Aphaenogaster splendida

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Aphaenogaster splendida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species group: splendida
Species: A. splendida
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster splendida
(Roger, 1859)

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Little is known. In Italy, Malta and Greece this species was collected only in rural areas and tourist resorts, not in natural habitats. Ants were observed on walls, stones in shaded places in urban areas or close to the beach. On Cyprus it was found in a gorge which is probably its natural habitat. Foraging workers were observed on stones close to a stream and on the damp walls of the gorge. In Syria specimens were found under a stone. There is no available data on nest structure and colony size. Gathered data suggest that this species originated from the Middle East and was introduced to the Balkans, Italy and Malta perhaps in historical times (Salata et al., 2021).

At a Glance • Invasive  


A member of the Aphaenogaster splendida-group.

Aphaenogaster splendida has intermediate characters between yellow slim species of the A. kervillei complex (Aphaenogaster kervillei, Aphaenogaster hamaensis and Aphaenogaster vohraliki) and more stout species of the A. festae complex (Aphaenogaster festae, Aphaenogaster schmitzi, Aphaenogaster syriaca and Aphaenogaster transcaucasica). Aphaenogaster splendida distinctly differs from species of the A. kervillei complex in head less converging posterad, in the middle almost parallel-sided then weakly rounded posterad; it has also more developed head sculpture forming longitudinal to reticulate sculpture also in posterior half of head; from A. kervillei and A. hamaensis it differs in more elongate propodeal spines. From species of the A. festae complex A. splendida differs in slimmer body, legs and antennae, with HTL/HW above 1.37 vs. below 1.32 in the A. festae complex. It has also smoother and shinier pronotal surface than in any species of the A. festae group. Only in some specimens of A. schmitzi the surface has also partly diffused microreticulation but never is as shiny as in A. splendida. Similar slim body and appendages has Aphaenogaster peloponnesiaca from the A. ovaticeps complex but differs in regularly oval head. Other species: Aphaenogaster aktaci, Aphaenogaster ovaticeps and Aphaenogaster rugosoferruginea well differ in dark, rusty-brown to dark brown head and mesosoma.

Keys including this Species


Confirmed records are from Malta, Italy (Sardinia, Sicily), Greece (Aegean Islands, Crete, Dodecanese), Cyprus, Israel, and Syria. However, all historical records of A. splendida from these countries require verification as they can represent misdetermined specimens of other members of the splendida species-group known from this region. Due to the same reason, records from Ukraine, Transcaucasian countries and northern Africa also need verification and confirmation. Because the majority of historical records of this species in the W Mediterranean (Spain, France and Italy) come from anthropogenic sites (e.g. Tinaut & Pascual 1986, Scupola 2017) we concluded that this species can be present in these countries but it should be treated there as introduced. (Salata et al., 2021)

Aphaenogaster splendida was described from “Greece“ without detailed locality. Recent data showed that this species is very rare in this country and known only from three tourist resorts. Thus, it could also be introduced species in this region. Two other Greek members of the splendida species-group, A. festae and A. peloponnesiaca (treated by subsequent authors as A. splendida; see Borowiec & Salata 2013), appear to be common in Greek islands and southern region of the continental part of the country. (Salata et al., 2021)

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 47.325556° to 28.98333333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece (type locality), Iberian Peninsula, Iran, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Portugal, Russian Federation, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Türkiye, Ukraine.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.




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

  • splendida. Atta splendida Roger, 1859: 257 (w.) GREECE.
    • Emery, 1869b: 17 (q.); Emery, 1908c: 326 (m.); Baroni Urbani, 1968b: 419 (l.).
    • Combination in Aphaenogaster: Roger, 1863b: 29;
    • combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Emery, 1921f: 59.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1861: 67 (in key); Roger, 1863b: 29; Mayr, 1863: 397; Emery, 1869b: 17; Dours, 1873: 167; André, 1874: 197 (in key); Emery & Forel, 1879: 462; André, 1881b: 75; André, 1883b: 360 (in key); Forel, 1886e: clxviii; Forel, 1889: 257; Emery, 1891b: 9; Dalla Torre, 1893: 105; Forel, 1904c: 5; Emery, 1908c: 325; Forel, 1911d: 346; Emery, 1916b: 131; Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1916: 167; Bondroit, 1918: 160; Emery, 1921b: 208; Emery, 1921f: 59; Müller, 1923b: 54; Soudek, 1925b: 15; Karavaiev, 1926b: 97; Santschi, 1926f: 286; Kutter, 1927: 98; Finzi, 1930a: 156; Menozzi, 1933b: 51; Grandi, 1935: 99; Zimmermann, 1935: 13; Santschi, 1938a: 37; Finzi, 1939c: 153; Donisthorpe, 1950e: 1059; Ceballos, 1956: 298; Bernard, 1967: 136 (redescription); Baroni Urbani, 1968b: 418; Cagniant, 1970a: 414; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 54; Arnol'di, 1976b: 1025 (in key); Hamann & Klemm, 1976: 671; Collingwood, 1978: 79 (in key); Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 537 (in key); Schembri & Collingwood, 1981: 423; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 54; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b: 269 (in key); Kugler, J. 1988: 256; Arakelian, 1994: 32; Schulz, A. 1994a: 425 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 73; Mei, 1995: 761; Poldi, et al. 1995: 3; Bračko, 2006: 135; Petrov, 2006: 90 (in key); Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowski, 2009: 487; Vonshak, et al. 2009: 41; Legakis, 2011: 8; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2012: 467; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 17; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2013: 351; Borowiec, L. 2014: 18 (see note in bibliography); Bračko, et al. 2014: 13; Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, 2014: 134; Lebas, et al. 2016: 262; Radchenko, 2016: 168; Gómez, et al. 2018: 221 (in key); Salata & Borowiec, 2018c: 42.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus transcaucasica.

Type Material

  • Syntype worker of Atta splendida 1: Griechenland | coll. Roger | Aphaeno-gaster | splendida Rog. || Type (ZMHB) [AntWeb, FOCOL1224, photos by Christiana Kingenberg, available on https://www.AntWeb.org]; syntype worker of Atta splendida 2: the same labels as for syntype 1 (ZMHB) [AntWeb, FOCOL1225, photos by Christiana Kingenberg, available on https://www. AntWeb.org] (Salata et al., 2021).



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