Anoplolepis gracilipes

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Anoplolepis gracilipes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Anoplolepis
Species: A. gracilipes
Binomial name
Anoplolepis gracilipes
(Smith, F., 1857)

Anoplolepis gracilipes casent0125111 profile 1.jpg

Anoplolepis gracilipes casent0125111 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


The Yellow Crazy Ant has the dubious distinction of being among the 100 worst invasive species in the world (IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group). Anoplolepis gracilipes has become widespread across the tropics.

At a Glance • Supercolonies  



Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: United Arab Emirates.
Australasian Region: Australia, New Caledonia.
Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Indonesia, Krakatau Islands, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Guinea, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore (type locality), Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna Islands.
Malagasy Region: Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles.
Neotropical Region: Chile, Mexico.
Oriental Region: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India (type locality), Laos, Nicobar Island, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: China, Greece, Japan.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Bertelsmeier et al. (2015) examined elements of interspecific aggression between this species and several other highly invasive ants. In laboratory assays Anoplolepis gracilipes was adept at avoiding aggressive interactions. When confronted by workers of other invasive ant species A. gracilipes either acted indifferently or moved away.

Milar et al. (2017) found in an experimental test, simulating being threatened with entrapment in sand (as might happen if falling in an ant lion pit or if subjected to a collapse of a ground nest), that this species did not exhibit rescue behaviour. This was in agreement with their hypothesis that species that do not face entrapment situations would not show such a response. Anoplolepis gracilipes natural occur in open areas with less friable soils.

Anoplolepis gracilipes, together with Dolichoderus thoracicus and Oecophylla smaragdina, is one of the most common ant species which tends honeydew-producing hemipterans in Indonesia. Fanani et al. (2020) examined the influence of these species on the introduced parasitoid Anagyrus lopezi, a species used to control the invasive cassava mealybug Phenacoccus manihoti (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). They found that when ants were absent the average time spent foraging by individual parasitoids was significantly longer (27.39 minutes) compared to when ants were present (2.47- 4.68 minutes). As a result, parasitoids spent less time in finding hosts and a longer time in handling hosts. This resulted in more oviposition activities and a 2-3 fold increase in parasitism and the number of wasps that emerged from their hosts.

Associations with other Organisms

Other Insects

This ant has been observed tending larvae of Lampides boeticus (Obregon et al. 2015).

The following myrmecophilous crickets are known to be associated with this species (Hsu et al., 2020):

  • Myrmecophilus albicinctus
  • Myrmecophilus antilucanus
  • Myrmecophilus dubius
  • Myrmecophilus hebardi
  • Myrmecophilus mayaealberti
  • Myrmecophilus pallidithorax
  • Myrmecophilus quadrispina
  • Myrmophilellus pilipes




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

  • longipes. Formica longipes Jerdon, 1851: 122 (w.) INDIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 132 (l.); Imai, Brown, et al. 1984: 68 (k.). Combination in Plagiolepis: Emery, 1887a: 247; in Plagiolepis (Anoplolepis): Santschi, 1914b: 123; in Anoplolepis: Emery, 1925b: 17. [Junior primary homonym of Formica longipes Latreille, 1802c: 233 (now in Pheidole).] Replacement name: Formica gracilipes Smith, F. 1857a: 55. [Note: this name is the oldest available junior synonym of longipes Jerdon (synonymy by Emery, 1887a: 247; confirmed by examination of syntypic workers), and hence is first available replacement name: Bolton, 1995b: 67.] See also: Baker, 1976: 253; Haines & Haines, 1978: 109; Rao & Veeresh, 1991: 261.
  • gracilipes. Formica gracilipes Smith, F. 1857a: 55 (w.) SINGAPORE. Mayr, 1867a: 73 (q.). Combination in Prenolepis: Mayr, 1862: 698; in Plagiolepis: Mayr, 1867a: 73; in Anoplolepis: Bolton, 1995b: 67. Senior synonym of trifasciata: Mayr, 1867a: 73. Junior synonym of longipes Jerdon: Emery, 1887a: 247; hence first available replacement name for Formica longipes Jerdon, 1851: 122, designated by Bolton, 1995b: 67. [Junior primary homonym of Formice longipes Latreille, 1802c: 233 (now in Pheidole).]
  • trifasciata. Formica trifasciata Smith, F. 1858b: 27 (q.) INDONESIA (Java). Junior synonym of gracilipes: Mayr, 1867a: 73.

Type Material

The following notes on F. Smith type specimens have been provided by Barry Bolton (details):

Formica gracilipes

Two worker syntypes in Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Labelled “Sing. 30.” Also specimens det. as gracilipes from “Aru” and “N” (= New Guinea).



  • n = 17, 2n = 34 (India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Sarawak) (Goni et al., 1982; Tjan et al., 1986; Imai et al., 1983; Imai et al., 1984; Imai et al., 1985) (as Anoplolepis longipes).