Oecophylla

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Oecophylla
Oecophylla smaragdina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Oecophyllini
Genus: Oecophylla
Smith, F., 1860
Type species
Formica virescens (junior synonym of Oecophylla smaragdina)
Diversity
15 species
16 fossil species
(Species Checklist)

Oecophylla smaragdina casent0173647 profile 1.jpg

Oecophylla smaragdina

Oecophylla smaragdina casent0173647 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Synonyms
Evolutionary Relationships
Formicinae

Myrmelachistini
  (2 genera)




Lasiini
  (9 genera)




Melophorini
  (9 genera)




Formicini
  (8 genera)






Gesomyrmex
  (7 species)



Oecophylla
  (15 species)




Plagiolepidini
  (10 genera)





Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella



Camponotini
  (8 genera)








Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Hita Garcia, Wiesel and Fischer (2013) - Two species of “weaver ants” are known: one from the Oriental and Indo-Australian regions and another that is found in the Afrotropics. The “red tree ant”, Oecophylla longinoda occurs in the latter region and is spread throughout the whole of sub-Saharan Africa (Weber, 1949c). Despite the large popularity of the genus (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990), its taxonomy is in a very disappointing condition since it has not yet benefited from a modern taxonomic revision. Both species together contain 12 subspecies (Bolton, 2012), and it is unclear whether some of these merit species status or should just be regarded as junior synonyms. O. longinoda is one of the most well-studied ants from the Afrotropical region (Hölldobler & Lumsden, 1980; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990). It is one of the dominant species in African forest canopies and is especially known for its “weaver ant” ability to bind tree leaves into nest compartments with silk spun by larvae (Hölldobler & Lumbsen, 1980). A single colony can have more than 500,000 individuals and build hundreds of nests, in several trees, that are aggressively defended against other conspecific colonies and other ants (Hölldobler, 1979; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990). These ants are predacious they and hunt large insect prey, not only in the canopy but also in the surrounding vegetation or on the ground. Oecophylla also tend honeydew-producing insects to supplement their diet (Weber, 1949c; Hölldobler & Lumbsen, 1980).

Identification

Keys including this Genus

Distribution

World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Oecophylla Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Oecophylla Species Richness.png

Biology

There is a webpage with a list of some recent publications about weaver ants. You can also read an overview of their biology from the a chapter in The Ants: The Weaver Ants (Hölldobler and Wilson 1990).

Crozier et al. (2010) give a comprehensive synthesis of the biology of this genus, with only two species that are ecologically dominant over large parts of three continents.

Oecophylla smaragdina is also a popular food in Thailand (see Human culture & Ants)

The highly visual workers of Oecophylla are especially aware of their surroundings. (Photo by Steve Shattuck.)

Castes

Morphology

Worker Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club absent-gradual, weak • Palp formula 5,4 • Total dental count 9-16 • Spur formula 0, 0 • Eyes present • Scrobes absent • Caste trimorphic • Sting absent

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • OECOPHYLLA [Formicinae: Oecophyllini]
    • Oecophylla Smith, F. 1860b: 101. Type-species: Formica virescens (junior synonym of Formica smaragdina), by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903: 310.
    • Oecophylla as senior synonym of †Camponotites Dlussky: Perfilieva, et al. 2017: 399 (in text) [by implication as type-species of †Camponotites Dlussky transferred to Oecophylla].
  • CAMPONOTITES [junior homonym of †Camponotites Steinbach; junior synonym of Oecophylla]
    • Camponotites Dlussky, 1981b: 76. Type-species: †Camponotites macropterus Dlussky, 1981b: 76, by monotypy.
    • Taxonomic history
    • Camponotites incertae sedis in Formicidae: Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990: 18; Dlussky & Rasnitsyn, 2002: 418; in Formicinae, Camponotini: Bolton, 1994: 50; Bolton, 1995b: 83; Bolton, 2003: 112.
    • Camponotites as junior homonym and junior synonym of †Camponotites Steinbach: Dlussky, et al. 2011: 451.
    • Camponotites as junior synonym of Oecophylla: Perfilieva, et al. 2017: 399 (in text) [by implication as type-species of †Camponotites Dlussky transferred to Oecophylla].

References

  • Agosti, D. 1991. Revision of the oriental ant genus Cladomyrma, with an outline of the higher classification of the Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 16: 293-310 PDF (page 295, Oecophylla in Formicinae, Oecophylla genus group)
  • Arnold, G. 1922. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part V. Myrmicinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 579-674 (page 608, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 384, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 310, Type-species: Formica virescens (junior synonym of Oecophylla smargdina), by subsequent designation)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 110, Oecophylla in Formicinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Crozier RH, Newey PS, Schlüns EA & Robson SKA 2009. A masterpiece of evolution – Oecophylla weaver ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 13: 57 – 71. PDF
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 176, Oecophylla in Camponotinae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 772, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 50, Oecophylla in Formicinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Forel, A. 1878c. Études myrmécologiques en 1878 (première partie) avec l'anatomie du gésier des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 15: 337-392 (page 361, Oecophylla in Camponotinae [Camponotidae])
  • Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 89, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 250, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 651, Oecophylla in Formicinae [Formicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 7, Oecophylla in Formicinae [Formicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1868c. Die Ameisen des baltischen Bernsteins. Beitr. Naturkd. Preuss. 1: 1-102 (page 30, Oecophylla in Formicinae [Formicidae])
  • Perfilieva, K.S., Dubovikoff, D.A. & Dlussky, G.M. 2017. Miocene ants from Crimea. Paleontological Journal 51 (4): 391-401. (Paleontologicheskii Zhurnal 2017 (4): 54-64.)
  • Smith, F. 1860b. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects collected by Mr. A. R. Wallace in the islands of Bachian, Kaisaa, Amboyna, Gilolo, and at Dory in New Guinea. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 5(17b)(suppl. to vol. 4 4: 93-143 (page 101, Oecophylla as genus)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 143, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1915i [1914]. The ants of the Baltic Amber. Schr. Phys.-Ökon. Ges. Königsb. 55: 1-142 (page 113, Oecophylla in Camponotinae, Oecophyllini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 700, Oecophylla in Formicinae, Oecophyllini)