Dorylus wilverthi

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Dorylus wilverthi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Dorylus
Species: D. wilverthi
Binomial name
Dorylus wilverthi
Emery, 1899

Dorylus wilverthi casent0172657 profile 1.jpg

Dorylus wilverthi casent0172657 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


A sub-Sarahan driver ant.


A member of the Dorylus nigricans-group.


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 3.73503° to -4.416666667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (type locality), Ivory Coast, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda.

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 wilverthi 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 nigricans molestus (Garcia et al., 2009; Peters & Okalo, 2009; Kronauer et al., 2011; Peters et al., 2011). Dorylus wilverthi mainly inhabits intact rainforest habitat (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 pseudokohli (a associate (details unknown)) (Quevillon, 2018).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous; polygynous; secondarily polygynous;facultatively polygynous;oligogynous (Raignier & van Boven, 1955; Mizuno et al., 2021)
  • Queen type: dichthadiiform (Raignier & van Boven, 1955; Mizuno et al., 2021)
  • Mean colony size: 10,000,000-20,000,000 (Raignier & van Boven, 1955; Beckers et al., 1989; Mizuno et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: group hunter (Raignier & van Boven, 1955; Beckers et al., 1989)


Butler et al. (2018) found this ant and the co-occuring Dorylus nigricans molestus 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.


Images from AntWeb

Dorylus wilverthi casent0172860 head 1.jpgDorylus wilverthi casent0172860 profile 1.jpgDorylus wilverthi casent0172860 profile 2.jpgDorylus wilverthi casent0172860 dorsal 1.jpgDorylus wilverthi casent0172860 dorsal 2.jpgDorylus wilverthi casent0172860 dorsal 3.jpgDorylus wilverthi casent0172860 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0172860. 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.

  • wilverthi. Dorylus (Anomma) wilverthi Emery, 1899e: 459, fig. (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-localities: Democratic Republic of Congo: Leopoldville (= Kinshasa) (Wilverth), and Unangi (Wilverth).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • [Misspelled as wilwerthi by Forel, 1909b: 51, Santschi, 1910c: 352, and others.]
    • Forel, 1909b: 51 (m.); Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 86 (q.), 115 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. 1943: 321 (l.).
    • Status as species: Emery, 1901c: 185; Wasmann, 1904b: 674; Forel, 1909b: 51, 70; Stitz, 1910: 128; Santschi, 1910c: 352; Santschi, 1912b: 155 (in key); Forel, 1912j: 177; Forel, 1913b: 311; Forel, 1913h: 348; Forel, 1916: 402; Stitz, 1916: 373; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 48, 742; Santschi, 1939c: 7; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1984: 268; Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 58 (redescription), 86 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 181; Hita Garcia, et al. 2013: 204.
    • Senior synonym of nigritarsis: van Boven, 1972: 144; Bolton, 1995b: 181.
    • Senior synonym of nomadas: Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 93; Bolton, 1995b: 181.
    • Distribution: Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya.
  • nigritarsis. Dorylus nigritarsis Strand, 1911: 118 (q.) CAMEROON.
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: Cameroon: Mowange, nr Bibundi (C. Feldmann).
    • Type-depository: NMSW.
    • Combination in D. (Anomma): Santschi, 1915c: 248.
    • Junior synonym of nigricans: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 737.
    • Junior synonym of wilverthi: van Boven, 1972: 144; Bolton, 1995b: 179.
  • nomadas. Dorylus (Anomma) nomadas Santschi, 1935a: 254, fig. 1 (q.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.
    • Type-material: holotype queen (“captured without workers”).
    • Type-locality: Democratic Republic of Congo (“Congo belge”): (no further data but Santschi adds, “most probably Mayumbe”) (Gilson).
    • Type-depository: MRAC.
    • Junior synonym of wilverthi: Raignier & van Boven, 1955: 93; Bolton, 1995b: 180.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Borowiec M. L. 2016. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dorylinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). ZooKeys 608: 1–280.
  • Forel A. 1909. Fourmis du Musée de Bruxelles. Fourmis de Benguela récoltées par M. Creighton Wellman, et fourmis du Congo récoltées par MM. Luja, Kohl et Laurent. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 53: 51-73.
  • Forel A. 1913. Formicides du Congo Belge récoltés par MM. Bequaert, Luja, etc. Revue Zoologique Africaine (Brussels). 2: 306-351.
  • Forel A. 1916. Fourmis du Congo et d'autres provenances récoltées par MM. Hermann Kohl, Luja, Mayné, etc. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 24: 397-460.
  • Hita Garcia F., E. Wiesel, G. Fischer. 2013. The ants of Kenya (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)—faunal overview, first species checklist, bibliography, accounts for all genera, and discussion on taxonomy and zoogeography. Journal of East African Natural History 101: 127-222.
  • Hita Garcia, F., G. Fischer, M.K. Peters, R.R. Snelling and H.W. Wagele. 2009. A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Kakamega Forest (Kenya). Journal of East African Natural HIstory 98(2): 147-165.
  • Ross S. R. P. J., F. Hita Garcia, G. Fischer, and M. K. Peters. 2018. Selective logging intensity in an East African rain forest predicts reductions in ant diversity. Biotropica 1-11.
  • 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.
  • Stitz H. 1916. Formiciden. Ergebnisse der Zweiten Deutschen Zentral-Afrika Expedition 1: 369-405.
  • Wheeler G. C. 1943. The larvae of the army ants. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 36: 319-332.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. II. The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45: 39-269.
  • 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