Messor semirufus

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Messor semirufus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Messor
Species group: instabilis
Species complex: semirufus
Species: M. semirufus
Binomial name
Messor semirufus
(André, 1883)

Messor semirufus casent0217877 p 1 high.jpg

Messor semirufus casent0217877 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels




Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 41.9° to 5.583333333°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India.
Palaearctic Region: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Türkiye.

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

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  • This species is a host for the braconid wasp Kollasmosoma platamonense (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (encounter mode primary; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).

Life History Traits

  • Worker-produced males: absent (Tohme (1972) cited in Choe (1988); Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (workers reported to lay fertile (haploid) eggs in queenless colonies but only trophic eggs in queenright colonies)


Images from AntWeb

Messor semirufus casent0907730 h 1 high.jpgMessor semirufus casent0907730 p 1 high.jpgMessor semirufus casent0907730 d 1 high.jpgMessor semirufus casent0907730 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Messor semirufusWorker. Specimen code casent0907730. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MHNG, Geneva, Switzerland.


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

  • semirufus. Aphaenogaster barbara var. semirufa André, 1883b: 355 (w.q.) “margins of the Caspian Sea”, SYRIA, IRAN, ETHIOPIA.
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens (numbers not stated).
    • Type-localities: “Bords de la mer Caspienne, Syrie, Perse (= Iran), Abyssinie (= Ethiopia)”.
    • [Note: countries bordering the Caspian Sea include Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan.]
    • Type-depositories: MHNG, MNHN.
    • Combination in Messor: Emery, 1908e: 447.
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Emery, 1891b: 12; Forel, 1904c: 15; Ruzsky, 1905b: 750; Forel, 1906c: 190; Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1923: 257; Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1929d: 22.
    • Junior synonym of caducus: Dalla Torre, 1893: 100.
    • Subspecies of barbarus: Forel, 1886d: 247; Emery, 1908e: 447 (redescription); Forel, 1910a: 9; Forel, 1910c: 250; Forel, 1911d: 346; Karavaiev, 1911: 3; Forel, 1913d: 427; Santschi, 1914b: 75; Emery, 1915h: 1; Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1916: 170; Santschi, 1917e: 91; Crawley, 1920a: 164; Santschi, 1921a: 110; Emery, 1921f: 72; Emery, 1922c: 96; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 803; Emery, 1922c: 97; Viehmeyer, 1923: 87; Donisthorpe, 1950e: 1060; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 137; Weber, 1952c: 7.
    • Subspecies of instabilis: Santschi, 1923f: 325 (in text); Santschi, 1926f: 287.
    • Status as species: Santschi, 1927c: 227; Finzi, 1929: 82; Finzi, 1930b: 15; Finzi, 1930c: 22; Finzi, 1933: 163; Menozzi, 1933b: 52; Finzi, 1936: 159; Finzi, 1939c: 155; Santschi, 1939c: 6; Finzi, 1940: 158; Collingwood, 1961a: 60; Baroni Urbani, 1964a: 1; Bernard, 1967: 147 (redescription); Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 65; Baroni Urbani, 1974: 226; Aktaç, 1977: 120; Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, H. 1981: 142; Collingwood, 1985: 252; Kugler, J. 1988: 257; Baroni Urbani, Aktaç & Camiltepe, 1989: 300; Bolton, 1995b: 257; Paknia, et al. 2008: 155; Vonshak, et al. 2009: 43; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 20; Borowiec, L. 2014: 111 (see note in bibliography) ; Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, 2014: 134; Bharti, Guénard, et al. 2016: 38; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2020: 11; Barech, et al. 2020: 15.
    • Senior synonym of kutteri: Baroni Urbani, 1974: 227; Bolton, 1995b: 257.
    • Senior synonym of nigricans: Baroni Urbani, 1974: 227; Bolton, 1995b: 257.
    • Material of the unavailable name obscurior referred here by Baroni Urbani, 1974: 227; Bolton, 1995b: 257.
    • Distribution: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, France (Corsica), Greece, India, Iraq, Israel, Italy (+ Sardinia), Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Libya, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Yemen.
    • [Note: this distribution list is merely a compilation from the literature which certainly does not reflect taxonomic reality.]
    • Current subspecies: nominal plus emeryi, phasianicus.
  • denticulatus. Messor minor st. denticulatus Santschi, 1927d: 247 (date of publication 10.xi.1927).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-localities: Turkmenistan: localities cited include Merv, Dushak, Bajram-ali, Karabata, Babadurmaz, Utsch-Adshi, Ashgabat, Geok Tepe (no collector’s names, probably Kuznetsov-Ugamsky), Kyrgyzstan: localities cited include Bishkek (= Frunze), Osh, Suzak, Baliktschy (no collector’s name, probably Kuznetsov-Ugamsky), Tajikistan: Konibodom (no collector’s name, probably Kuznetsov-Ugamsky), Uzbekistan: localities cited include Namangan, Andishan, Machram, Samarkand, Tashkent, Zaamin, Dshizak, Katta-Kurgan, Iskandar (no collector’s names, probably Kuznetsov-Ugamsky), Kazakhstan: localities cited include Dshilga, Kasykurt, Tulkibas, Ikan, Shymkent, Bala Bugun, Ikansu (no collector’s name, probably Kuznetsov-Ugamsky).
    • Type-depository: ZMUM.
    • [First available use of Messor barbarus subsp. meridionalis var. denticulatus Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1927a: 90 (in key) (w.) KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN, TAJIKISTAN, TURKMENISTAN, UZBEKISTAN (date of publication (30).iv.1927); unavailable (infrasubspecific) name.]
    • Subspecies of barbarus: Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1929d: 18.
    • Synonym of laboriosus: Santschi, 1927d: 247; Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, 1929d: 18; Arnol’di, 1977b: 1641 (in key); Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 220.
    • [Note: Santschi, Kuznetsov-Ugamsky, Arnol’di, and Dlussky, et al., all give denticulatus as senior synonym, but laboriosus has priority.]
    • Status as species: Tarbinsky, 1976: 61 (redescription); Arnol'di, 1977b: 1641 (in key); Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 537 (in key); Dlussky, 1981a: 17; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 54; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b: 271 (in key); Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 219; Collingwood, 1993b: 194; Bolton, 1995b: 253; Petrov, 2006: 92 (in key); Schultz, R. et al. 2006: 206; Paknia, et al. 2008: 155; Borowiec, M.L. et al. 2009: 378; Lush, 2009: 114; Vonshak, et al. 2009: 42; Karaman, M.G. 2011b: 37; Legakis, 2011: 10; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2012: 513; Guénard & Dunn, 2012: 45; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 19; Borowiec, L. 2014: 105.
    • Material of the unavailable name glabriusculus referred here by Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 220; Bolton, 1995b: 253.
  • dentiscapus. Messor barbarus var. dentiscapus Finzi, 1930b: 15.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated, “several”).
    • Type-locality: Algeria: Hammam Maskhoutine, 27.iii.1909 (A. Forel).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • [First available use of Messor barbarus subsp. capitatus var. dentiscapa Forel, 1909e: 371 (w.) ALGERIA; unavailable (infrasubspecific) name.]
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Emery, 1921f: 72; Emery, 1922c: 97; Santschi, 1925g: 342 (in key); Santschi, 1931a: 4.
    • Material referred to politus by Emery, 1922c: 97, Santschi, 1925g: 342 (in key); hence dentiscapus junior synonym of politus as the latter has priority (Bolton, 1995b: 253).
  • kutteri. Messor semirufus var. kutteri Santschi, 1934d: 275 (w.) ITALY (Lipari Is).
    • Type-material: 6 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Italy: Lipari Is (H. Kutter).
    • Type-depository: NHMB.
    • Subspecies of semirufus: Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 65.
    • Junior synonym of meridionalis: Poldi, et al. 1995: 3.
    • Junior synonym of semirufus: Baroni Urbani, 1974: 227; Bolton, 1995b: 255.
  • nigriceps. Messor semirufus var. nigriceps Santschi, 1929e: 144 (w.) ISRAEL.
    • Type-material: holotype (?) worker.
    • [Note: no indication of number of specimens is given.]
    • Type-locality: Israel: Jerusalem (no collector’s name).
    • Type-depository: BMNH.
    • [Junior primary homonym of Messor barbarus var. nigriceps Santschi, 1925g: 341.]
    • Replacement name: Messor semirufus var. nigricans Santschi, 1932f: 517.
  • nigricans. Messor semirufus var. nigricans Santschi, 1932f: 517 (footnote).
    • Replacement name for Messor semirufus var. nigriceps Santschi, 1929e: 144. [Junior primary homonym of Messor barbarus var. nigriceps Santschi, 1925g: 341.]
    • [Unresolved junior primary homonym of Messor barbarus var. nigricans Santschi, 1929e: 142 (Bolton, 1995b: 255).]
    • Junior synonym of semirufus: Baroni Urbani, 1974: 227; Bolton, 1995b: 255.

Type Material

Salata & Borowiec (2019): Messor semirufus: syntype (w.): barbarus | v. | semirufus | Andre || Cotypus || ANTWEB | CASENT0907730 || Syria | 1899 | Morice || Coll. | A. Forel (MHNG).

Taxonomic Notes

Borowiec & Salata (2020): Jordanian specimens have frontal face of the head with more or less developed dark patch of diffused borders and belong to the form described as Messor maculifrons. Messor semirufus was recorded from several localities in Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Afghanistan and Kashmir but most records based probably on misidentification. The Messor semirufus group needs comprehensive revision. It is highly possible that the type series of this taxon consists a group of specimens belonging to more than one species. Thus, until a designation of lectotype of M. semirufus we use this name for all populations from the Middle East.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Abdul-Rassoul M. S., H. A. Dawah, and N. Y. Othman. 1978. Records of insect collection (Part I) in the natural history research centre, Baghdad. Bull. Nat. Hist. Res. Centre 7(2): 1-6.
  • Aktaç, N.. "Studies on the myrmecofauna of Turkey I. Ants of Siirt, Bodrum and Trabzon." Istanbul Universitesi Fen Fakultesi Mecmuasi. Seri B 41 (1977): 115-135.
  • Andoni V. 1977. Kontribut mbi Himenopteret e familjes Formicidae te vendit tone. Buletini I Shkencave te Natyres 31(2): 93-101.
  • Baroni Urbani C. 1974. Studi sulla mirmecofauna d'Italia. XII. Le Isole Pontine. Fragm. Entomol. 9: 225-252.
  • Baroni Urbani C., N. Aktaç, and Y. Camlitepe. 1989. Disclosing the mystery of Messor caducus Motschulsky (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 62: 291-301.
  • Bernard F. 1960. Fourmis récoltées en Corse par J. Bonfils (1957). Compte Rendu Sommaire des Séances de la Société de Biogéographie 36: 108-114.
  • Bernard F. 1967. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp.
  • Bernard F. 1981. Revision of the genus Messor (harvesting ants) on a biometrical basis. Pp. 141-145 in: Howse, P. E., Clement, J.-L. (eds.) Biosystematics of social insects. Systematics Association Special Volume No. 19. London: Academic Press, 346 pp.
  • Borowiec L. 2014. Catalogue of ants of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and adjacent regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Genus (Wroclaw) 25(1-2): 1-340.
  • Crawley W. C. 1920. Ants from Mesopotamia and north-west Persia. Entomol. Rec. J. Var. 32: 162-166.
  • Donisthorpe, H.. "A first instalment of the ants of Turkey." Annals and Magazine of Natural History (12)3 (1950): 1057-1067.
  • El-Hawagry M. S., M. R. Sharaf, H. M. Al Dhafer, H. H. Fadl, and A. S. Aldawood. 2015. Addenda to the insect fauna of Al-Baha Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with zoogeographical notes. Journal of Natural History
  • Finzi B. 1929. Le forme italiane del genere Messor. Bollettino della Società Entomologica Italiana 61: 75-94.
  • Forel A. 1886. Indian ants of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, No. 2. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal Part II Nat. Sci. 55: 239-249.
  • Forel A. 1904. Miscellanea myrmécologiques. Rev. Suisse Zool. 12: 1-52.
  • Forel A. 1906. Fourmis d'Asie mineure et de la Dobrudscha récoltées par M. le Dr. Oscar Vogt et Mme Cécile Vogt, Dr. méd. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 50: 187-190.
  • Forel A. 1910. Glanures myrmécologiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 54: 6-32.
  • Forel, A.. "Miscellanea myrmécologiques." Revue Suisse de Zoologie 12 (1904): 1-52.
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Kiran K., and C. Karaman. 2012. First annotated checklist of the ant fauna of Turkey (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 3548: 1-38.
  • Kugler J. 1988. The zoogeography of Israel. 9. The zoogeography of social insects of Israel and Sinai. Monographiae biologicae 62: 251-275.
  • Martinez J. J. 2008. Firebreaks in planted pine forests in Israel: patches for Mediterranean Bata ants. Vie et Milieu 58(3/4): 233-236.
  • Paknia O., A. Radchenko, H. Alipanah, and M. Pfeiffer. 2008. A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Iran. Myrmecological News 11: 151-159.
  • Paknia O., and M. Pfeiffer. 2011. Hierarchical partitioning of ant diversity: implications for conservation of biogeographical diversity in arid and semi-arid areas. Diversity and Distributions 17: 122-131.
  • Pashaei Rad S., B. Taylor, R. Torabi, E. Aram, G. Abolfathi, R. Afshari, F. Borjali, M. Ghatei, F. Hediary, F. Jazini, V. Heidary Kiah, Z. Mahmoudi, F. Safariyan, and M. Seiri. 2018. Further records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Iran. Zoology in the Middle East 64(2): 145-159.
  • Santschi, F.. "Fourmis d'une croisière." Bulletin et Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Bruxelles) 74 (1934): 273-282.
  • Santschi, F.. "Revision des Messor du groupe instabilis Sm. (Hymenopt.)." Boletín de la Real Sociedad española de Historia natural (Madrid) 27 (1927): 225-250.
  • Santschi, F.. "Trois notes sur quelques fourmis du Musée Royal d'Histoire Naturelle de Belgique." Bulletin du Musée Royal d'Histoire Naturelle de Belgique 15 (1939): 1-15.
  • Tohme G. 1996. Formicidae. Etude de la diversité biologique n° 4 . Ministère de l’Agriculture à Beyrouth (Eds.). P85-87.
  • Tohme G., and H. Tohme. 2014. Nouvelles liste des especes de fourmis du Liban (Hymenoptera, Formicoidea). Lebanese Science Journal 15(1): 133-141.
  • Tohmé, G., and H. Tohmé. "Les fourmis du genre Messor en Syrie. Position systématique. Description de quelques ailés et de formes nouvelles. Répartition géographique." Ecologia Mediterranea 7 (1) (1981): 139-153, fig. 1-22.
  • Vonshak M., and A. Ionescu-Hirsch. 2009. A checklist of the ants of Israel (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Israel Journal of Entomology 39: 33-55.
  • Weber N. A. 1952. Observations on Baghdad ants. Baghdad: The Trading and Printing Co., 30 pp.
  • Wheeler W. M. and W. M. Mann. 1916. The ants of the Phillips Expedition to Palestine during 1914. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 60: 167-174.
  • Wheeler W. M., and W. M. Mann. 1916. The ants of the Phillips Expedition to Palestine during 1914. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 60: 167-174.