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Cataglyphis bicolor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Cataglyphis
Foerster, 1850
Type species
Cataglyphis fairmairei (junior synonym of Formica bicolor)
117 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Cataglyphis bicolor casent0104612 profile 1.jpg

Cataglyphis bicolor

Cataglyphis bicolor casent0104612 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (2 genera)

  (10 genera)

  (9 genera)


  (15 species)

  (282 species)

  (1 species)

  (3 species)

  (29 species)

  (117 species)

  (4 species)

Gesomyrmex, Oecophylla

  (9 genera)

Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella

  (8 genera)

Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Amor and Ortega (2014) - Species of the genus Cataglyphis are among the most conspicuous and characteristic ants of arid and semiarid zones of the Palearctic, which span from Mauritania to the Gobi Desert. They are relatively easy to find because they preferentially occupy open habitats and their workers are large. Various species have drawn the attention of researchers as a result of their diverse and original reproductive strategies (Pearcy et al. 2004, Amor et al. 2011, Leniaud et al. 2012, Peeters and Aron 2017) and their extraordinary adaptations to hot environments, including landmark navigation and foraging activity regulation (Wehner et al. 2006, Collett and Collet 2009, Wehner 2009, Amor et al. 2011b, Mangan and Webb 2012; see Lenoir et al. 2009 as well as Boulay et al. 2017 for reviews of the genus Cataglyphis).


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Keys to Subgenera or Species Groups in this Genus

Keys to Species in this Genus

Species Groups

Agosti (1990)[1] identifies nine species groups.

These species groups were revisited using molecular markers by Aron et al. 2016


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Villalta et al. (2018) examined the phylogeography of Cataglyphis albicans group species in the western Mediterranean basin. Their analysis of the evolutionary history of this group is well informed by a large number of sampled specimens and produced interesting results about the possible timing and modes of speciation within this group.

Association with Other Organisms

All Associate Records for Genus

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Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Cataglyphis bicolor host ant Cataglyphis hannae inquiline
Cataglyphis bicolor host eucharitid wasp Eucharis bedeli parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Cataglyphis bicolor host eucharitid wasp Eucharis bytinskisalzi parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database associate and primary host
Cataglyphis cursor host fungus Aegeritella roussillonensis pathogen Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012
Cataglyphis hannae inquiline ant Cataglyphis bicolor host
Cataglyphis nodus host cricket Myrmecophilus balcanicus myrmecophile Macedonia
Cataglyphis nodus host eucharitid wasp Eucharis microcephala parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Cataglyphis setipes host ant Cataglyphis zakharovi inquiline
Cataglyphis viatica host dermestid beetle Thorictus buigasi myrmecophile Morocco Hava et al., 2012
Cataglyphis zakharovi inquiline ant Cataglyphis setipes host

Flight Period

All Flight Records for Genus

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Taxon Month Source Notes
Cataglyphis cursor Jul Aug Sep
Cataglyphis hispanica Jul Aug Sep
Cataglyphis nodus Jun Jul


Workers are remarkably polymorphic in body size (e.g. Cataglyphis savignyi), although the extent of this variability is species-specific (e.g. Cerda & Retana 1997).

Ergatoid (permanently wingless) queens as well as brachypterous (short-winged) queens are known in multiple unrelated species (Peeters & Aron 2017). Brachypterous queens (e.g. Cataglyphis cretica, Cataglyphis hispanica, Cataglyphis mauritanica, Cataglyphis piliscapa, Cataglyphis velox) shed their non-functional wings soon after eclosion, and their thorax morphology gives the mistaken impression that they are able to fly. However thorax dissections reveal the lack of wing muscles. In Cataglyphis tartessica, ergatoid queens coexist with brachypterous queens (Amor et al. 2011).


Worker Morphology

  • Antennal segment count: 12
  • Antennal club: absent
  • Palp formula: 6,4
  • Total dental count: 5-7
  • Spur formula: 1 simple, 1 simple
  • Eyes: present
  • Scrobes: absent
  • Caste: most monomorphic, a few dimorphic, some with marked size-variation
  • Sting: absent


All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Cataglyphis bicolor 26 Israel; Tunesia Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983
Cataglyphis iberica 26 Spain Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983 as ''C. albicans''
Cataglyphis setipes 52 12M+40A India Imai et al., 1984 at figure subtitle it is mentioned 2n=54 but it may be a mistake since the formula is correct as ''desbribed in the results and the karyotype has ''26 chromosome pairs


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

  • CATAGLYPHIS [Formicinae: Formicini]
    • Cataglyphis Foerster, 1850b: 493. Type-species: Cataglyphis fairmairei (junior synonym of Formica bicolor), by monotypy.
    • Cataglyphis senior synonym of Myrmecocystus: Roger, 1863b: 12; Mayr, 1863: 402.
    • Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus: Forel, 1878: 372; Forel, 1886f: 201; Mayr, 1886d: 424; Karavaiev, 1924: 301.
    • Cataglyphis subgenus of Myrmecocystus: Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 144.
    • Cataglyphis revived from synonymy: Wheeler, W.M. 1913a: 78; Emery, 1925b: 261.
    • Cataglyphis senior synonym of Monocombus: Mayr, 1861: 44; Agosti, 1990b: 1462.
    • Cataglyphis senior synonym of Machaeromyrma: Baroni Urbani, 1969d: 218; Agosti, 1990b: 1462.
    • Cataglyphis senior synonym of Eomonocombus, Paraformica: Agosti, 1990b: 1462.
  • EOMONOCOMBUS [junior synonym of Cataglyphis]
    • Eomonocombus Arnol'di, 1968: 1815 [as subgenus of Cataglyphis]. Type-species: Myrmecocystus cinnamomeus, by original designation.
    • Eomonocombus junior synonym of Cataglyphis: Agosti, 1990b: 1462; Agosti, 1994a: 103.
  • MACHAEROMYRMA [junior synonym of Cataglyphis]
    • Machaeromyrma Forel, 1916: 441 [as subgenus of Cataglyphis]. Type-species: Formica bombycina, by original designation.
    • Machaeromyrma junior synonym of Cataglyphis: Baroni Urbani, 1969d: 218; Agosti, 1994a: 103.
  • MONOCOMBUS [junior synonym of Cataglyphis]
    • Monocombus Mayr, 1855: 381. Type-species: Formica viatica, by monotypy.
    • Monocombus subgenus of Cataglyphis: Santschi, 1929b: 29.
    • Monocombus junior synonym of Myrmecocystus: Forel, 1878: 372; André, 1882b: 165; Mayr, 1886d: 424; Dalla Torre, 1893: 216.
    • Monocombus junior synonym of Cataglyphis: Mayr, 1861: 44; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 944; Emery, 1925b: 261; Agosti, 1990b: 1462; Agosti, 1994a: 103.
  • PARAFORMICA [junior synonym of Cataglyphis]
    • Paraformica Forel, 1915b: 95 (footnote) [as subgenus of Formica]. Type-species: Formica (Paraformica) emmae, by monotypy.
    • Paraformica raised to genus: Emery, 1925b: 260.
    • Paraformica subgenus of Proformica: Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1928a: 7.
    • Paraformica subgenus of Cataglyphis: Santschi, 1925g: 353; Santschi, 1929b: 30.
    • Paraformica junior synonym of Cataglyphis: Agosti, 1990b: 1462; Agosti, 1994a: 103.


  • Agosti, D. 1990b. Review and reclassification of Cataglyphis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). J. Nat. Hist. 2 24: 1457-1505 (page 1457, Review of genus)
  • Agosti, D. 1990b. Review and reclassification of Cataglyphis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). J. Nat. Hist. 2 24: 1457-1505 (page 1462, Cataglyphis senior synonym of Monocombus, Eomonocombus and Paraformica)
  • Agosti, D. 1991. Revision of the oriental ant genus Cladomyrma, with an outline of the higher classification of the Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 16: 293-310 (page 295, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formica genus group)
  • Agosti, D. 1994b. The phylogeny of the ant tribe Formicini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with the description of a new genus. Syst. Entomol. 19: 93-117 (page 93, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formicini)
  • André, E. 1882c. Les fourmis. [part]. Pp. 153-232 in: André, Edm. 1881-1886. Species des Hyménoptères d'Europe et d'Algérie. Tome Deuxième. Beaune: Edmond André, 919 + 48 pp. (page 165, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Aron S, Mardulyn P, Leniaud L. 2016. Evolution of reproductive traits in Cataglyphis desert ants: mating frequency, queen number, and thelytoky. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 70: 1367–1379.
  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1969c. Una nuova Cataglyphis dei Monti dell'Anatolia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Fragm. Entomol. 6: 213-222 (page 218, Cataglyphis senior synonym of Macheromyrma)
  • Beutel, R.G., Richter, A., Keller, R.A., Hita Garcia, F., Matsumura, Y., Economo, E.P., Gorb, S.N. 2020. Distal leg structures of the Aculeata (Hymenoptera): A comparative evolutionary study of (Sphecidae) and (Formicidae). Journal of Morphology 281, 737–753 (doi:10.1002/JMOR.21133).
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 312, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 50, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formicini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 127, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formicini)
  • Bondroit, J. 1918. Les fourmis de France et de Belgique. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 87: 1-174 (page 38, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formicini)
  • Boulay R, Aron S, Cerda X, Doums C, Graham P, Hefetz A, Monnin T. 2017. Social life in arid environments: the case study of Cataglyphis ants Annual Review of Entomology 62: 305–321.
  • Dahbi, A.; Hefetz, A.; Lenoir, A. 2008. Chemotaxonomy of some Cataglyphis ants from Morocco and Burkina Faso. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 36:564-572.
  • Dahbi, A.; Lenoir, A.; Tinaut, A.; Taghizadeh, T.; Francke, W.; Hefetz, A. 1996. Chemistry of the postpharyngeal gland secretion and its implication for the phylogeny of Iberian Cataglyphis species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Chemoecology 7:163-171.
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 216, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Emery, C. 1906f. Rassegna critica delle specie paleartiche del genere Myrmecocystus. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (6)3:47-61 (page 47, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Emery, C. 1908h. Myrmecocystus viaticus et formes voisines. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 44: 213-217 (page 213, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 261, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formicini; Cataglyphis as genus)
  • Emery, C.; Forel, A. 1879. Catalogue des Formicides d'Europe. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 5: 441-481 (page 449, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Foerster, A. 1850b. Eine Centurie neuer Hymenopteren. Zweite Dekade. Verh. Naturhist. Ver. Preuss. Rheinl. Westfal. 7: 485-500 (page 493, Cataglyphis as genus)
  • Forel, A. 1878c. Études myrmécologiques en 1878 (première partie) avec l'anatomie du gésier des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 15: 337-392 (page 372, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Forel, A. 1886h. Études myrmécologiques en 1886. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 30: 131-215 (page 201, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 89, Cataglyphis in Camponotinae, Formicini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 250, Cataglyphis in Camponotinae, Formicini)
  • Karavaiev, V. 1924. Zur Systematik der paläarktischen Myrmecocystus (Formicidae), nebst einigen biologischen Notizen. Konowia 3: 301-308 (page 301, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Knaden, M. et al. 2012. Molecular phylogeny of the desert ant genus Cataglyphis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 16: 123-132.
  • Lorite, P., Palomeque, T. 2010. Karyotype evolution in ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of the known ant chromosome numbers. Myrmecological News 13: 89-102.
  • Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp. (page 44, Cataglyphis in Formicinae [Formicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 653, Cataglyphis in Formicinae (in key)[Formicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1863b. Beitrag zur Orismologie der Formiciden. Arch. Naturgesch. 29(1 1: 103-118 (page 402, Cataglyphis as genus; Cataglyphis senior synonym of Myrmecocystus)
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 8, Cataglyphis in Formicinae [Formicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1886d. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 36: 419-464 (page 424, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus )
  • Peeters C & Aron S. 2017. Evolutionary reduction of female dispersal in Cataglyphis desert ants. Biological J. Linnean Society 122: 58–70.
  • Rabeling, C. 2020. Social Parasitism. In: Starr, C. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Social Insects. Springer, Cham. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_175-1).
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 12, Cataglyphis as ; Cataglyphis senior synonym of Myrmecocystus)
  • Ruzsky, M. 1905b. The ants of Russia. (Formicariae Imperii Rossici). Systematics, geography and data on the biology of Russian ants. Part I. Tr. Obshch. Estestvoispyt. Imp. Kazan. Univ. 38(4-6 6: 1-800 (page 426, Cataglyphis junior synonym of Myrmecocystus)
  • Santschi, F. 1929b. Étude sur les Cataglyphis. Rev. Suisse Zool. 36: 25-70 (page 56, Key to species (out of date))
  • Villalta, I., Amora, F., Galarza, J.A., Dupont, S., Ortega, P., Hefetze, A., Dahbif, A., Cerdáa, X. and R. Boulay. 2018. Origin and distribution of desert ants across the Gibraltar Straits. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 118:122-134. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2017.09.026
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 144, Cataglyphis in Camponotinae, Formicini; Cataglyphis as subgenus of Myrmecocystus)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1913a. Corrections and additions to "List of type species of the genera and subgenera of Formicidae". Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 23: 77-83 (page 78, Cataglyphis revived from synonymy; Cataglyphis as genus)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 699, Cataglyphis in Formicinae, Formicini)
  • Agosti, D. 1990b. Review and reclassification of Cataglyphis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). J. Nat. Hist. 2 24: 1457-1505.