Temnothorax ravouxi

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Temnothorax ravouxi
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species: T. ravouxi
Binomial name
Temnothorax ravouxi
(André, 1896)

Myrmoxenus ravouxi casent0173641 profile 1.jpg

Myrmoxenus ravouxi casent0173641 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Temnothorax rauouxi is an active slavemaker with a normally developed worker caste. It conducts well-organized raids upon colonies of its host species (Winter 1979, Buschinger, Winter 1983). Its hosts are most frequently Temnothorax unifasciatus (mainly in the west of Europe), as well as Temnothorax affinis (in the south), Temnothorax albipennis, Temnothorax nadigi (Poland), Temnothorax nigriceps and Temnothorax tuberum (in the east) (Czechowski & Czechowska, 2000).

At a Glance • Slave-maker  




Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (type locality), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Poland, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Temnothorax ravouxi is a slave-making ant, as are most species of the former genus Myrmoxenus (Temnothorax adlerzi and Temnothorax corsicus are workerless degenerate slave-makers). Slaves include the following species (Czechowski & Czechowska, 2000):

Temnothorax ravouxi slave raid.jpg

For a slave raid a few T. ravouxi workers search around their nest for colonies of one of the host species. A successful scout ant then leads a small group of T. ravouxi workers on a short-lived pheromone trail (from poison gland secretion) to the host nest. The slave-makers fight with stinging the defending host workers mainly into the mouthparts or into the gaster. Finally, they carry the host pupae back to the slavemaker nest where they eclose to become slaves. (Winter, U. (1979): Epimyrma goesswaldi MENOZZI, eine sklavenhaltende Ameise. Naturwissenschaften 66, 581-582)

T. ravouxi queen attacking the queen of an invaded nest.
T. ravouxi queen attacking the queen of an invaded nest. Photo by Olivier Delattre

As all former Myrmoxenus species, T. ravouxi founds its colonies in dependence of one of the host species. A mated T. ravouxi queen seeks adoption in a nest, e. g. of T. unifasciatus, where it is barely attacked, then kills the host colony queen by throttling it with her mandibles grasping around the neck or throat of the host queen. This queen dies after several days or even weeks, and the adult host workers accept the T. ravouxi as their replacement queen.



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

  • ravouxi. Formicoxenus ravouxi André, 1896a: 367 (q.) FRANCE. Combination in Epimyrma: Emery, 1915a: 262; in Myrmoxenus: Schulz & Sanetra, 2002: 162; in Temnothorax: Ward et al., 2014: 15. Senior synonym of goesswaldi: Buschinger, 1982: 352. See also: Menozzi, 1931c: 44; Kutter, 1973e: 281.
  • goesswaldi. Epimyrma goesswaldi Menozzi, in Gösswald, 1930: 464, figs. 1-3 (w.q.m.) GERMANY. [Also described as new by Menozzi, 1931c: 41.] Junior synonym of ravouxi: Buschinger, 1982: 352. See also: Stitz, 1939: 186; Kutter, 1973e: 281.



  • n = 10 (France; Germany; Italy; Switzerland) (Buschinger et al., 1986; Fischer, 1987) (as Epimyrma ravouxi).