Nylanderia silvula

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Nylanderia silvula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Nylanderia
Species: N. silvula
Binomial name
Nylanderia silvula
LaPolla & Fisher, 2011

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Specimen Labels

Specimens have been collected from equatorial rainforest, from dead wood and litter sifting.


LaPolla et al. (2011) - Large species (TL ≥ 2.8), with shining reddish-brown cuticle.

Compare with: This species is unique in its overall appearance.

In addition to being one of the largest Afrotropical Nylanderia, the cuticular coloration of this species is unique. Interestingly, despite the difference (such as in color, overall size, shape of propodeum, etc.) in the appearance of the workers, the male digiti and cuspi are similar to those of Nylanderia boltoni, Nylanderia lepida, and Nylanderia natalensis.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 0.2° to 0.2°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Kenya (type locality).

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.





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

  • silvula. Nylanderia silvula LaPolla & Fisher, in LaPolla, Hawkes & Fisher, 2011: 23, figs. 49-57, 84, 101-103 (w.q.m.) KENYA.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Measurements (n = 8): TL: 2.8–3.3; HW: 0.63–0.73; HL: 0.76–0.813; EL: 0.18–0.21; SL: 0.95–1.04; PW: 0.45–0.51; WL: 0.976–1.12; GL: 1.04–1.35

Indices: CI: 84–90; REL: 22–26; SI: 142–151

Overall dark reddish-brown, with slightly lighter mandibles and antennae; trochanters, mesocoxae, and metacoxae yellowish to whitish; cuticle shining, with head, mesonotum (extending to mesopleuron), metanotal area, and propodeum rugulose. Posterior margin of head with rounded posterolateral corners, slightly emarginate medially. Scapes surpass posterior margin by about length of the first 3–3.5 funicular segments; scapes extremely setose, with erect macrosetae of varying lengths and a layer of decumbent pubescence (SMC = 45–60). Mesosoma with erect setae of varying lengths (PMC = 3–7; MMC = 2–4); in profile, pronotum elongate, with a linear rise towards mesonotum; metanotal area elongate; dorsal face of propodeum dome-like, slightly higher to even with the mesonotum; dorsal face and declivitous face about the same length; propodeum with scattered short appressed to decumbent pubescence. Gaster shining, with abundant erect macrosetae.


Measurements (n = 1): TL: 5.1; HW: 1.0; HL: 0.99; EL: 0.34; SL: 1.2; PW: 1.3; WL: 1.7; GL: 2.4

Indices: CI: 101; REL: 51; SI: 115

As in worker, with modifications expected for caste; darker reddish-brown than worker. Body shining with pubescence concentrated on dorsum; eyes large (taking up more than half of lateral margin), strongly convex; (PMC = 1); (MMC = 3).


Measurements (n = 3): TL: 2.9–3.0; HW: 0.68–0.72; HL: 0.64–0.66; EL: 0.32–0.33; SL: 0.87–0.95; PW: 0.78–0.82; WL: 1.0–1.3; GL: 1.1–1.2

Indices: CI: 105–111; REL: 126–138; SI: 17–19

Overall dark reddish-brown, with lighter brown funiculi, mandibles, and anterior clypeus; mesocoxae, metacoxae, mesotrochanter, metatrochanter, and tarsi white to very light yellow, with yellow protrochanter and joints of legs; cuticle smooth and shining, and covered with a dense pubescence except along mesopleuron and propodeum. Head with largely suberect macrosetae and a dense layer of pubescence. Compound eyes large (taking up most of lateral margin), ocelli large and raised. Scapes surpass posterior margin by about length of first 3–4 funicular segments; scapes with scatted erect macrosetae (SMC = 10–16) and dense layer of pubescence. Mandibular masticatory margin with prominent apical tooth and a smaller subapical tooth; basal margin rounded, but distinct. Mesosoma with dense pubescence and scattered erect setae (PMC = 0; MMC = 7–10) dorsally; declivity below level of mesonotum, smooth and shining; gaster with dense pubescence and scattered, erect macrosetae of varying heights. Genitalia: parameres roughly triangular in lateral view curving dorsally; dorsal margin of parameres directed outward from penis valves; cuspi elongated, apices rounded with peg-like teeth on ental surface where they meet digit; digiti apices broad; peg-like teeth at apices dorsally, ventrally coming to a narrow point that curves towards parameres.

Type Material

Holotype worker, KENYA: Kakamega District, Kakamega Forest, Isecheno; 0.02° N, 34.97° E, 1800 m, 16 Oct 1999 (coll. R.R. Snelling) (LACM); 13 paratype workers, 1 paratype male, same label data as holotype (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, National Museum of Natural History).


The specific epithet silvula (L. = forest) is in reference to the type locality of this species in the Kakamega Forest, one of the last remnants of indigenous forest in the region.


  • LaPolla, J.S., Hawkes, P.G. & Fisher, B.L. (2011) Monograph of Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the World, Part I: Nylanderia in the Afrotropics. Zootaxa 3110: 10–36.

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Garcia F.H., Wiesel E. and Fischer G. 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(2): 127-222
  • 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.