Dinomyrmex gigas

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Dinomyrmex gigas
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Dinomyrmex
Species: D. gigas
Binomial name
Dinomyrmex gigas
(Latreille, 1802)

Camponotus gigas L.jpg

Camponotous-gigas Dorsal.jpg

Specimen Label


Photo Gallery

  • Worker of D. gigas retrieving a cricket. From Maliau, Sabah. Photo by Christian Peeters.
  • Minor worker from Danum Valley, Sabah. Photo by Steve Shattuck.
  • Nest of D. gigas in a rotting log on the ground. The ants have used soil and debris to build a wall and close off the entrance (partially broken in photo). From Maliau, Sabah. Photo by Christian Peeters.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines.
Oriental Region: Thailand.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Monogynous (i.e. one queen) colonies. Established colonies have tens of thousands of workers distributed in 8-14 underground nests that are 10-20 meters apart (i.e. polydomy) (Pfeiffer & Linsenmair 1998, 2000).

Diet is mostly honeydew as well as insect prey, bird droppings and other excrements (Pfeiffer & Linsenmair 2007).


This species is a host for the fungus Ophiocordyceps halabalaensis (a pathogen) (Araujo et al., 2018).


One large colony studied in Kinabalu (Sabah) consisted of 87.3% workers or "minors" (mean weight was 135mg) and 12.7% soldiers or "majors" (mean weight 372mg) (Pfeiffer & Linsenmaier 2000).

Bimodal distribution of 948 workers ("minors") and 137 soldiers ("majors") in D. gigas. From Pfeiffer & Linsenmaier (2000).

Economo-header (arilab.unit.oist.jp).png  X-ray micro-CT scan 3D model of Dinomyrmex gigas (worker) prepared by the Economo lab at OIST.

Head of one of the largest ants in the world, collected from Borneo, Malaysia. See on Sketchfab. See list of 3D images.


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

  • gigas. Formica gigas Latreille, 1802c: 105, pl. 2, fig. 6 (s.) "Grandes-Indes". Smith, F. 1858b: 14 (w.q.m.). Combination in Camponotus: Mayr, 1862: 669; in Dinomyrmex: Ashmead, 1905b: 384; in C. (Myrmogigas): Forel, 1912i: 91; in C. (Dinomyrmex): Forel, 1914a: 268. Combination in Dinomyrmex: Ward, et al., 2016: 350. See also: Bingham, 1903: 369. Current subspecies: nominal plus borneensis.



  • Araújo, J.P.M., Evans, H.C., Kepler, R., Hughes, D.P. 2018. Zombie-ant fungi across continents: 15 new species and new combinations within Ophiocordyceps. I. Myrmecophilous hirsutelloid species. Studies in Mycology 90: 119–160 (DOI 10.1016/j.simyco.2017.12.002).
  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 384, Combination in Dinomyrmex)
  • Baltazar, C. R. 1966. A catalogue of Philippine Hymenoptera (with a bibliography, 1758-1963). Pac. Insects Monogr. 8: 1-488 (page 270, listed)
  • 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 369, see also)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 227, Junior synonym of cruentatus)
  • Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 91, Combination in C. (Myrmogigas))
  • Forel, A. 1914a. Le genre Camponotus Mayr et les genres voisins. Rev. Suisse Zool. 22: 257-276 (page 268, Combination in C. (Dinomyrmex))
  • Latreille, P. A. 1802b. Histoire naturelle générale et particulière des Crustacés et des insectes. Tome 3. Familles naturelles des genres. Paris: F. Dufart, xii + 467 pp. (page 105, pl. 2, fig. 6 soldier described)
  • Leach, W. E. 1825. Descriptions of thirteen species of Formica and three species of Culex found in the environs of Nice. Zool. J. Lond. 2: 289-293 (page 292, worker, queen, male described)
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 669, Combination in Camponotus)
  • Pfeiffer M & Linsenmair KE, 1998. Polydomy and the organization of foraging in a colony of the Malaysian giant ant Camponotus gigas (Hym./ Form.). Oecologia 117 (4): 579-590.
  • Pfeiffer M & Linsenmair KE, 2000. Contributions to the life history of the Malaysian giant ant Camponotus gigas (Hymenoptera / Formicidae). Insectes Sociaux 47 (2): 123-132.
  • Pfeiffer, M. & Linsenmair, K.E. 2007. Trophobiosis in a tropical rainforest on Borneo: Giant ants Camponotus gigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) herd wax cicadas Bythopsyrna circulata (Auchenorrhyncha: Flatidae). Asian Myrmecology, 1, 105–119.
  • Roger, J. 1859. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Ameisenfauna der Mittelmeerländer. I. Berl. Entomol. Z. 3: 225-259 (page 229, Junior synonym of herculeanus)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 14, worker, queen, male described)
  • Ward, P.S., Blaimer, B.B., Fisher, B.L. 2016. A revised phylogenetic classification of the ant subfamily Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with resurrection of the genera Colobopsis and Dinomyrmex. Zootaxa 4072 (3): 343–357 (doi 10.11646/zootaxa.4072.3.4).