Aphaenogaster flemingi

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Aphaenogaster flemingi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species: A. flemingi
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster flemingi
Smith, M.R., 1928

Aphaenogaster flemingi casent0103579 profile 1.jpg

Aphaenogaster flemingi casent0103579 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


This species nests in sandy soil, generally in open, disturbed areas, and has been collected in the nest of the leaf cutting ant Atta texana. Alate females were collected in a nest in mid-May.


The worker of this species can be recognized as the dorsal surface of the pronotum is very finely sculptured and strongly shiny, and the propodeal spines are well-developed, slender and sharp. The antennal scapes are very long, surpassing the posterior lateral margin by about three funicular segments.

The antennal scape of the female is also long, extending about three funicular segment past posterior lateral corner. The pronotal spines are very well-developed, but thickened at the base, and not slender as in the worker. The pronotum is only weakly shining, and covered with transverse striate. The species could be confused with Aphaenogaster tennesseensis.

Aphaenogaster flemingi has slender, upward pointing propodeal spines, feeble sculpturing on the mesosoma and an overall shiny appearance (DeMarco, 2015).


Deyrup (2016) - A highly distinctive species, flemingi has a shining pronotum, extremely long, slender propodeal spines, and the base of the antennal scape is expanded like the base of an arrowhead, Even in the field flemingi is easily identified as a large, reddish brown species with a shining pronotum.

Keys including this Species



Deyrup (2016) - North Carolina south through Florida, west into Kentucky and Louisiana. In Florida, flemingi is known from scattered localities extending from the Keys through the Panhandle. It is probably more common than these records indicate: flemingi is usually difficult to find because the nest entrances are concealed and workers are often active at dusk or during the night.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 35.59° to 24.66666667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Deyrup (2016) - The following paragraph is summarized from Carroll (1975). Nests of flemingi are in soil in open pine flatwoods and stands of scrub oak, usually at the base of a plant or clump of grass. Nests have one or two entrances, one of which has a thatched turret of bits of vegetation. Nests are in either well-drained or poorly drained soil, and may be more than 25 cm deep. Brood are often in a superficial chamber under a clump of grass. Colonies contain up to approximately 300 workers. Foraging is on the ground in open or semi-shaded habitats. Workers bring arthropods to the nest and have been seen visiting mushrooms of the genus Russula. A colony kept in the laboratory fed on pieces of these mushrooms.

Van Pelt (1958) observed flemingi (which he called by the synonymous name macrospina) in Putnam County, Florida. He found it associated with pine-dominated habitats, including sandhills and flatwoods, He also found that flemingi was attracted to molasses traps. In North Carolina, Carter (1962) found flemingi restricted to the Coastal Plain, where it showed a preference for open, dry, grassy, sandy sites, including fields, sandhill, and coastal dunes, but two collections were made in wetter grassy areas. I have found flemingi in dry, grassy areas, wet flatwoods, and even salt marshes. On several occasions, I have seen columns of foragers emerging at dusk.




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • flemingi. Aphaenogaster texana subsp. flemingi Smith, M.R. 1928c: 275 (w.) U.S.A. (Mississippi).
    • Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 242 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1972b: 238 (l.).
    • Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Creighton, 1950a: 143.
    • Subspecies of texana: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 797.
    • Status as species: Creighton, 1950a: 143; Smith, M.R. 1958a: 113; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Smith, M.R. 1967: 352; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Deyrup, et al. 1989: 94; Bolton, 1995b: 69; Deyrup, 2003: 44; Coovert, 2005: 45; Deyrup, 2017: 47; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 241 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of macrospina: Smith, M.R. 1958a: 113; Smith, M.R. 1967: 352; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Bolton, 1995b: 69; Coovert, 2005: 45; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 241.
    • Senior synonym of nana: Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 241.
  • macrospina. Aphaenogaster texana subsp. macrospina Smith, M.R. 1934a: 386, figs. 1, 2 (w.) U.S.A. (South Carolina).
    • Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Creighton, 1950a: 145.
    • Subspecies of texana: Smith, M.R. 1944d: 14; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 797.
    • Status as species: Creighton, 1950a: 145; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117 (error).
    • Junior synonym of flemingi: Smith, M.R. 1958a: 113; Smith, M.R. 1967: 352; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Bolton, 1995b: 71; Coovert, 2005: 45; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 241.
  • nana. Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma) texana subsp. nana Wheeler, W.M. 1932a: 6 (w.) U.S.A. (Florida).
    • Subspecies of texana: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 797.
    • Unidentifiable taxon; incertae sedis in Aphaenogaster: Creighton, 1950a: 151; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1364; Bolton, 1995b: 71.
    • Junior synonym of flemingi: Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 241.

Type Material



  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 69, catalogue)
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 143, Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma), and raised to species.)
  • DeMarco, B.B. 2015. Phylogeny of North American Aphaenogaster species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reconstructed with morphological and DNA data. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
  • Deyrup, M.A. 2016. Ants of Florida: Identification and Natural History. CRC Press, 423 pp.
  • Mackay, W.P., Mackay, E. 2017. The New World Gypsy Ants of the genera Aphaenogaster and Novomessor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lambert Academic Publishing, Mauritius. 605 pp.
  • Smith, M. R. 1928c. An additional annotated list of the ants of Mississippi. With a description of a new species of Aphaenogaster (Hym.: Formicidae) (continued from page 246). Entomol. News 39: 275-279 (page 275, worker described)
  • Smith, M. R. 1958a [1957]. New synonymy of a North American ant, Aphaenogaster macrospina M. R. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Brooklyn Entomol. Soc. 52: 113 (page 113, Senior synonym of macrospina)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1972b. Ant larvae of the subfamily Myrmicinae: second supplement on the tribes Myrmicini and Pheidolini. J. Ga. Entomol. Soc. 7: 233-246 (page 238, larva described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Braman C. A., and B. T. Forschler. 2018. Survey of Formicidae attracted to protein baits on Georgia’s Barrier Island dunes. Southeastern Naturalist 17(4): 645-653.
  • Dash S. T. and L. M. Hooper-Bui. 2008. Species diversity of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Louisiana. Conservation Biology and Biodiversity. 101: 1056-1066
  • Deyrup M., C. Johnson, G. C. Wheeler, J. Wheeler. 1989. A preliminary list of the ants of Florida. Florida Entomologist 72: 91-101
  • Deyrup M., L. Deyrup, and J. Carrel. 2013. Ant Species in the Diet of a Florida Population of Eastern Narrow-Mouthed Toads, Gastrophryne carolinensis. Southeastern Naturalist 12(2): 367-378.
  • Deyrup, M. and J. Trager. 1986. Ants of the Archbold Biological Station, Highlands County, Florida (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 69(1):206-228
  • Deyrup, Mark A., Carlin, Norman, Trager, James and Umphrey, Gary. 1988. A Review of the Ants of the Florida Keys. The Florida Entomologist. 71(2):163-176.
  • Epperson, D.M. and C.R. Allen. 2010. Red Imported Fire Ant Impacts on Upland Arthropods in Southern Mississippi. American Midland Naturalist, 163(1):54-63.
  • Guénard B., K. A. Mccaffrey, A. Lucky, and R. R. Dunn. 2012. Ants of North Carolina: an updated list (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3552: 1-36.
  • Hill J.G. & Brown R. L. 2010. The Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Fauna of Black Belt Prairie Remnants in Alabama and Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist. 9: 73-84
  • Johnson C. 1986. A north Florida ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insecta Mundi 1: 243-246
  • Lubertazzi D. and Tschinkel WR. 2003. Ant community change across a ground vegetation gradient in north Florida’s longleaf pine flatwoods. 17pp. Journal of Insect Science. 3:21
  • Moreau C. S., M. A. Deyrup, and L. R. David Jr. 2014. Ants of the Florida Keys: Species Accounts, Biogeography, and Conservation (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Insect Sci. 14(295): DOI: 10.1093/jisesa/ieu157
  • Moser J. C. and M. S. Blum. 1960. The Formicidae of Louisiana. Insect Conditions in Louisiana 3: 48-50
  • Van Pelt A., and J. B. Gentry. 1985. The ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Savannah River Plant, South Carolina. Dept. Energy, Savannah River Ecology Lab., Aiken, SC., Report SRO-NERP-14, 56 p.
  • Wetterer, J.K. and J.A. Moore. 2005. Red Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) at Gopher Tortoise (Testudines: Testudinidae) Burrows. The Florida Entomologist 88(4):349-354