Diacamma indicum

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Diacamma indicum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Diacamma
Species: D. indicum
Binomial name
Diacamma indicum
Santschi, 1920

Diacamma indicum casent0260416 p 1 high.jpg

Diacamma indicum casent0260416 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species is native to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced into southern Japan.

At a Glance • Gamergate  • Tandem running  

Photo Gallery

  • Diacamma indicum gamergate. Note the gemma (plural, gemmae), the small oval bulge immediately behind the posterior margin of the pronotum. Photo by Manoj Vembayam.



Terayama et al. (2014) name the single species known from Japan as D. indicum. This is consistent with the molecular data of Viginier et al. (2004) that suggest a human-mediated introduction from India to the Ryukyu islands, Japan.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 12.01666667° to 6.501666667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: Bangladesh, India (type locality), Sri Lanka.
Palaearctic Region: Japan.

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.


Kolay and Sumana (2015) - Diacamma indicum is a primitively eusocial ponerine ant reported from the eastern and southern parts of India and Sri Lanka. Their colony size is small and varies from 20–300 monomorphic adults with a single reproductive individual. The colony size remains largely constant throughout the year and there is no drastic reduction in brood content during monsoon. Colonies of D. indicum had been reported to inhabit simple ground nests consisting of a single chamber which is connected to the exterior by a tunnel.

Investigations of their nesting behavior, especially regarding their potential adaptations to seasonal flooding, is reported in this study. Monsoons, presenting a seasonal rather than persistent flooding risk, are dealt with by occupying shallow nests and modifying the entrance with decorations and soil mounds. When nests are inundated they are evacuated and the ants occupy shelters at higher elevations. Nests were less likely to be found in the ground during monsoon season (25.6% of nests subterranean). Nests instead were found in tree trunks (25.6%), hollows of bamboo stems (18.6%), cracks in brick piles (18.6%), fallen logs (4.7%) and other opportunistic nesting sites (7%). Beyond the monsoon season, a majority of nests are subterranean (70.3% nests pre-monsoon and 82.8% post-monsoon).

Viginier et al. (2004) - D. indicum differs from previously studied Diacamma species in various ecological characteristics that are expected to result in higher dispersal rates and/or colonization abilities:

1) Even though Diacamma ants typically nest underground in open areas, D. indicum is more opportunistic with regard to its nesting preferences. We observed typical underground nests, but also nests under stones, in abandoned rice paddies, in fissures of walls in an ancient fort and even in tree branches. Related to this opportunistic nesting habit, the nests of D. indicum are generally shallow, with little signs of construction. 2) Colonies of D. indicum are small (88 ± 62 workers, N = 11) and are prone to emigrate. Nest relocation can be triggered by slight physical disturbance of the nests, whereas in the other Diacamma species from the south of India, workers retreat to the deeper chambers when the nest is disturbed. 3) D. indicum has a larger distribution area relative to other species. Indeed, D. indicum has been found in a large part of southern India and in Sri Lanka, as well as in the north (near Calcutta), whereas the other Diacamma species from the south of India appear geographically restricted to small and nonoverlapping areas. In contrast, D. indicum can be sympatric with other Diacamma species.

Diacamma indicum exhibits various life history traits (see above) suggesting higher dispersal abilities than the other Diacamma species. Only 4 of 11 microsatellites were polymorphic and only 1 had more than 4 alleles over 166 individuals originating from 7 populations from the south of India (Viginier et al. 2004). Only one mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotype was detected throughout India (including one population in the north) and Sri Lanka. Such a level of polymorphism is exceedingly low compared with other Diacamma species having much smaller ranges in the south of India. Such species exhibited strong genetic differentiation between populations separated by more than a few kilometres. We also analysed the genetic differentiation between the Indian populations and two populations from the Japanese island of Okinawa, which are morphologically similar (e.g. male genitalia, W.L. Brown unpublished monograph) and apparently belong to the same species. The genetic differentiation was high for both markers, suggesting an absence of ongoing gene flow between these populations.


Images from AntWeb

Diacamma indicum casent0907229 h 1 high.jpgDiacamma indicum casent0907229 p 1 high.jpgDiacamma indicum casent0907229 d 1 high.jpgDiacamma indicum casent0907229 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Diacamma indicumWorker. Specimen code casent0907229. Photographer Z. Lieberman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MHNG, Geneva, Switzerland.


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

  • indicum. Diacamma rugosum var. indica Santschi, 1920g: 179 (w.) INDIA. [First available use of Diacamma rugosum r. vagans var. indicum Forel, 1903d: 400; unavailable name.] Junior synonym of vagans: Mukerjee & Ribeiro, 1925: 205. Revived from synonymy and raised to species: Doums, 1999: 1958.



  • n = 7, 2n = 14 (India) (Karnik et al., 2010; Mariano et al., 2015).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Chapman, J. W., and Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327
  • Dias R. K. S., H. P. G. R. C. Ruchirani, K. R. K. A. Kosgamage, and H. A. W. S. Peiris. 2013. Frequency of nest occurrence and nest density of Aneuretus simoni Emery (Sri Lankan Relict Ant) and other ant fauna in an abandoned rubber plantation (Kirikanda Forest) in southwest Sri Lanka. Asian Myrmecology 5: 59-67.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Forel A. 1903. Les fourmis des îles Andamans et Nicobares. Rapports de cette faune avec ses voisines. Rev. Suisse Zool. 11: 399-411.
  • Forel A. 1911. Ameisen aus Ceylon, gesammelt von Prof. K. Escherich (einige von Prof. E. Bugnion). Pp. 215-228 in: Escherich, K. Termitenleben auf Ceylon. Jena: Gustav Fischer, xxxii + 262 pp.
  • Forel, A. 1908. Fourmis de Ceylan et d'Égypte récoltées par le Prof. E. Bugnion. Lasius carniolicus. Fourmis de Kerguelen. Pseudandrie? Strongylognathus testaceus. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 44: 1-22
  • Terayama M., S. Kubota, and K. Eguchi. 2014. Encyclopedia of Japanese ants. Asakura Shoten: Tokyo, 278 pp.
  • Viginier B., C. Peeters, L. Brazier, and C. Doums. 2004. Very low genetic variability in the Indian queenless ant Diacamma indicum. Molecular Biology 13: 2095-2100.
  • Yamane S. 2016. How many species of Ants in Amami Islands? (in Japanese). Part 2, chapter 1 in How many species of Ants in Amami Islands? Pp. 92-132.