Cardiocondyla mauritanica

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Cardiocondyla mauritanica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Cardiocondyla
Species group: nuda
Species complex: mauritanica
Species: C. mauritanica
Binomial name
Cardiocondyla mauritanica
Forel, 1890

Cardiocondyla mauritanica casent0005678 profile 1.jpg

Cardiocondyla mauritanica casent0005678 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


C. mauritanica is mainly a species of semi-deserts and other xerothermous habitats and the most widely distributed tramp species of the C. nuda group. Mating is strictly intranidal and colonies are polygynous (Heinze et al. 1993), traits considered preadaptations for the tramp species strategy. Winged males are unknown, wingless ergatoid males use their shear-shaped mandibles to crush the cuticle and to cut off the legs and antennae of other freshly emerged males (Heinze et al. 1993). (Seifert et al., 2017)

At a Glance • Highly invasive  



A member of the Cardiocondyla nuda group.

Sharaf et al. (2017) - Worker. Clypeus with few longitudinal rugae; mesosoma usually with well-developed microreticulum; metanotal groove shallow; propodeal spines short and blunt; postpetiole narrow, roughly hexagonal in dorsal view, with a flat sternite, and distinctly lower than petiole in profile. Colour variable, dorsal head dark brown, mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole orange brown, gaster bark brown to blackish brown.

Seifert et al. (2017) - There is no doubt that species separation in the C. nuda group is difficult. It requires careful consideration of character definitions and the use high-resolution optical and measurement systems. The diagnose presented here uses numerous morphological characters to achieve an acceptable identification error rate.

Meeting the following definition:

  • Discriminant 176.328×PPH - 49.049×CW + 51.521×SP - 59.844×PPW + 6.61 < 0
  • Discriminant 214.193×PLG - 88.759×SP + 57.676×SL - 106.17×PEH - 10.465 < 0


Maximum cephalic width; the maximum is found usually across and including the eyes, exceptionally posterior of the eyes.
Maximum petiole height. The straight section of ventral petiolar profile at node level is the reference line perpendicular to which the maximum height of petiole node is measured at node level.
Mean length of pubescence hairs on dorsum of first gaster tergite as arithmetic mean of at least 7 measurements measured at magnifications of 320x.
Maximum postpetiole height; the lateral suture of dorsal and ventral sclerites is the reference line perpendicular to which the maximum height of postpetiole is measured.
Maximum width of postpetiole.
Maximum straight line length of scape excluding the articular condyle given as the arithmetic mean of both scapes.
Maximum length of propodeal spines; measured in dorsofrontal view along the long axis of the spine, from spine tip to a line that orthogonal to the long axis and touches the bottom of the interspinal meniscus (Fig. 3). Left and right SP are averaged. This mode of measuring is less ambiguous than other methods but yields higher spine length values in species with reduced spines. This is the case in the dentiform spines found in the C. nuda group where it is difficult to correctly define the long axis. In such cases, the deviation of the assumed spine axes from longitudinal mesosomal axis should not exceed 30°.

Keys including this Species


Seifert et al. (2017) - If the distributional centre is indicative, the native range of this species is supposed to extend from India over Pakistan west to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The populations in the Canaries, the Nearctic and Indonesia were most probably founded by anthropogenous introduction. Partial sympatry with Cardiocondyla itsukii is observed in the Oriental region but C. mauritanica apparently has difficulties penetrating the Indo-Malayan ranges occupied by the other species of the group and it seems to be fully absent from the Australasian and Polynesian faunal regions.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 36.954444° to 12.44103°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia, Socotra Archipelago, United Arab Emirates.
Indo-Australian Region: Indonesia.
Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Grenada, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico.
Oriental Region: India, Pakistan.
Palaearctic Region: Afghanistan, Canary Islands, Egypt, Greece, Iberian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Oman, Portugal, Russian Federation, Tunisia (type locality), Turkey, 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.



Semi-deserts and other xerothermous habitats.


Espadaler (2007) - In the Canary Islands, found from 20 to 570 m in open dry habitats.

In Yemen Sharaf et al. (2017) observed workers foraging in wet, sandy soil next to a small stream. Some specimens were found in leaf litter under a date palm where the soil was moist and rich in decayed goat and sheep faecal material. Colonies contain less then 500 workers and may have more than one queen. New nests can be formed by fission.

Sharaf et al (2018) - Oman: found in leaf litter under a date palm tree where the soil was loose and dry.

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec






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

  • mauritanica. Cardiocondyla nuda var. mauritanica Forel, 1890a: lxxv (w.) TUNISIA.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Tunisia: Gabes, iii.-iv.1889 (A. Forel).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Forel, 1901e: 378 (q.); Forel, 1904c: 7 (ergatoid m.).
    • Subspecies of nuda: Forel, 1890a: lxxv; Emery, 1891b: 13; Dalla Torre, 1893: 71; Forel, 1901b: 13; Forel, 1901e: 378; Forel, 1904c: 6; Emery, 1909a: 25; Forel, 1911f: 276; Forel, 1911h: 457; Karavaiev, 1911: 8; Crawley, 1920a: 165; Emery, 1922e: 126; Menozzi, 1927g: 379; Menozzi, 1932c: 94; Menozzi, 1933b: 58; Menozzi, 1934: 154; Finzi, 1936: 171; Teranishi, 1940: 35; Donisthorpe, 1942a: 28; Bernard, 1948: 141; Weber, 1952c: 17; Bernard, 1953a: 149; Kugler, J. 1984: 11; Mei, 1995: 764; Poldi, et al. 1995: 4.
    • Status as species: Ortiz, F.J. & Tinaut, 1987: 32; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Espadaler, 1997b: 29; Seifert, 2003: 248 (redescription); Ward, 2005: 65; Cagniant, 2006a: 198; Gómez & Espadler, 2006: 226; Wetterer, Epadaler, Ashmole, et al. 2007: 31; Wetterer, et al. 2007: 9; Paknia, et al. 2008: 153; Vonshak, et al. 2009: 41; Legakis, 2011: 16; Collingwood, et al. 2011: 422; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2012: 484; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 17; Wetterer, 2012f: 985; Borowiec, L. 2014: 47; Bharti, Guénard, et al. 2016: 34; Lebas, et al. 2016: 266; Wetterer, et al. 2016: 10; Sharaf, Fisher, et al. 2017: 18; Seifert, Okita & Heinze, 2017: 338; Deyrup, 2017: 55; Salata & Borowiec, 2018c: 44; Sharaf, Fisher, et al. 2018: 18; Rasheed, et al. 2019: 431; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2020: 5.
    • Senior synonym of caparica: Henin, Collingwood & Paiva, 2003: 377; Seifert, Okita & Heinze, 2017: 338.
    • Senior synonym of ectopia: Seifert, 2003: 248; Seifert, Okita & Heinze, 2017: 338.
    • Senior synonym of nitida: Bernard, 1956c: 305; Bolton, 1995b: 132.
    • Distribution [tramp species]
    • Malesian: Indonesia (Lombok).
    • Nearctic: U.S.A.
    • Neotropical: Puerto Rico.
    • Oriental: India, Pakistan.
    • Palaearctic: Afghanistan, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Oman, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.
  • caparica. Leptothorax caparica Henin, Paiva & Collingwood, 2001: 163, figs. 1, 2 (w.) PORTUGAL.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 3 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Portugal: Peninsula of Setúbal, Herdade da Apostiça, 38°32’N, 09°09’W, (J.M. Henin); paratypes with same data.
    • Type-depositories: FUSG (holotype), FUSG, UNLP, WMLC (paratypes).
    • Junior synonym of mauritanica: Henin, Collingwood & Paiva, 2003: 377; Seifert, Okita & Heinze, 2017: 338.
  • ectopia. Cardiocondyla ectopia Snelling, R.R. 1974: 76, figs. 1-5 (w.q. ergatoid m.) U.S.A. (California).
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 282 paratype workers, 17 paratype queens, 3 paratype males.
    • Type-locality: holotype U.S.A: California, Orange County, Seal Beach, 25 ft, 17-24. vii.1972, no. 72-9 (R.R. Snelling); paratypes with same data.
    • Type-depositories: LACM (holotype); AMNH, LACM, MCZC, USNM (paratypes).
    • Status as species: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1375; Snelling, R.R. & George, 1979:117; Kugler, J. 1984: 12; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Mackay, 1995: 171 (in key).
    • Junior synonym of mauritanica: Seifert, 2003a: 248; Seifert, Okita & Heinze, 2017: 338.
  • nitida. Cardiocondyla emeryi subsp. nitida Bernard, 1948: 142 (w.) LIBYA.
    • Type-material: 2 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Libya: nr Brak, v.1945 (F. Bernard).
    • Type-depository: MNHN.
    • Subspecies of emeryi: Bernard, 1953a: 148.
    • Junior synonym of mauritanica: Bernard, 1956c: 305; Bolton, 1995b: 132.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Seifert (2003) - Throughout the cosmopolitan range of C. mauritanicas only minor variation in morphometry is detectable. C. mauritanica specimens from India (Punjab, Himachal Pradesh) have a slightly narrower postpetio1e and slightly shorter spines. Furthermore, there is a certain trend from NW Africa east to India to have the petiole node lower and more rounded in profile (not quadrate as in the Tunisian type population).

The Old World population and the American population (the synonomized Cardiocondyla ectopia) are almost identical in body shape, surface structures, and morphometry. In both workers and gynes the American specimens are fully within the range and very close to the mean values of Old World C. mauritanica though weak statistic differences are detectable in worker petiole width and strength of sculpture (see above). Conspecifity is further indicated by the high similarity of the characteristic ergatoid males from typical C. mauritanica and C. ectopia populations and by mDNA data (Trindl and Heinze, pers. comm., October 2002).



Seifert (2003) - Head elongated, CL/CW 1.183. Postocular index large, PoOc/CL 0.447. Eyes relatively small, EYE 0.232. Frontal carinae immediately caudal of the FRS level parallel or only very slightly converging. Foveolae on vertex not separated by interspaces, deeply impressed, with 17 - 22 ϻm diameter and on paramedian vertex usually without inner corona. Longitudinal sculpture on vertex relatively well developed but obscured by their merging with strong foveolar margins. Median vertex and frontal laminae finely longitudinally carinulate; clypeus with few longitudinal rugae. Whole mesosoma usually with well-developed microreticulum, but less strong than in C. nuda; samples with weak mesosomal microsculpture, meaning mildly shining overall surface appearance, may occur locally throughout the range. Metapleuron laterally longitudinally rugulose. Surface of 1st gaster tergite completely glabrous, a delicate microreticulum, as present in C. nuda and C. paranuda, is absent, but fragmentary reticulate structures may occur. Metanotal groove more or less shallow. Spines short and blunt. Petiole narrow, PEW/CS 0.265, node slightly longer than wide. Postpetiole relatively narrow, roughly hexagonal in dorsal aspect, with completely flat stemite, and distinctly lower than petiole, PEH/PPH 1.146 ± 0.034 [1.057 - 1.256]. Colour variable. Typically, dorsal head dark brown, mesosoma and waist orange brown, gaster dark to blackish brown. Lighter brown or, on the other hand, concolorous blackish brown samples may locally occur throughout the range.


Seifert (2003) - Head of medium length, CL/CW 1.171. Postocular index large, PoOc/CL 0.434. Occipital margin straight or weakly concave. Frontal carinae diverging caudad. Head sculpture comparable to worker. Whole dorsal area of meso soma densely and deeply foveolate; lateral area of mesosoma with longitudinal rugosity superimposing the microreticulum. Spines short and blunt. Shape of waist similar to worker but segments slightly wider and higher. Postpetiole significantly lower than petiole, PEH/PPH 1.154 ± 0.036 [1.089, 1.230]. Dorsal area of head, dorsal area of mesosoma, and gaster in typical case dark to blackish brown, lateral area of mesosoma and petiole lighter brown. Concolorous dark brown or lighter brown specimens may occur.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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