Tapinoma nigerrimum

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Tapinoma nigerrimum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Tapinoma
Species group: nigerrimum
Species: T. nigerrimum
Binomial name
Tapinoma nigerrimum
Nylander, 1856

Tapinoma nigerrimum casent0280682 p 1 high.jpg

Tapinoma nigerrimum casent0280682 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

A west-Mediterranean ant, relatively common in the warmest areas. In Italy it occurs mostly in central and southern regions (Rigato & Toni, 2011).

At a Glance • Supercolonies  


Photo Gallery

  • Tapinoma nigerrimum nest, over 400mm high. Photo by Kajetan Mszk.


A member of the Tapinoma nigerrimum complex.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Algeria, Balearic Islands, Belgium, France (type locality), Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain, Turkey.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Seifert et al. (2017) - Tapinoma nigerrimum differs from the other three nigerrimum species group in having monodomous, not very large colonies which behave aggressively to each other. Polydomous colonies seem to exist but true supercoloniality or an invasive potential are not confirmed so far. Furthermore, there seems to be some trend in T. nigerrimum of selecting more natural or semi-natural habitats – without avoiding habitats with anthropogenous impact. The other three species, in contrast, are clearly more abundant in sites with strong anthropogenous pressure. T. nigerrimum, furthermore, shows a clear avoidance of coastal areas: Only two samples were taken along the shore line within a maximum distance of 4 km from beach but 17 samples more than 4 km inland from shore. This is significantly different from a homogenous distribution over shore line and inland (p = 0.0185). As the sampling schedule of this study strongly underrecorded inland areas and thus the main habitats of T. nigerrimum, the relative rarity and disjunct distribution suggested by their distribution are probably not real traits. Alates were observed: 4 May ± 10 d [29 April - 21 May] n = 5.

Obregon et al. (2015) - This ant was observed on larvae of Lampides boeticus that were feeding on Erophaca baetica in Sierra Morena, southern Spain. T. nigerrimum has also been associated with the butterflies Tomares ballus and Leptotes pirithous.

Gonçalves et al. (2017) found Tapinoma nigerrimum to be abundant in the Iberian vineyards they sampled (pitfall trapping).

Guiliani et al. (2019) observed this species foraging on extrafloral nectaries of the invasive Reynoutria x bohemica (Polygonaceae) in Tuscany. The habitats examined were river banks and disturbed habitats.


Palomeque et al. (2015) discovered and studied class II mariner elements, a form of transposable elements, in the genome of this ant. "Tapinoma nigerrimum has a chromosome number of n=9. Three different complete mariner elements were found in the genome of the ant Tapinoma nigerrimum. One (Tnigmar-Mr) was interrupted by a 900-bp insertion that corresponded to an incomplete member of a fourth mariner element, called Azteca.



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

  • nigerrima. Formica nigerrima Nylander, 1856b: 71 (w.) FRANCE. [Unresolved junior primary homonym of Formica nigerrima Christ, 1791: 513 (now in Lasius) (Bolton, 1995b: 401).] Emery, 1869b: 10 (q.m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1951: 199 (l.). Combination in Tapinoma: Mayr, 1861: 41. Junior synonym of erraticum: Mayr, 1865: 62. Revived from synonymy as subspecies of erraticum: Emery & Forel, 1879: 454. Subspecies of erraticum: André, 1882b: 224; Forel, 1902a: 154; Forel, 1904b: 376; Ruzsky, 1905b: 478; Emery, 1916b: 215; Finzi, 1924a: 14; Kutter, 1928: 65. Status as species: Ruzsky, 1902d: 20; Bondroit, 1918: 89; Emery, 1925d: 46; Finzi, 1930d: 316; Santschi, 1931a: 10; Bernard, 1967: 258; Kutter, 1977c: 181. Senior synonym of magnum: Forel, 1876: 61; of ibericum: Collingwood, 1978: 71. Junior synonym of erraticum: Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 169; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 192.]; Bolton, 1995b: 401. Revived from synonymy: Shattuck, 1994: 150; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowski, 2009: 478; Seifert, 2012a: 145.

Type Material

Seifert et al. (2017) - As types are not present in the Nylander collection in Helsinki, a neotype was fixed. The descriptive statements in the original description allow to conclude on a Tapinoma nigerrimum complex species but not which of the four cryptic species Nylander could have seen. Yet, the type locality "Locus aridis prope Monspelium" (Dry locality near Montpellier) gives an indication. Accordingly, we fixed a neotype in the species accounting for any of the nine Tapinoma nigerrimum complex colonies found within a radius of less than 20 km around Montpellier under exclusion of the immediate shore line.



  • n = 9, 2n = 18, karyotype = 10M+4SM+4ST (Spain) (Palomeque et al., 1988; Palomeque et al., 1990a; Palomeque et al., 1990b; Palomeque et al., 1993a; Lorite et al., 1996a; Lorite et al., 1997; Lorite et al., 1998b; Lorite et al., 1999a; Lorite et al., 1999b; Lorite et al., 2002a).
  • n = 9 (Tunisia) (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983).