Cardiocondyla ulianini

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Cardiocondyla ulianini
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Cardiocondyla
Species: C. ulianini
Binomial name
Cardiocondyla ulianini
Emery, 1889

Cardiocondyla ulianini casent0904461 p 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Biological details about this species were published by Marikovsky and Yakushkin (1974).


Seifert (2003) - A member of the Cardiocondyla bulgarica group. Cardiocondyla ulianini is a characteristic species that differs from the related species Cardiocondyla elegans, Cardiocondyla bulgarica, Cardiocondyla persiana, and Cardiocondyla sahlbergi in both workers and gynes by a much narrower petiole, a much lower SPBA/CS, and smaller vertex foveolae with wider and more shining interspaces. The lower PoOc/CL is an additional difference to C. sahlbergi, C. bulgarica, and C. persiana, the shorter scape and PLG provide further separation from C. elegans. For differences to Cardiocondyla gallilaeica and Cardiocondyla israelica see under those species.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia.
Palaearctic Region: Afghanistan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation (type locality), Ukraine.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Seifert (2003) - Marikovsky & Yakushkin (1974) described the biology of Cardiocondyla ulianini from SE Kazakhstan. The narrow petiole and approached spine base visible in their figures of worker and gyne as well as the sites (lowland semidesert along the middle and lower river Ili) give a high probability for a correct determination. The similar Cardiocondyla littoralis is much rarer in this region and the sympatric Cardiocondyla sahlbergi as the next similar species has a distinctly larger petiole width and spine base distance and is not known from this region. Most probably a misidentification, however, was their “male-like ergatoid gyne” found in a nest of “C. ulianini” near the locality Nikolayevka in the premountain semidesert of the Zailijsky Alatau (Marikovsky & Yakushkin 1974). First of all, they apparently followed Forel's, Emery's and Bernard's tradition of misidentifying an ergatoid male as a gyne. Secondly, this ergatoid male, depicted side by side with an ergatoid male of C. ulianini, most probably belongs to another species. Because of the larger petiole width and spine base distance this male probably belongs to C. sahlhergi.

This is a desert species and, when ground water is very deep, the nest structure can be much more complex with the vertical duct crossing as much as 40 - 50 of such chambers one after the other down to a depth of 1 50 cm. This elaborate vertical structuring ensures direct access to ground water, it enables a free choice of narrow temperature optima during the extreme diurnal temperature changes in the desert, and it provides a protected hibernation during the cold Central Asian winter (Martkovsky & Yakushkin 1974).

My own studies of C. ulianini in Kyrghyztan and Kazakhstan confirmed the statements of Marikovsky & Yakushkin (1974) on habitats, behaviour, nest populations, and general biology with the exception that eclosion of alate gynes may occur already in the beginning of August. Colonies contain less then 500 workers and may have more than one queen. New nests can be formed by fission.



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

  • ulianini. Cardiocondyla elegans var. ulianini Emery, 1889a: 441 (w.) RUSSIA. Karavaiev, 1910b: 57 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953d: 188 (l.); Marikovsky & Yakushin, 1974: 57 (w.q.m., ergatoids). Subspecies of elegans: Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1927d: 38; Pisarski, 1967: 388; Dlussky & Zabelin, 1985: 213. Raised to species: Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 56. Junior synonym of elegans: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 194; Radchenko, 1995b: 449. Revived from synonymy: Seifert, 2003a: 229.

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



Seifert (2003) - Head of medium length (CL/CW 1.149), occipital margin slightly excavated. Postocular distance larger (PoOc/CL 0.410) and scape shorter (SLICS 0.809) than in Cardiocondyla elegans. Clypeus smooth and shining, only with suggestion of microrugae. Very weak and fine rugulae restricted to frontal lobes and frontolateral area of head (genae). Vertex completely without carinulae or microrugae, in overall impression much more shining than in C. elegans, and with smaller foveolae, whose diameter is smaller than width of brilliantly shining interspaces (dFOV 13.8); internal foveolar surface finely microcorrugated and never bicoronate. Frontal carinae weakly converging immediately caudal of the FRS level. Dorsal promesonotum and propodeum glabrous. Promesonotum with scattered and shallow foveolae of 10 - 12 mm diameter. Outer spine base distance much lower than in other species (SPBA/CS 0.236). Petiole narrow (PEW/CW 0.292), its node in dorsal aspect slightly longer than wide. Postpetiole almost twice as wide as petiole and low (PEW/PPW 0.517, PPH/CS 0.279). Postpetiolar sternite with anteromedian portion significantly more bulging than anteroparamedian portion; in lateral view this anteromedian bulge forming small, obtusely-angled, rounded corner and changing into helcium with distinct angle. Colour of head, mesosoma, and gaster varying from pale yellowish brown to blackish brown.


Seifert (2003) - Head of medium length, CL/CW 1.158, occipital margin straight or very weakly concave. Postocular distance smaller than in other species of the C. bulgarica group, PoOc/CL 0.398. Scape much shorter than in Cardiocondyla elegans, SLiCS 0.764. Vertex with shallow, but well demarcated foveolae, foveolar interspaces brilliantly shining, almost without microstructures, and about as wide or slightly wider than foveolar diameter. Vertex and clypeus almost without longitudinal microsculpture except for very weak longitudinal carinulae posterior of and on frontal lobes. Dorsal mesonotum and scutellum with foveolae of 8 – 11 mm diameter and shining interspaces, which are much wider than foveolar diameter. Spines rather long (SP/CS 0.205), their axes diverging in dorsofrontal view by 70° and their bases rather closely-set (SPBA/CS 0.318). Metapleurae with very weak longitudinal rugosity. Petiole narrower than in related species, its node in dorsal view little wider than long and brilliantly shining. Postpetiole node more than twice as wide as median length, with strongly concave anterodorsal margin, its sternite with conspicuous anteromedian corner. Rather concolourous medium brown with yellowish-reddish tinge. Two distinct morphs, microsomatic-brachypterous and macrosomatic-macropterous gynes, differ significantly in mesosoma dimensions and wing size but are equal in any other measurement.

Type Material

Seifert (2003) - Lectotype worker (by present designation) and paralectotype worker, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa, labelled “Turkestan Fedtschenko, mus. Moscou” and “Cardiocondyla elegans var. ulianini Em.”. 1 paralectotype worker (des. by Forel as “Cotype”), Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, labelled “Cardiocondyla elegans var. ulianini Em., Turkestan”.


  • Agosti, D.; Collingwood, C. A. 1987a. A provisional list of the Balkan ants (Hym. Formicidae) and a key to the worker caste. I. Synonymic list. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 60: 51-62 (page 56, Raised to species)
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Soyunov, O. S.; Zabelin, S. I. 1990 [1989]. Ants of Turkmenistan. Ashkhabad: Ylym Press, 273 pp. (page 194, Junior synonym of elegans)
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Zabelin, S. I. 1985. Ant fauna (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the River Sumbar Basin (south-west Kopetdag). Pp. 208-246 in: Nechaevaya, N. T. (ed.) The vegetation and animal world of western Kopetdag. Ashkhabad: Ylym, 278 pp. (page 213, Subspecies of elegans)
  • Emery, C. 1889b. Intorno ad alcune formiche della fauna paleartica. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 27[=(2)(7): 439-443 (page 441, worker described)
  • Karavaiev, V. 1910. Nachtrag zu meinen "Ameisen aus Transcaspien und Turkestan". Rus. Entomol. Obozr. 9: 268-272 (page 57, queen described)
  • Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, N. N. 1927d. Contributions to the knowledge of the myrmecology of Turkestan. II. Rus. Entomol. Obozr. 21: 33-42 (page 38, Subspecies of elegans)
  • Marikovsky, P.I. and V.T. Yakushkin. 1974. Muravyei Cardiocondyla ulianini EM., 1889 i sistematicheskoye polosheniye "parasiticheskovo muravya Xenometra". Isvestiya Akademii Nauk Kazakhskoy SSR, seria biologicheskaya. 3:57-61.
  • Pisarski, B. 1967a. Fourmis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) d'Afghanistan récoltées par M. Dr. K. Lindberg. Ann. Zool. (Warsaw) 24: 375-425 (page 388, Subspecies of elegans)
  • Radchenko, A. G. 1995g. Palearctic ants of the genus Cardiocondyla (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Entomol. Obozr. 74: 447-455 (page 449, Junior synonym of elegans)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1953d. The ant larvae of the myrmicine tribes Melissotarsini, Metaponini, Myrmicariini, and Cardiocondylini. J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 43: 185-189 (page 188, larva described)