Dorylus nigricans molestus

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Dorylus nigricans molestus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Dorylus
Species: D. nigricans
Subspecies: D. nigricans molestus
Trinomial name
Dorylus nigricans molestus
(Gerstäcker, 1859)



Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 6.557986° to -20.45°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mozambique (type locality), United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe.

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.


Dorylus nigricans molestus is a driver ant.

Butler et al. (2018) - Driver ant are a group of nomadic swarm-raiding army ants that are restricted to sub-Saharan Africa (Wilson, 1964; Gotwald, 1995). The group is comprised of approximately nine species (Kronauer et al., 2007; Scheoning, 2008) in the subgenus Anomma. Driver ants are top invertebrate predators with extremely large colonies that can contain more than 10 million workers (Gotwald, 1995). Unlike the queens of most other ants, army ant queens are permanently wingless. Instead of going on a mating flight, new queens mate within their natal nest with approximately 10–30 unrelated males that disperse on the wing. In driver ants, mating probably occurs within a 2- to 3-week period before the new queen assumes regnancy of her colony (Kronauer et al., 2004b; Kronauer & Boomsma, 2007), and the mother queen disperses on foot, taking a portion of the existing workers with her (Gotwald, 1995). Colonies of driver ants are monogynous, and queens are highly multiply mated.

In Kakamega Forest, Kenya this species co-occurs with Dorylus wilverthi (Garcia et al., 2009; Peters & Okalo, 2009; Kronauer et al., 2011; Peters et al., 2011). Dorylus molestus occurs in open agricultural habitat and grasslands (Scheoning et al., 2006; Peters & Okalo, 2009; Peters et al., 2009).

Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Aenigmatopoeus orbicularis (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).
  • This species is a associate (details unknown) for the phorid fly Aenigmatopoeus sequax (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).


Butler et al. (2018) found this ant and the co-occuring Dorylus wilverthi hybridize. Their study of the population genetics of naturally occurring colonies concluded: "hybridization is bidirectional and occurs at equal rates in both species. Hybrid workers make up only 1–2% of the population, and successful interspecific matings represent approximately 2% of all matings in both species. This shows that, although interspecific matings that give rise to worker offspring occur regularly, they are much rarer than intraspecific mating. Finally, we find no evidence of an association between hybridization and genetic caste determination in this population. This means that genetic caste determination is not a necessary outcome of hybridization in ants, even in species where queens mate with multiple males.



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.

  • molestus. Anomma molesta Gerstäcker, 1859: 262 (w.) (no state data).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated, “several”).
    • Type-locality: Mozambique: Tette (Peters).
    • Type-depository: MNHU.
    • [Also described as new by Gerstäcker, 1862: 502; type-locality from this reference.]
    • [Misspelled as modestus by Santschi, 1930a: 56.]
    • Menozzi, 1927a: 264 (q.); Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 103 (q.); van Boven, 1972: 135 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. 1943: 322 (l.).
    • Combination in Dorylus (Anomma): Emery, 1895j: 710.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Mayr, 1907b: 7; Santschi, 1912b: 162; Santschi, 1914b: 62; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 739; Santschi, 1930a: 56; Menozzi, 1942: 165; Weber, 1943c: 288; Eidmann, 1944: 426; Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 24, 103; van Boven & Lévieux, 1970: 354.
    • Synonym of stanleyi: Bernard, 1953b: 218.
    • [Note: Bernard, 1953b: 218, gives stanleyi as senior synonym, but molestus has priority.]
    • Status as species: Roger, 1861a: 47; Roger, 1863b: 21; Mayr, 1863: 395; Gerstäcker, 1871: 355.
    • Subspecies of burmeisteri: Emery, 1892d: 554; Dalla Torre, 1893: 9; Wasmann, 1904b: 673.
    • Subspecies of nigricans: Emery, 1895j: 710; Emery, 1910b: 12; Stitz, 1911b: 375; Emery, 1912c: 1; Menozzi, 1927a: 264; Santschi, 1930b: 60; Karavaiev, 1931d: 42; Santschi, 1935b: 264; Santschi, 1937d: 216; Bolton, 1995b: 179; Hita Garcia, et al. 2013: 204.
    • Senior synonym of antinorii: Emery, 1910b: 12; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 739; Bolton, 1995b: 179.
    • [Note: material in copal recorded by DuBois, 1998a: 137.]
    • Distribution: Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
  • antinorii. Alaopone antinorii Emery, 1881a: 275, figs. (w.) ETHIOPIA.
    • Type-material: holotype workers.
    • Type-locality: Ethiopia: Let-Marefia (Antonori).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Combination in Dorylus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 10;
    • combination in D. (Alaopone): Emery, 1895j: 736.
    • Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 10; Emery, 1895j: 736.
    • Junior synonym of molestus: Emery, 1910b: 12; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 739; Bolton, 1995b: 177.

Taxonomic Notes

Kronauer et al. (2007) treat this taxon as a full species rather than a subspecies.