Oecophylla longinoda

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Oecophylla longinoda
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Oecophyllini
Genus: Oecophylla
Species: O. longinoda
Binomial name
Oecophylla longinoda
(Latreille, 1802)

MCZ ENT Oecophylla longinoda hal.jpg

MCZ ENT Oecophylla longinoda had.jpg

Specimen Label


Aggressive arboreal ants that use larval silk to weave together leaves to form their nesting cavities. A mature colony of Oecophylla longinoda can entirely dominate a tree (sometimes several) with nests distributed throughout their heavily defended arboreal territory.

Photo Gallery

  • Alate queen with both major and minor (bottom) worker, showing the very pronounced variations in body size. Photo by Paul Van Mele.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal (type locality), Sierra Leone, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


There is a webpage with a list of some recent publications about Weaver Ants. You can also read an overview of their biology from the a chapter in The Ants: The Weaver Ants (Hölldobler and Wilson 1990).

Nene et al. 2015 (abstract): Mating in most species of ants occur during nuptial flights. In the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille, mating has previously been hypothesized to take place within the nest before the nuptial flight but no research data has ever been presented to support this. Understanding the mating strategy of O. longinoda is important for its successful application in biological control programs. Here we report on the findings from studies conducted in Tanzania to determine whether mating occur prior to dispersal flight. Winged O. longinoda queens collected at four steps; before taking flight, immediately after leaving the nest, up to 12h after leaving the nest and after settling naturally following the dispersal flights were examined. Mating in captivity with varied number of males and queens was also assessed. Results showed that no eggs hatched from any of the 527 winged queens that were collected prior to their dispersal flights and no mating attempts in captivity lead to viable offspring. Only eggs produced by queens collected after settling naturally (N=65) hatched into larvae. High percentages (88.73) of eggs that hatched were laid by queens that shed wings and laid their eggs within 3 days after nuptial flights. Findings from the current study suggest that mating of O. longinoda queens take place during a nuptial flight and does not take place within the nest, as previously suggested. Time from nuptial flights to shedding of wings and egg laying translates to hatchability of the eggs.

Association with Other Organisms

This species is a host for the encyrtid wasp Anagyrus lopezi (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (associate).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Holldobler & Wilson, 1977; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)
  • Queen type: winged (Holldobler & Wilson, 1977; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (queenless worker reproduction)
  • Mean colony size: 480,000 (Way, 1954; Holldobler & Wilson, 1978; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: mass recruiter (Way, 1954; Holldobler & Wilson, 1978; Beckers et al., 1989)




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

  • longinoda. Formica longinoda Latreille, 1802c: 184, pl. 11, fig. 72 (w.) SENEGAL. Emery, 1892d: 564 (q.); Forel, 1913b: 339 (m.). Combination in Oecophylla: Mayr, 1863: 439. Junior synonym of virescens: Smith, F. 1858b: 29. Subspecies of smaragdina: Emery, 1892d: 564; Forel, 1907e: 15; Santschi, 1914b: 128; Santschi, 1919a: 345; Emery, 1925b: 52; Prins, 1965b: 77. Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 176; Emery, 1921c: 102; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 227; Santschi, 1928f: 211; Bolton, 1995b: 298. Senior synonym of brevinodis: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 945. Current subspecies: nominal plus annectens, claridens, fusca, rubriceps, rufescens, taeniata, textor. See also: Gotwald, 1973: 72; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1978: 19.
  • brevinodis. Oecophylla brevinodis André, 1890: 313 (w.) SIERRA LEONE. Santschi, 1919a: 345 (q.). Subspecies of longinoda: Dalla Torre, 1893: 176; of smaragdina: Stitz, 1916: 396. Junior synonym of longinoda: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 945.



  • n = 12 (Crozier, 1970b).

Worker Morphology

  • Caste: trimorphic


  • Beckers R., Goss, S., Deneubourg, J.L., Pasteels, J.M. 1989. Colony size, communication and ant foraging Strategy. Psyche 96: 239-256 (doi:10.1155/1989/94279).
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 298, Status as species)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 176, Status as species)
  • Emery, C. 1892f [1891]. Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud dans le territoire d'Assinie (Afrique occidentale) en juillet et août 1886. Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 60: 553-574 (page 564, queen described)
  • Emery, C. 1892f [1891]. Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud dans le territoire d'Assinie (Afrique occidentale) en juillet et août 1886. Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 60: 553-574 (page 564, Subspecies/race of smaragdina)
  • Emery, C. 1921g. Formiche tessitrici del genere Oecophylla fossili e viventi. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 25: 99-105 (page 102, Status as species)
  • Emery, C. 1925b. Revision des espèces paléarctiques du genre Tapinoma. Rev. Suisse Zool. 32: 45-64 (page 52, Subspecies/race of smaragdina)
  • Forel, A. 1907h. Formiciden aus dem Naturhistorischen Museum in Hamburg. II. Teil. Neueingänge seit 1900. Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hambg. 24: 1-20 (page 15, Subspecies/race of smaragdina)
  • Forel, A. 1913b. Formicides du Congo Belge récoltés par MM. Bequaert, Luja, etc. Rev. Zool. Afr. (Bruss.) 2: 306-351 (page 339, male described)
  • Gotwald, W. H., Jr. 1973. Mouthpart morphology of the African ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc. 81: 72-78 (page 72, see also)
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1978. The multiple recruitment systems of the African Weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 3: 19-60 (page 19, see also)
  • Latreille, P. A. 1802b. Histoire naturelle générale et particulière des Crustacés et des insectes. Tome 3. Familles naturelles des genres. Paris: F. Dufart, xii + 467 pp. (page 184, pl. 11, fig. 72 worker described)
  • Mayr, G. 1863a. Formicidarum index synonymicus. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 13: 385-460 (page 439, Combination in Oecophylla)
  • Nene, W. A., G. M. Rwegasira, J. Offenberg, M. Mwatawala, and M. G. Nielsen. 2015. Mating Behavior of the African Weaver Ant, Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology. 62:396-400. doi:10.13102/sociobiology.v62i3.650
  • Prins, A. J. 1965b. Notes on African Formicidae (Hymenoptera) - 2. J. Entomol. Soc. South. Afr. 28: 77-79 (page 77, Subspecies/race of smaragdina)
  • Santschi, F. 1914b. Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale, 1911-1912. Résultats scientifiques. Insectes Hyménoptères. II. Formicidae. Paris: Libr. A. Schulz, pp. 41-148. (page 128, Subspecies/race of smaragdina)
  • Santschi, F. 1919a. Cinq notes myrmécologiques. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 52: 325-350 (page 345, Subspecies/race of smaragdina)
  • Santschi, F. 1928f. Descriptions de nouvelles fourmis éthiopiennes (suite). Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr. 16: 191-213 (page 211, Status as species)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 29, Junior synonym of virescens)
  • Wetterer, J.K. 2017. Geographic distribution of the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 143: 501-510.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922b. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. II. The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 39-269 (page 227, Status as species)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922j. 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. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 711-1004 (page 945, Senior synonym of brevinodis)
  • Wilson, E. O.; Hölldobler, B. 1980. Sex differences in cooperative silk-spinning by weaver ant larvae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 77:2343-2347.

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Abdoul Habou Z., T. Adam, E. Haubruge, G. Mergeai, and F. J. Verheggen. 2013. Analyse de la faune entomologique associée à Jatropha curcas L. dans la région de Maradi au Sud-Est du Niger. Entomologie Faunistique – Faunistic Entomology 66: 97-107.
  • André E. 1890. Matériaux pour servir à la faune myrmécologique de Sierra-Leone (Afrique occidentale). Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 9: 311-327.
  • André E. 1895. Formicides de l'Ogooué (Congo français). Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 14: 1-5.
  • Belshaw R., and B. Bolton. 1994. A survey of the leaf litter ant fauna in Ghana, West Africa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 3: 5-16.
  • Belshaw R., and B. Bolton. 1994. A survey of the leaf litter ant fauna in Ghana, West Africa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 3: 5-16.
  • Bernard F. 1953. La réserve naturelle intégrale du Mt Nimba. XI. Hyménoptères Formicidae. Mémoires de l'Institut Français d'Afrique Noire 19: 165-270.
  • Borowiec L., and S. Salata. 2018. Notes on ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Gambia (Western Africa). Annals of the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom Entomology 26: 1-13.
  • Braet Y., and B. Taylor. 2008. Mission entomologique au Parc National de Pongara (Gabon). Bilan des Formicidae (Hymenoptera) recoltes. Bulletin S. R. B. E./K.B.V.E. 144: 157-169.
  • Cole A. C., Jr., and J. W. Jones Jr. 1948. A study of the weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina (Fab.). American Midland Naturalist 39: 641-651.
  • Dejean A., F. Azemar, R. Cereghino, M. Leponce, B. Corbara, J. Orivel, and A. Compin. 2015. The dynamics of ant mosaics in tropical rainforests characterized using the SelfOrganizing Map algorithm. Insect Science doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12208
  • Delage-Darchen B. 1971. Contribution à l'étude écologique d'une savane de Côte d'Ivoire (Lamto). Les fourmis des strates herbacée et arborée. Biologia Gabonica 7: 461-496.
  • Diame L., B. Taylor, R. Blatrix, J. F. Vayssieres, J. Y. Rey, I. Grechi, and K. Diarra. 2017. A preliminary checklist of the ant (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) fauna of Senegal. Journal of Insect Biodiversity 5(15): 1-16.
  • Eidmann H. 1944. Die Ameisenfauna von Fernando Poo. 27. Beitrag zu den Ergebnissen der Westafrika-Expedition. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Ökol. Geogr. Tiere 76: 413-490.
  • Emery C. 1892. Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud dans le territoire d'Assinie (Afrique occidentale) en juillet et août 1886. Formicides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 60: 553-574.
  • Ewuim S. C. 2007. Formicid fauna of contrasting tropical rainforest agro-ecosystem and their environmental implications. Animal Research International 4(2): 666-672.
  • Ewuim S. C., M. A. Badejo, and O. O. Ajayi. 1997. Ants of forest and fallow plots in Nigeria. Biotropica 29(1): 93-99.
  • Fisher B. L. 2004. Diversity patterns of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along an elevational gradient on Monts Doudou in southwestern Gabon. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 28: 269-286.
  • Forel A. 1897. Ameisen aus Nossi-Bé, Majunga, Juan de Nova (Madagaskar), den Aldabra-Inseln und Sansibar, gesammelt von Herrn Dr. A. Voeltzkow aus Berlin. Mit einem Anhang über die von Herrn Privatdocenten Dr. A. Brauer in Marburg auf den Seychellen und von Herrn Perrot auf Ste. Marie (Madagaskar) gesammelten Ameisen. Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft 21: 185-208.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Kolo Y. 2006. Evaluation rapide des fourmis de la région de Boké, Guinée. In Wright, H.E. and J. McCullough et M.S. Diallo. (eds). 2006. A Rapid Biological Assessment of the Boké Préfecture, Northwestern Guinea. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 41. Conservation International, Washington, DC.
  • Kone M., S. Konate, K. Yeo, P. K. Kouassi, K. E. Linsemair. 2010. Diversity and abundance of terrrestrial ants along a gradient of land use intensification in a transitional forest-savannah zone of Cote d'Ivoire. Journal of Applied Biosciences 29: 1809-1827.
  • Kone M., S. Konate, K. Yeo, P. K. Kouassi, and K. E. Linsenmair. 2012. Changes in ant communities along an age gradient of cocoa cultivation in the Oumé region, central Côte d’Ivoire. Entomological Science 15: 324–339.
  • Kouakou L. M. M., W. Dekoninck, M. Kone, T. Delsinne, K. Yeo, K. Ouattara, and S. Konate. 2018. Diversity and distribution of introduced and potentially invasive ant species from the three main ecoregions of Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa). Belgian Journal of Zoology 148 (1): 83–103.
  • Lévieux J. 1972. Les fourmis de la savane de Lamto (Côte d'Ivoire): éléments de taxonomie. Bulletin de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire. Série A. Sciences Naturelles 34: 611-654.
  • Medler J. T. 1980: Insects of Nigeria - Check list and bibliography. Mem. Amer. Ent. Inst. 30: i-vii, 1-919.
  • Menozzi C. 1926. Formiche dell'Africa centrale. Bollettino della Società Entomologica Italiana. 58: 36-41.
  • Menozzi C. 1942. Formiche dell'isola Fernando Poo e del territorio del Rio Muni (Guinea Spagnola). 24. Beitrag zu den wissenschaftlichen Ergebnissen der Forschungsreise H. Eidmann nach Spanisch-Guinea 1939 bis 1940. Zoologischer Anzeiger 140: 164-182.
  • Newe W. A., G. M. Rwegasira, J. Offenberg, M. Mwatawala, and M. G. Nielsen. 2015. Mating behavior of the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).
  • Samso Fast T., J. Aagard Axelsen, G. Kier Lynegaard, M. Mwatawala, and J. Offenberg. 2015. Search Rate and Functional Response of a Eusocial Insect (Oecophylla longinoda) in a Tanzanian Mango Orchard. Psyche http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/817251
  • Santschi F. 1910. Formicides nouveaux ou peu connus du Congo français. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 78: 349-400.
  • Santschi F. 1914. Formicides de l'Afrique occidentale et australe du voyage de Mr. le Professeur F. Silvestri. Bollettino del Laboratorio di Zoologia Generale e Agraria della Reale Scuola Superiore d'Agricoltura. Portici 8: 309-385.
  • Santschi F. 1919. Cinq notes myrmécologiques. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 52: 325-350.
  • Santschi F. 1939. Résultats scientifiques des croisières du navire-école belge, "Mercator". XIV. Formicidae s. lt. Mémoires du Musée Royal d'Histoire Naturelle de Belgique. (2)15: 159-167.
  • 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.
  • Tadu Z., C. Djieto-Lordon, R. Babin, Yede, E. B. Messop-Youbi, and A. Fomena. 2013. Influence of insecticide treatment on ant diversity in tropical agroforestry system: some aspect of the recolonization process. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 5(12): 832-844.
  • Taylor B. 1978. Ants of the Nigerian Forest Zone (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). II. Formicinae, Dolichoderinae. Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria Research Bulletin 5: 1-57.
  • Taylor B., N. Agoinon, A. Sinzogan, A. Adandonon, Y. N'Da Kouagou, S. Bello, R. Wargui, F. Anato, I. Ouagoussounon, H. Houngbo, S. Tchibozo, R. Todjhounde, and J. F. Vayssieres. 2018. Records of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Republic of Benin, with particular reference to the mango farm ecosystem. Journal of Insect Biodiversity 8(1): 006–029.
  • Van Mele P., J. F. Vayssières, E. Van Tellingen, and J. Vrolijks. 2007. Effects of an African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda, in controlling mango fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Benin. J. Econ. Entomol. 100(3): 695-701.
  • Wargui R. B., A. Adandonon, A. Sinzogan, F. M. Anato, J. F. Vayssieres, D. K. Kossou, and J. Offenberg. 2018. Weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) performance in mango and cashew trees under different management regimes. Sociobiology 65(2): 208-214.
  • Weber N. A. 1943. The ants of the Imatong Mountains, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 93: 263-389.
  • Weber N. A. 1946. Dimorphism in the African Oecophylla worker and an anomaly (Hym.: Formicidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 39: 7-10.
  • Weber, N.A. 1949. The Functional Significance of Dimorphism in the African Ant, Oecophylla. Ecology 30(3):397-400.
  • Wetterer J. K. 2017. Geographic distribution of the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina. Asian Myrmecology 9: e009004.
  • Wetterer J. K. 2017.Geographic distribution of the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 143:501-510.
  • 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
  • Yanoviak S. P., B. L. Fisher, and A. Alonso. 2007. Arboreal ant diversity (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a central African forest. African Journal of Ecology. 46(1): 60-66.
  • Yeo K., L. M. M. Kouakou, W. Dekoninck, K. Ouattara, and S. Konate. 2016. Detecting intruders: assessment of the anthropophilic ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the city of Abidjan and along access roads in Banco National Park (Côte d’Ivoire). Journal of Entomology and Zoological Studies 4(4): 351-359.
  • Yeo K., T. Delsinne, S. Komate, L. L. Alonso, D. Aidara, and C. Peeters. 2016. Diversity and distribution of ant assemblages above and below ground in a West African forest–savannah mosaic (Lamto, Cote d’Ivoire). Insectes Sociaux DOI 10.1007/s00040-016-0527-6