Vollenhovia nipponica

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Vollenhovia nipponica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Vollenhovia
Species: V. nipponica
Binomial name
Vollenhovia nipponica
Kinomura & Yamauchi, 1992

Common Name
Language: Japanese

This species is a workerless inquiline parasitising Vollenhovia emeryi (de la Mora et al., 2021; Kinomura, 1992; Ohkawara & Aonuma, 2016).

At a Glance • Workerless Inquiline  • Brachypterous Queen  • Limited invasive  


Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 33.8446° to 31.96666667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States.
Palaearctic Region: Republic of Korea, Japan (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.



The genome of P. nipponica was sequenced for a study examining how this and other 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)


Queen described as brachypterous (Ohkawara and Satoh 2015)


Images from AntWeb

Vollenhovia nipponica antweb1008093 h 1 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008093 h 2 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008093 p 1 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008093 l 1 high.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code antweb1008093. Photographer Joe MacGown, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by DBBC, Douglas B. Booher Collection.
Vollenhovia nipponica antweb1008092 p 2 high.jpg
Specimen code antweb1008092. .


Images from AntWeb

Vollenhovia nipponica antweb1008094 h 1 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008094 h 2 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008094 p 1 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008094 p 2 high.jpgVollenhovia nipponica antweb1008094 l 1 high.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code antweb1008094. Photographer Joe MacGown, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by DBBC, Douglas B. Booher Collection.


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

  • nipponica. Vollenhovia nipponica Kinomura & Yamauchi, 1992: 203, figs. 1, 2 (q.m.) JAPAN.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Harada Y., K. Nishikubo, K. Matsumoto, M. Matsuda, Y. Inazawa, Y. Ozono, S. Koto, N. Kawaguchi, and S. Yamane. 2011. Ant fauna of Japanese beech (Fagus crenata) forests in southwestern Japan. Bull. Biogeogr. Soc. Japan 66: 115-127.
  • Kinomura K., and K. Yamauchi. 1992. A new workerless socially parasitic species of the genus Vollenhovia (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from Japan. Jpn. J. Entomol. 60: 203-206.
  • Kobayashi K., H. Tamura, M. Okamoto, E. Hasegawa, K. Ohkawara. 2012. Phylogenetic relationships among populations of Vollenhovia ants, with particular focus on the evolution of wing morphology. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 105(3):454-461.
  • Minato M., T. Kameyama, F. Ito, and T. Itino. 1996. A preliminary report of ant fauna in Gagawa Prefecture. Ari 20: 9-13.
  • Terayama M. 1992. Structure of ant communities in East Asia. A. Regional differences and species richness. Bulletin of the Bio-geographical Society of Japan 47: 1-31.
  • Terayama M., K. Ogata, and B.M. Choi. 1994. Distribution records of ants in 47 prefectures of Japan. Ari (report of the Myrmecologists Society of Japan) 18: 5-17.