Dolichoderus bidens

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Dolichoderus bidens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Dolichoderini
Genus: Dolichoderus
Species: D. bidens
Binomial name
Dolichoderus bidens
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Dolichoderus bidens casent0217392 p 1 high.jpg

Dolichoderus bidens casent0217392 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


A arboreal ant that dominates the ant community in trees where it is present.

Photo Gallery

  • Foraging Dolichoderus bidens worker. Photo by Taku Shimada.
  • Dolichoderus bidens workers and brood at their leaf nest (with the covering removed). Photo by Taku Shimada.
  • Dolichoderus bidens attacks an injured and weakened Eciton hamatum worker. Photo by Taku Shimada.
  • Dolichoderus bidens leaf nest on Parinari leontopitheci, Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Alex Popovkin.
  • Dolichoderus bidens leaf nest on Parinari leontopitheci, Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Alex Popovkin.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Corbora et al. (2018; see the original paper for noted citations) - The arboreal ant D. bidens is abundant in pioneer formations, secondary forests and plantations [20]. The colonies, of up to a few thousand workers, are polydomous (i.e. multiple nests) with each carton nest built under a host tree leaf. The external part of the nests cover part or all of the adaxial surface of a single leaf or envelop two to a few contiguous leaves [11]. This is an aggressive, territorially dominant arboreal species active 24/7 that hunts insect prey in tree crowns [21]; consequently workers defend the access to their host tree by leaf-cutter ants and army ants at its base (AD, pers. obs.; see [13,14] for Az. chartifex).

In French Guiana, the arboreal nests of the swarm-founding social wasp Protopolybia emortualis (Polistinae) are generally found near those of the arboreal dolichoderine ant Dolichoderus bidens. These wasp nests are typically protected by an envelope, which in turn is covered by an additional carton ‘shelter’ with structure resembling the D. bidens nests. A few wasps constantly guard their nest to keep D. bidens workers from approaching. When alarmed by a strong disturbance, the ants invade the host tree foliage whereas the wasps retreat into their nest. Notably, there is no chemical convergence in the cuticular profiles of the wasps and ants sharing a tree. The aggressiveness of D. bidens likely protects the wasps from army ant raids, but the ants do not benefit from the presence of the wasps; therefore, this relationship corresponds to a kind of commensalism.




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

  • bidens. Formica bidens Linnaeus, 1758: 581 (w.) "America meridionali". Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1951: 173 (l.); Mackay, 1993b: 40 (q.m.). Combination in Hypoclinea: Mayr, 1862: 707; Kempf, 1972a: 119; in Dolichoderus (Hypoclinea): Emery, 1894c: 228; in Dolichoderus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 157; Shattuck, 1992c: 77. Senior synonym of perditor: Roger, 1862b: 285; of auromaculatus: Emery, 1894c: 234; of attenuatus, bahiana: Mackay, 1993b: 40.
  • perditor. Formica perditor Fabricius, 1804: 402 (w.) SOUTH AMERICA. Junior synonym of bidens: Roger, 1862c: 285.
  • auromaculatus. Dolichoderus auromaculatus Forel, 1885a: 350 (q.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of bidens: Emery, 1894c: 234.
  • attenuatus. Dolichoderus bidens r. attenuatus Forel, 1903c: 258 (w.q.) BRAZIL. Combination in Hypoclinea: Kempf, 1972a: 119; in Dolichoderus: Shattuck, 1992c: 77. Junior synonym of bidens: Mackay, 1993b: 40.
  • bahiana. Dolichoderus (Hypoclinea) bidens var. bahiana Santschi, 1921g: 101 (w.) BRAZIL. Combination in Hypoclinea: Kempf, 1972a: 119; in Dolichoderus: Shattuck, 1992c: 77. Junior synonym of bidens: Mackay, 1993b: 40.



  • 2n = 18, karyotype = 6M+12SM (Brazil) (Santos et al., 2016).


  • Corbara, B., P. Servigne, A. Dejean, J. M. Carpenter, and J. Orivel. 2018. A mimetic nesting association between a timid social wasp and an aggressive arboreal ant. Comptes Rendus Biologies. 341:182-188. doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2018.01.006
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 157, Combination in Dolichoderus)
  • Emery, C. 1894d. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. VI-XVI. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 26: 137-241 (page 228, Combination in Dolichoderus (Hypoclinea);page 234, Senior synonym of auromaculatus)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 119, Combination in Hypoclinea)
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae [= Stockholm]: L. Salvii, 824 pp. (page 581, worker described)
  • MacKay, W. P. 1993b. A review of the New World ants of the genus Dolichoderus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 22: 1-148 (page 40, queen, male described; Senior synonym of attenuatus and bahiana)
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 707, Combination in Hypoclinea)
  • Roger, J. 1862c. Synonymische Bemerkungen. 1. Ueber Formiciden. Berl. Entomol. Z. 6: 283-297 (page 285, Senior synonym of perditor)
  • Santos, I.S., Mariano, C.S.F., Delabie, J.H.C., Costa, M.A., Carvalho, A.F., Silva, J.G. 2016. "Much more than a neck": karyotype differentiation between Dolichoderus attelaboides (FABRICIUS, 1775) and Dolichoderus decollatus F. SMITH, 1858 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and karyotypic diversity of five other Neotropical species of Dolichoderus LUND, 1831. Myrmecological News 23: 61-69.
  • Shattuck, S. O. 1992c. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 21: 1-181 (page 77, Combination in Dolichoderus)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1951. The ant larvae of the subfamily Dolichoderinae. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 53: 169-210 (page 173, larva described)