Temnothorax algerianus

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Temnothorax algerianus
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species: T. algerianus
Binomial name
Temnothorax algerianus
(Cagniant, 1968)

Myrmoxenus algeriana casent0281810 p 1 high.jpg

Myrmoxenus algeriana casent0281810 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Temnothorax algerianus, a parasitic ant species widely distributed in northern Algeria and Morocco, is an active slavemaker which is able to form colonies with numerous Epimyrma workers. In most populations colonies are polygynous but monogynous and functionally monogynous colonies occur as well. Young sexuals mate inside the mother nests. Young queens may remain there, or leave the nests for founding their own colonies, in fall, winter, or in spring, thus over an unusually protracted period and at comparatively low temperatures. Agonistic behavior between the parasite queens in polygynous colonies has been observed. It may be responsible for the decision of young queens either to leave or to remain in the mother nest. (Buschinger et al., 1990)

At a Glance • Dulotic  • Polygynous  




Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Algeria (type locality), Morocco.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Temnothorax algerianus is a slave-making ant belonging to the former genus Myrmoxenus. For colony foundation a mated young queen penetrates a colony of the host species (most frequently Temnothorax spinosus) and throttles its queen to death. She then is accepted as replacement queen by the adult host workers.

The following species are known slaves of Temnothorax algerianus (Buschinger et al., 1990):

Temnothorax algerianus-JPG-Datei.jpg

Different from relatives (cf. Temnothorax ravouxi) several reproductive queens may be present in the slavemaker colony (polygyny). Workers of T. algerianus conduct slave raids on neighboring nests of the host species.

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: polygynous (Buschinger, 1989; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



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

  • algerianus. Epimyrma algeriana Cagniant, 1968c: 157, figs. 1-4 (w.q.m.) ALGERIA. Combination in Temnothorax: Ward et al., 2014: 15. See also: Kutter, 1973e: 281; Buschinger, Jessen & Cagniant, 1990: 23.



  • n = 10 (Douwes et al., 1988) (as Epimyrma algeriana).

Worker Morphology

  • Caste: monomorphic


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Buschinger, A., K. Jessen, and H. Cagniant. "The life history of Epimyrma algeriana, a slave-making ant with facultative polygyny (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)." Zoologische Beiträge (N.F.)33 (1990): 23-49.
  • Cagniant, H. "Liste préliminaire de fourmis forestières d'Algérie. Résultats obtenus de 1963 à 1966." Bulletin de la Societe d'Histoire Naturelle de Toulouse 104 (1968): 138-147.