Vollenhovia emeryi

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Vollenhovia emeryi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Vollenhovia
Species: V. emeryi
Binomial name
Vollenhovia emeryi
Wheeler, W.M., 1906

Vollenhovia emeryi casent0003196 profile 1.jpg

Vollenhovia emeryi casent0003196 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


In Japan, V. emeryi occurs in secondary forests throughout the country. This ant can produce clonal, non-dispersing queens and dispersing long-winged, heterozygous queens. {{At a Glance

At a Glance • Parthenogenetic  • Polygynous  • Brachypterous Queen  


Photo Gallery

  • Vollenhovia emeryi colonies contain many laying queens. This photograph shows two, with workers and pupae. Washington, DC, USA. Photo by Alex Wild.
  • Vollenhovia-emeryi 1833.jpg


Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Oriental Region: Taiwan, Thailand.
Palaearctic Region: China, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Japan (type locality), Republic of Korea.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Miyakawa et al. (2018) studied the details of genetic control of sex deterimination in this species. They concluded the doublesex (dsx) gene appears to integrate signal from a multi-locus complementary sex determination system to control if females or males develop from an egg.

This species is a host for the ant Vollenhovia nipponica (a workerless inquiline) in Japan (Kinomura, 1992).


This species has two modes of reproduction. Clonally produced, homozygous queens have short malformed wings. Long-winged dispersing queens, with heterozygous genomes and so not produced clonally, can be produced facultatively. Queens eclose before fall hibernation. Clonal queens mate in their natal nest before hibernation. In the spring new colonies can be formed by budding. Laboratory colonies collected from field sites in Japan and provided with more food than a second set of colonies produced long-winged queens, non-dispersing queens and more queens overall. The colonies that were fed half as much food only produced clonal short-winged queens. Laboratory produced long-winged queens were not inseminated after eclosing while the short-winged queens were all found to be inseminated. Presumably the long-winged queens mate after hibernation in the spring (Okomoto et al. 2015, Ohkawara et al. 2002).

  • Graphical summary of the unusual reproduction system of V. emeryi and the experimental design. Females and males are diploid and haploid, respectively, as indicated by the number of oval cartoon chromosomes, which are colored red and blue in queens (a) and males (b) in the parental generation (F0). V. emeryi reproduce clonally (via thelytoky and androgenesis), as well as sexually, with all possible offspring shown in F1. These reproductive modes produce four types of offspring: clonal queens by thelytoky (c), queens and workers by sexual reproduction (d and e), and androgenetically produced clonal males (f) that are identical to their fathers despite developing from queen-laid eggs [22] [20,21]. The experimental cross (encircled by a dashed line), which is genetically identical to a backcross, mated sexually produced queens (e) and clonal males (f) in the F1 generation and scored diploid male production in the F2 generation. The F2 offspring are not depicted in this diagram. (Miyakawa & Mikheyev, 2015, Fig. 1)


The genome of V. emeryi was sequenced for a study examining how parasitic ants with no worker caste may have altered their genome to arrive at a workerless state. In comparison to ants with a full complement of castes, there appeared to be no loss of genes in the parasitic ants. This suggests regulatory differences and not sequence differences predominate in gains and losses of castes (phenotypes). (Smith et al. 2015)


Both winged and brachypterous queens are known (Ohkawara et al. 2006)




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

  • emeryi. Vollenhovia emeryi Wheeler, W.M. 1906c: 312, pl. 41, figs. 10, 11 (w.q.) JAPAN. Wheeler, W.M. 1928d: 112 (m.); Imai, 1966: 119 (k.). Senior synonym of chosenica: Radchenko, 2005b: 154.
  • chosenica. Vollenhovia emeryi subsp. chosenica Wheeler, W.M. 1928d: 113 (w.) KOREA. Junior synonym of emeryi: Radchenko, 2005b: 154.



  • n = 18, 2n = 36 (Japan) (Imai & Yosida, 1964; Imai, 1966; Imai, 1969).