Dorylus nigricans

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Dorylus nigricans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Dorylus
Species: D. nigricans
Binomial name
Dorylus nigricans
Illiger, 1802

Dorylus nigricans casent0172641 profile 1.jpg

Dorylus nigricans casent0172641 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Despite some taxonomic confusion, this species appears to be extremely common and widely distributed across sub-Saharan forests (Taylor et al., 2018).


A member of the Dorylus nigricans-group.


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 12.65° to -20.45°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Benin, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone (type locality), United Republic of Tanzania.

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.


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 associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Hexacantherophora cohabitans (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Psyllomyia macropygidia (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Psyllomyia megophthalma (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Psyllomyia sinupennata (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Puliciphora karensis (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a host for the phorid fly Megaselia sp. Q (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).
  • This species is a host for the phorid fly Megaselia sp. R (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 1,036,800 (Vosseler, 1905; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: group hunter (Vosseler, 1905; Beckers et al., 1989)



Images from AntWeb

Dorylus nigricans casent0172642 head 1.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172642 profile 1.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172642 dorsal 1.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172642 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0172642. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Dorylus nigricans casent0172643 head 1.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172643 profile 1.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172643 dorsal 1.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172643 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0172643. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Dorylus nigricans casent0172641 profile 2.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172641 profile 3.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172641 dorsal 2.jpgDorylus nigricans casent0172641 dorsal 3.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0172641. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Relationships among selected Dorylus species based on Kronauer et al. (2007).


Dorylus laevigatus

Dorylus conradti

Dorylus orientalis

Dorylus fimbriatus laevipodex

Dorylus fulvus

Dorylus spininodis

Dorylus mayri

Dorylus nigricans rubellus

Dorylus nigricans molestus

Dorylus nigricans terrificus

Dorylus wilverthi

Dorylus nigricans burmeisteri

Dorylus nigricans sjostedti

Dorylus nigricans arcens

Dorylus nigricans

Dorylus emeryi

Dorylus gerstaeckeri

Dorylus gribodoi

Dorylus kohli

Dorylus emeryi opacus

Dorylus braunsi

Dorylus affinis

Dorylus helvolus


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

  • nigricans. Dorylus nigricans Illiger, 1802: 188 (m.) SIERRA LEONE.
    • Type-material: holotype male.
    • Type-locality: Sierra Leone.
    • Type-depository: unknown (“Hellwig’s collection”).
    • Mayr, 1896: 225 (w.); Forel, 1912j: 177 (q.); Santschi, 1930a: 55 (s.w.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1984: 268 (l.).
    • Combination in D. (Anomma): Emery, 1895j: 710;
    • combination in Anomma: Menozzi, 1942: 165.
    • Status as species: Fabricius, 1804: 427; Jurine, 1807: 281 (in text); Latreille, 1809: 124; Latreille, 1817b: 556; Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau, 1835: 228; Shuckard, 1840b: 271; Westwood, 1842: 79; Guérin-Méneville, 1849: 353; Smith, F. 1859b: 2; Mayr, 1863: 408; Roger, 1863b: 41; Gerstäcker, 1871: 355; Ritsema, 1874: 182; Emery, 1892c: liv; Emery, 1892d: 555; Dalla Torre, 1893: 12; André, 1895a: 5; Emery, 1895j: 710; Mayr, 1896: 225; Emery, 1901c: 196 (in key); Forel, 1901h: 47; Mayr, 1904b: 1; Forel, 1907e: 15; Mayr, 1907b: 7; Forel, 1909b: 51; Santschi, 1910c: 352; Emery, 1910b: 12; Stitz, 1910: 128; Forel, 1910c: 248; Forel, 1911d: 362; Forel, 1911f: 275; Santschi, 1912b: 156 (in key); Forel, 1912j: 177; Forel, 1913b: 311; Forel, 1913h: 348; Santschi, 1914b: 62; Santschi, 1914d: 332; Forel, 1914d: 216; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 46, 737; Menozzi, 1927f: 356; Santschi, 1930a: 55; Karavaiev, 1931d: 42; Santschi, 1937b: 95; Weber, 1943c: 288; Bernard, 1953b: 218; Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 70, 86 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 179; Hita Garcia, et al. 2013: 204.
    • Distribution: Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania (+ Zanzibar), Uganda.
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus arcens, burmeisteri, molestus, pallidus, rubellus, sjoestedti, sjostedtiwilverthi, terrificus.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • André E. 1895. Formicides de l'Ogooué (Congo français). Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 14: 1-5.
  • Baroni Urbani C. 1977. Katalog der Typen von Formicidae (Hymenoptera) der Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Basel (2. Teil). Mitt. Entomol. Ges. Basel (n.s.) 27: 61-102.
  • Bernard F. 1953. La réserve naturelle intégrale du Mt Nimba. XI. Hyménoptères Formicidae. Mémoires de l'Institut Français d'Afrique Noire 19: 165-270.
  • Borowiec L., and S. Salata. 2018. Notes on ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Gambia (Western Africa). Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom Entomology 26: 1-13.
  • Borowiec M. L. 2016. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dorylinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 608: 1–280.
  • Emery C. 1892. Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud dans le territoire d'Assinie (Afrique occidentale) en juillet et août 1886. Formicides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 60: 553-574.
  • Emery C. 1892. [Untitled. From table of contents: Sur une fourmi nouvelle d'Assinie et remarques sur les Dorylides d'Afrique.]. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. (Bull.) 61:liii-lv.
  • Emery C. 1895. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 8: 685-778.
  • Emery C. 1910. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Dorylinae. Genera Insectorum 102: 1-34.
  • Ewuim S. C., M. A. Badejo, and O. O. Ajayi. 1997. Ants of forest and fallow plots in Nigeria. Biotropica 29(1): 93-99.
  • Forel A. 1910. Ameisen aus der Kolonie Erythräa. Gesammelt von Prof. Dr. K. Escherich (nebst einigen in West-Abessinien von Herrn A. Ilg gesammelten Ameisen). Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 29: 243-274.
  • Forel A. 1913. Formicides du Congo Belge récoltés par MM. Bequaert, Luja, etc. Revue Zoologique Africaine (Brussels). 2: 306-351.
  • Forel A. 1913. Quelques fourmis du Musée du Congo Belge (1). Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 57: 347-359.
  • Forel A. 1914. Formicides d'Afrique et d'Amérique nouveaux ou peu connus. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 50: 211-288.
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Kone M., S. Konate, K. Yeo, P. K. Kouassi, and K. E. Linsenmair. 2012. Changes in ant communities along an age gradient of cocoa cultivation in the Oumé region, central Côte d'Ivoire. Entomological Science 15: 324–339.
  • Medler J. T. 1980: Insects of Nigeria - Check list and bibliography. Mem. Amer. Ent. Inst. 30: i-vii, 1-919.
  • Menozzi C. 1927. Raccolte mirmecologiche dell'Africa orientale conservate nel Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria di Genova. Parte I. Formiche raccolte dal Marchese Saverio Patrizi nella Somalia italiana ed in alcune località dell'Africa orientale inglese. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria. 52: 356-362.
  • Menozzi C. 1930. Formiche della Somalia italiana meridionale. Memorie della Società Entomologica Italiana. 9: 76-130.
  • Nousiainen A. 2017. Leaf litter ants in indigenous rainforest and coniferous plantations of the Taita Hills, Kenya. Master Thesis University of Helsinki, 53 pages.
  • Santschi F. 1910. Formicides nouveaux ou peu connus du Congo français. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 78: 349-400.
  • Stitz H. 1910. Westafrikanische Ameisen. I. Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum in Berlin 5: 125-151.
  • Tadu Z., C. Djieto-Lordon, R. Babin, Yede, E. B. Messop-Youbi, and A. Fomena. 2013. Influence of insecticide treatment on ant diversity in tropical agroforestry system: some aspect of the recolonization process. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 5(12): 832-844.
  • Taylor B. 1980. Ants of the Nigerian Forest Zone (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). V. Dorylinae, Leptanillinae. Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria Research Bulletin 8: 1-33.
  • Taylor B., N. Agoinon, A. Sinzogan, A. Adandonon, Y. N'Da Kouagou, S. Bello, R. Wargui, F. Anato, I. Ouagoussounon, H. Houngbo, S. Tchibozo, R. Todjhounde, and J. F. Vayssieres. 2018. Records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Republic of Benin, with particular reference to the mango farm ecosystem. Journal of Insect Biodiversity 8(1): 006–029.
  • Weber N. A. 1943. The ants of the Imatong Mountains, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 93: 263-389.
  • Weissflog, A., E. Sternheim, W.H.O. Dorow, S. Berghoff and U. Maschwitz. 2000. How to study subterranean army ants: a novel method for locating and monitoring field populations of the South East Asian army ant Dorylus (Dichthadia) laevigatus Smith, 1857 (Formicidae, Dorylinae) with observations on their ecology. Insectes Sociaux 47:317-234
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VIII. A synonymic list of the ants of the Ethiopian region. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45: 711-1004
  • Yeo K., S. Konate, S. Tiho, and S. K. Camara. 2011. Impacts of land use types on ant communities in a tropical forest margin (Oumé - Cote d'Ivoire). African Journal of Agricultural Research 6(2): 260-274.