, alternating between a migratory phase in which nests are temporary bivouacs in sheltered places above the ground and a stationary phase where semi-permanent underground nests are formed. During the nomadic phase bivouacs move regularly, sometimes more than once a day when larvae require large amounts of food. Individual nests usually contain up to several thousand workers, although nest fragments containing only a few hundred workers are often encountered. Queens are highly specialised and look less like workers than in most ant species. They have greatly enlarged gasters (dichthadiform) and remain flightless throughout their life. New colonies are formed by the division of existing colonies (fission) rather than by individual queens starting colonies on their own.
Known only from the worker caste.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- aitkenii. Aenictus aitkenii Forel, 1901a: 475 (w.) INDIA. Junior synonym of aratus: Wilson, 1964a: 446. Revived from synonymy and senior synonym of asiatica: Shattuck, 2008c: 16.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
- asiatica. Aenictus aratus var. asiatica Forel, 1911h: 453 (w.) SRI LANKA. Junior synonym of aratus: Wilson, 1964a: 446; of aitkenii: Shattuck, 2008c: 16.
- Aenictus aitkenii: Worker syntypes from Kanara, Thana and Travancore, India.
- Aenictus aratus var. asiatica: Worker syntype from Sri Lanka.
- Forel, A. 1901a. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part VIII. The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 13:462-477. PDF (page 475, worker described)
- Shattuck, S.O. 2008c. Review of the ant genus Aenictus in Australia with notes on A. ceylonicus (Mayr). Zootaxa. 1926:1-19. PDF
- Wilson, E. O. 1964a. The true army ants of the Indo-Australian area (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Dorylinae). Pacific Insects. 6:427-483. PDF (page 446, junior synonym of aratus)