Lepisiota frauenfeldi

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Lepisiota frauenfeldi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Lepisiota
Species: L. frauenfeldi
Binomial name
Lepisiota frauenfeldi
(Mayr, 1855)

Lepisiota frauenfeldi casent0188701 profile 1.jpg

Specimen labels



Keys including this Species


Although its origin seems Palaearctic, this species is more densely distributed in the Mediterranean area and the Middle East and has been introduced on some islands of the Afrotropical, Indo-Malayan and Nearctic region as well as in the Australasia region (Guénard et al., 2017). Schifani et al. (2018) recently discovered it in the Canary Islands of Tenerife and Fuerteventura. In our sampling, it was also detected on Lanzarote and La Gomera as well as the islands where it was previously reported (Hernandez-Teixidor et al., 2020).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Réunion.
Oriental Region: India, Sri Lanka.
Palaearctic Region: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Balearic Islands, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Israel, Malta, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia, Spain, Turkey.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Sorger et al. (2016) - In 2005, this species was discovered at the airport in Guam and subsequently eradicated (Hoffmann et al. 2011). In 2013, it was found covering a 60-ha area around Perth, Australia, airport, where it may have arrived 5 years earlier, and a year later a 10-ha outbreak was located 6km away in the suburb of Belmont. While these Perth populations have been eradicated, in 2016 another infestation of this species led to the partial shut-down of the port of Darwin, Australia (Mark Widmer, pers. comm.).

Lepisiota frauenfeldi is considered an invasive species (FAO, 2018), which eats and displaces native ant species, as well as other insects in the infested area (Commonwealth of Australia, 2019). In Australia, it is a serious environmental pest (Commonwealth of Australia, 2019) and currently is under national eradication there (Commonwealth of Australia, 2018) (Hernandez-Teixidor et al., 2020).



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

  • frauenfeldi. Hypoclinea frauenfeldi Mayr, 1855: 378 (w.) YUGOSLAVIA. Roger, 1859: 243 (q.); Emery, 1878b: 46 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1968: 209 (l.). Combination in Acantholepis: Mayr, 1861: 42; in Lepisiota: Baroni Urbani, Bolton & Ward, 1992: 303. Senior synonym of azerbeidzhanica, caucasica: Arakelian, 1994: 81. Current subspecies: nominal plus aegyptiaca, atlantis, barbara, ferganica, integra, kantarensis, kassansai, libanica, marocana, pubescens, saharensis, truncata, variabilis, velox. See also: Bingham, 1903: 316; Santschi, 1917d: 42; Tohmé, H. 1981: 1; Atanassov & Dulssky, 1992: 205.
  • azerbeidzhanica. Acantholepis frauenfeldi var. azerbeidzhanica Karavaiev, 1932: 250, fig. 1 (w.) AZERBAIJAN. Combination in Lepisiota: Bolton, 1995b: 226. Junior synonym of frauenfeldi: Arakelian, 1994: 81.



  • Arakelian, G. R. 1994. Fauna of the Republic of Armenia. Hymenopterous insects. Ants (Formicidae). Erevan: Gitutium, 153 pp. (page 81, Senior synonym of azerbeidzhanica and caucasica)
  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 205, see also)
  • Baroni Urbani, C.; Bolton, B.; Ward, P. S. 1992. The internal phylogeny of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 17: 301-329 (page 303, Combination in Lepisiota)
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 316, see also)
  • Commonwealth of Australia (2018). National Invasive Ant Biosecurity Plan 2018–2028. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian Government.
  • Commonwealth of Australia (2019). National pest & disease outbreaks. Browsing ant. Retrieved from https://www.outbreak.gov.au/curre nt-responses-to-outbreaks/browsing-ant.
  • Emery, C. 1878b. Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte seconda. Formiche dell'Europa e delle regioni limitrofe in Africa e in Asia. [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 12: 43-48 (page 46, male described)
  • Hernández-Teixidor, D., Pérez-Delgado, A.J., Daniel Suárez, D., Reyes-López, J. 2020. Six new non-native ants (Formicidae) in the Canary Islands and their possible impacts. Journal of Applied Entomology 00:1–8 (doi:10.1111/jen.12751).
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 378, worker described)
  • Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp. (page 42, Combination in Acantholepis)
  • Roger, J. 1859. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Ameisenfauna der Mittelmeerländer. I. Berl. Entomol. Z. 3: 225-259 (page 243, queen described)
  • Santschi, F. 1917d. Acantholepis Frauenfeldi Mayr et ses variétés. Bull. Soc. Hist. Nat. Afr. Nord 8: 42-48 (page 42, see also)
  • Schifani, E., Gentile, V., Scupola, A., Espadaler, X. 2018. Yet another alien: a second species of Lepisiota spreading across the Canary Islands, Spain (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Fragmenta entomologica, 50: 61-64.
  • Sorger, D.M., Booth, W., Wassie Eshete, A., Lowman, M., Moffett, M.W. 2016. Outnumbered: a new dominant ant species with genetically diverse supercolonies in Ethiopia. Insectes Sociaux (doi:10.1007/s00040-016-0524-9).
  • Tohmé, H. 1981. Écologie et biologie de la reproduction de la fourmi Acantholepis frauenfeldi, Mayr (Hymenoptera, Formicoidae, Formicinae). Publ. Univ. Liban. Sect. Sci. Nat. 12: 1-197 (page 1, see also)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1968a. The ant larvae of the subfamily Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): supplement. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 61: 205-222 (page 209, larva described)