Dinoponera grandis

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Dinoponera grandis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Dinoponera
Species: D. grandis
Binomial name
Dinoponera grandis
Guérin-Méneville, 1838

Dinoponera australis casent0173381 profile 1.jpg

Dinoponera australis casent0173381 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


This species has the smallest colonies (average of 14 workers) in the genus. Reproduction via gamergates, with the complete loss of the queen caste.

At a Glance • Gamergate  

Photo Gallery

  • Dinoponera australis worker, photo by Guilherme Ide.


Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 25.68015° to -30.624°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (type locality), Paraguay (type locality).

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.


Hanisch et al. (2023) - abstract: Social organisms benefit from division of labour and collective behaviours. However, if individuals overlap widely in their efforts, these benefits may not be proportional to the number of individuals that take part in an activity. We examined foraging behaviour and route fidelity in colonies of the ant Dinoponera grandis (formerly Dinoponera australis), a large species with relatively few active foragers that lack nestmate recruitment and chemical trailing behaviour. For 12 colonies, we marked individual foragers and mapped their foraging routes to test the hypothesis that each ant specializes in a particular area around the nest and that this route fidelity increases the overall area covered by the colony. For each individual, we recorded the mean direction and duration of each foraging trip, foraging success and maximal distance from the nest. For each colony, we measured the number of workers and the total foraging area. Additionally, we measured Shannon's entropy to describe foraging behaviour structure of the colonies. Overall, we mapped 272 foraging routes from 95 different foragers. The total area used by each colony averaged 66.2m2. Within colonies, over 68% of foragers exhibited a high degree of route fidelity, with most foragers following different foraging directions. Most colonies had a high Shannon's entropy, suggesting an even exploration of the foraging territory. Our results suggest that D. grandis exhibit route fidelity and high entropy. This strategy likely increases foraging efficiency and search area and may be particularly important for species with relatively few foragers.

=> Worker of Dinoponera grandis and Camponotus vagus (you tube video)

Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.
  • This species is a host for the phorid fly Apocephalus sp. (a parasite) (Brown et al., 2015) (injured).

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 30 (Fowler, 1985; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary forager (Fowler, 1985; Beckers et al., 1989)


LDM Dino 04.jpgLDM Dino 05.jpgLDM Dino 09.jpgLDM Dino 10.jpgLDM Dino 11.jpg


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

  • grandis. Ponera grandis Guérin-Méneville, 1838: 206 (w.) BRAZIL (Minas Gerais).
    • Type-material: holotype (?) worker.
    • [Note (i): no indication of number of specimens is given. Note (ii): Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22, imply that a lectotype was designated by Diller, 1990: 70, but this designation refers only to gigantea Perty, not to grandis Guérin-Méneville.]
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Minas Gerais (“dans la province des Mines”).
    • Type-depository: MNHN.
    • Emery, 1911a: 220 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1986a: 387 (l.).
    • Combination in Dinoponera: Roger, 1861a: 38.
    • Synonym of gigantea: Roger, 1861a: 38; Mayr, 1863: 407; Roger, 1863b: 19; Dalla Torre, 1893: 31; Forel, 1895b: 113; Emery, 1911d: 63; Borgmeier, 1923: 63.
    • [Note: these authors all gave grandis as senior synonym, but gigantea would have priority.]
    • Junior synonym of gigantea: Borgmeier, 1937b: 225; Kempf, 1971: 371; Kempf, 1972a: 97; Bolton, 1995b: 171; Lenhart, et al. 2013: 139.
    • Status as species: Smith, F. 1858b: 95; Roger, 1861a: 38; Mayr, 1862: 730; Mayr, 1863: 407; Roger, 1863b: 19; Dalla Torre, 1893: 31; von Jhering, 1894: 380; Forel, 1895b: 113; Emery, 1896h: 625; Emery, 1901a: 47; Forel, 1904b: 369; Forel, 1908e: 64; Emery, 1911d: 63; Mann, 1916: 408; Luederwaldt, 1918: 35; Borgmeier, 1923: 63; Santschi, 1939f: 160; Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of australis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
    • Senior synonym of brevis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
    • Senior synonym of bucki: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
    • Senior synonym of nigricolor: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
    • Senior synonym of snellingi: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
    • Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay.
  • australis. Dinoponera grandis subsp. australis Emery, 1901a: 48 (w.) BRAZIL (São Paulo), ARGENTINA (Misiones), PARAGUAY.
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Borgmeier, 1937b: 227 (in text)).
    • Type-locality: lectotype Brazil: São Paulo, Avanhandava (no collector’s name) (by restriction of Borgmeier, 1937b: 227).
    • [Note: Lenhart, et al. 2013: 135, record 5 syntypes from the type-locality; other original syntypes are from Argentina: Misiones, 1881 (Berg), Misiones, Giabibiri, iii.1884 (G. Bove), and Paraguay: Rio Apa (Balzan).]
    • Type-depositories: MZSP (lectotype); MSNG (paralectotypes).
    • Santschi, 1921g: 85 (m.); Borgmeier, 1937b: 228 (q.).
    • Subspecies of grandis: Forel, 1907e: 1; Forel, 1909a: 266; Emery, 1911d: 63; Santschi, 1912e: 521; Bruch, 1914: 214; Gallardo, 1918b: 51 (redscription); Santschi, 1921g: 85; Borgmeier, 1923: 63; Santschi, 1929a: 416.
    • Status as species: Borgmeier, 1937b: 227; Kempf, 1971: 382 (redescription); Kempf, 1972a: 96; Zolessi, et al. 1988: 2; Brandão, 1991: 340; Bolton, 1995b: 171; Wild, 2007b: 39; Lenhart, et al. 2013: 135 (redescription); Feitosa, 2015c: 98; Guénard & Economo, 2015: 228; Escárraga, et al. 2017: 134 (in key).
    • Junior synonym of grandis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
  • brevis. Dinoponera australis var. brevis Borgmeier, 1937b: 227.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Paraguay: (no further data) (Reichensperger).
    • Type-depository: NHMB.
    • [First available use of Dinoponera grandis subsp. australis var. brevis Santschi, 1929a: 416 (w.) PARAGUAY; unavailable (infrasubspecific) name.]
    • Junior synonym of australis: Kempf, 1971: 382; Kempf, 1972a: 96; Bolton, 1995b: 171; Lenhart, et al. 2013: 135.
    • Junior synonym of grandis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
  • bucki. Dinoponera australis subsp. bucki Borgmeier, 1937b: 228, figs. 7, 9 (w.m.) BRAZIL (Rio Grande do Sul).
    • Type-material: lectotype male (by designation of Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 23), 2 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: lectotype Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul, Palmeira das Missões, 27.i.1929, no. 4.826 (P. Buck); paralectotypes with same data.
    • Type-depository: MZSP.
    • Subspecies of australis: Kempf, 1971: 386; Kempf, 1972a: 97; Bolton, 1995b: 171; Lenhart, et al. 2013: 135.
    • Junior synonym of grandis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
  • nigricolor. Dinoponera australis subsp. nigricolor Borgmeier, 1937b: 228, figs. 5, 6, 8 (w.q.m.) BRAZIL (Goiás).
    • Type-material: lectotype male (by designation of Kempf, 1971: 387), 6+ paralectotype workers, 1 paralectotype “ergatoid queen”.
    • [Note: Kempf, 1971: 387, points out that the “ergatoid queen” is in fact a mermithergate.]
    • Type-locality: lectotype Brazil: Goyaz (= Goiás), Campinas, 5.v.1933, at light (P.J.S. Schwarzmaier); paralectotypes: 6 workers, 1 “ergatoid” Brazil: Goyaz (= Goiás), Campinas, 6.ii.1936 (R. Spitz), and “several workers from the same locality (Campinas), taken at different times” (P.J.S. Schwarzmaier).]
    • Type-depository: MZSP.
    • Subspecies of australis: Kempf, 1971: 387; Kempf, 1972a: 97; Bolton, 1995b: 171; Lenhart, et al. 2013: 135.
    • Junior synonym of grandis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.
  • snellingi. Dinoponera snellingi Lenhart, et al. 2013: 152, figs. 4D, 4I, 4N, 5B, 7, 9B, 10B, 11B, 13 (m.) BRAZIL (Mato Grosso do Sul).
    • Type-material: holotype male, 2 paratype males.
    • Type-locality: holotype Brazil: Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, 12.x.1989, #12404 (W.P. Mackay); paratypes with same data but 8.x.1989, #12359.
    • Type-depositories: MZSP (holotype); MCZC, WEMC (paratypes).
    • Status as species: Feitosa, 2015c: 98; Escárraga, et al. 2017: 134 (in key).
    • Junior synonym of grandis: Dias, A.M. & Lattke, 2021: 22.

Type Material

Taxonomic Notes

Lenhart et al. (2013), discussing Dinoponera australis bucki - The male coloration difference is the basis for the designation of the subspecies D. australis bucki and D. a. nigricolor. These may be separate species or the product of intra-specific variation, but this cannot be diagnosed here as the types designated by Borgmeier (1937) were not available to us and the extent of intra-specific variation could not be determined from the limited sample size available.

Lenhart et al. (2013), discussing Dinoponera australis nigricolor - The male coloration difference is the basis for the designation of the subspecies D. australis bucki and D. a. nigricolor. These may be separate species or the product of intra-specific variation, but this cannot be diagnosed here as the types designated by Borgmeier (1937) were not available to us and the extent of intra-specific variation could not be determined from the limited sample size available.

Lenhart et al. (2013), discussing Dinoponera snellingi - Male. Specimens of this species are distinct in several respects. The combination of a bicolored body and head possessing bulging compound eyes and ocelli is unique to this species. More definitive is the shape of the aedeagus which possesses a large ventral lobe and finger-like serrated flange. The short broad digitus volsellaris with finely toothed basal lobe is distinctive, as well as the paramere shape.



  • n = 57, 2n = 114 (Brazil) (Santos et al., 2012; Mariano et al., 2015) (as Dinoponera australis).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Billen J. P. J., C. R. F. Brandão, and R. V. S. Paiva. 1995. Morphology and ultrastructure of the pygidial gland of the ant Dinoponera australis (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia (São Paulo) 39: 209-216.
  • Borgmeier T. 1923. Catalogo systematico e synonymico das formigas do Brasil. 1 parte. Subfam. Dorylinae, Cerapachyinae, Ponerinae, Dolichoderinae. Archivos do Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro) 24: 33-103.
  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • Bruch C. 1914. Catálogo sistemático de los formícidos argentinos. Revista del Museo de La Plata 19: 211-234.
  • Caldart V. M., S. Iop, J. A. Lutinski, and F. R. Mello Garcia. 2012. Ants diversity (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the urban perimeter of Chapecó county, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoociências 14 (1, 2, 3): 81-94.
  • Christianini A. V., A. J. Mayhé-Nunes, and P. S. Oliveira. 2012. Exploitation of Fallen Diaspores By Ants: Are There Ant-Plant Partner Choices? Biotropica 44: 360-367.
  • Christianini A. V., and P. S. Oliveira. 2013. Edge effects decrease ant-derived benefits to seedlings in a neotropical savanna. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 7: 191-199.
  • Cuezzo, F. 1998. Formicidae. Chapter 42 in Morrone J.J., and S. Coscaron (dirs) Biodiversidad de artropodos argentinos: una perspectiva biotaxonomica Ediciones Sur, La Plata. Pages 452-462.
  • Emery C. 1901. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 45: 32-54.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Favretto M. A., E. Bortolon dos Santos, and C. J. Geuster. 2013. Entomofauna from West of Santa Catarina State, South of Brazil. EntomoBrasilis 6 (1): 42-63.
  • Fernández F., and T. M. Arias-Penna. 2008. Las hormigas cazadoras en la región Neotropical. Pp. 3-39 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano, F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp.
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  • Gallardo A. 1918. Las hormigas de la República Argentina. Subfamilia Ponerinas. Anales del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Buenos Aires 30: 1-112.
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  • Kempf W. W. 1971. A preliminary review of the ponerine ant genus Dinoponera Roger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 14: 369-394.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
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  • Lenhart, P. A.; Dash, S. T.; and Mackay, W. P. 2013. A revision of the giant Amazonian ants of the genus Dinoponera (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 31: 119-164
  • Lutinski J. A., B. C. Lopes, and A. B. B.de Morais. 2013. Diversidade de formigas urbanas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de dez cidades do sul do Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 13(3): 332-342.
  • Lutinski J. A., F. R. Mello Garcia, C. J. Lutinska, and S. Iop. 2008. Ants diversity in Floresta Nacional de Chapecó in Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Ciência Rural, Santa Maria 38(7): 1810-1816.
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