Crematogaster scutellaris

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Crematogaster scutellaris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Crematogaster
Species: C. scutellaris
Binomial name
Crematogaster scutellaris
(Olivier, 1792)

Crematogaster scutellaris casent0173120 profile 1.jpg

Crematogaster scutellaris casent0173120 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


An extremely common, arboreal species reported from the Maghreb to western Russia (Rigato & Toni, 2011).

Photo Gallery

  • Worker. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Queen. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Worker and queen. Photo by Michal Kukla.


Head shining yellowish red contrasting with the brown alitrunk and dark gaster. Antennae 11 segmented. Length: 3.5-5.0 mm (Collingwood 1979).

Keys including this Species


Karaman (2010) - Crematogaster scutellaris is distributed in Italy, Austria, France, Iberian Peninsula and south Germany (Hölzel, 1966; Collingwood & Yarrow, 1969; Collingwood, 1978; Poldi et al., 1995; Seifert, 1996; Heller, 2004). The species is also found in Croatia on the island of Korčula (Bračko, 2006), and in the southeast Bosnia and Herzegovina on Baba Mtn (Fahringer, 1922). Cobelli (1906) cites Crematogaster scutellaris for Slovenia based on his collection of workers. However, the color pattern of the workers, reddish-brown head, thorax and petiole, and black abdomen, matches the description of C. schmidti. Petrov (2008) cite C. scutellaris for Montenegro, providing no locality data.

Crematogaster schmidti and C. scutellaris are allopatric species. The transgression zone between the two species is the region from Slovenia (east slopes of Julian Alpes) to the Adriatic coast of Croatia (Dalmatia), and the southeast Bosnia and Herzegovina. The two species do not hybridize because no intermediate forms have been found in the transgression zone [the territory of former Yugoslavia] (Atanassov & Dlusskij, 1992). Based on the current distribution of C. schmidti and C. scutellaris, we are expecting C. scutellaris to be found in Slovenia, and rejecting the possibility of the same species being present in Montenegro.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Andorra, Austria, Balearic Islands, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, France (type locality), Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Collingwood (1979) - This arboricolous species is frequently introduced with cork from South Europe or North Africa and has on occasion established itself temporarily in and around warehouses and cork factories in England.

Frizzi et al. (2015) - Crematogaster scutellaris is commonly found in both natural and human-managed ecosystems across the Mediterranean Basin. Nests are excavated in tree trunks or logs and can host up to several thousand workers. This is a dominant species that influences ant community dynamics and arthropod communities. Previous studies suggested C. scutellaris is monogynous, has polydomous nests and exhibits inter-nest aggressiveness which varies with distance. This study examined nestmate recognition in a large olive orchard near Florence, Italy, from March 2009 to September 2010. Nests were located by banging on the trunk of trees. Resident colonies would respond with a defensive swarm of ants that would emerge from their nest holes. Genetic, chemical (CHCs) and spatial characteristics (from 5 to 175 m distances) were examined and behavioral experiments (5 x 5 battles) performed for a range of within and between colony analyses. Polydomy was confirmed by genetic analysis. Many nests were spread across more than a single tree. Genetic analysis supported there being a single queen per colony, with a core nest containing the queen and a network of satellite nests. Genetic differences between nests were strong but were not correlated with distance. This implies a long distance spatial dispersal strategy during mating and/or prior to colony foundation. Cuticular chemical profiles varied significantly among both nests and colonies. This appeared to be explained by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Aggression between colonies was uneven, occurring in ~50% of the staged tests. Aggressiveness increased with both spatial proximity and similarity in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles among colonies, suggesting a “nasty neighbor” effect.

Bordoni et al. (2018) experimentally showed how Crematogaster scutellaris workers exposed to the same pathogen as their mother exhibited increased survival compared to control workers. These results suggest social immunity, passed on from one generation to the next, can be important for social organisms. "They "found, for the first time in ants, that founding queens exposed to a non-lethal dose of an entomopathogenic fungus produce offspring with an increased resistance to the same pathogen. This phenomenon did not reveal apparent costs to foundresses and workers, at least with respect to their survival and reproductive output."

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.

Association with Other Organisms

  • This species is a host for the agaonid wasp Blastophaga psenes (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (associate).
  • This species is a host for the pteromalid wasp Philotrypesis caricae (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (associate).



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

  • scutellaris. Formica scutellaris Olivier, 1792: 497 (w.) FRANCE. Mayr, 1855: 469 (q.m.). Combination in Crematogaster: Mayr, 1855: 469; in C. (Acrocoelia): Emery, 1922e: 143; in C. (Crematogaster): Bolton, 1995b: 166. Senior synonym of rediana, rubriceps, ruficeps: Mayr, 1855: 469; of haematocephala: Roger, 1863b: 36; of grouvellei, lichtensteini: Bernard, 1967: 164; of corsica, degener: Casevitz-Weulersse, 1990a: 137. Material of the unavailable name hybrida referred here by Baroni Urbani, 1964a: 4. See also: Emery, 1912e: 652; Stitz, 1939: 128; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 79; Kutter, 1977c: 88; Radchenko, 2007: 33. Current subspecies: nominal plus alii, nigra (unresolved junior homonym), tenuispina.
  • haematocephala. Formica haematocephala Leach, 1825: 291 (w.q.m.) FRANCE. Junior synonym of scutellaris: Roger, 1863b: 36.
  • rediana. Myrmica rediana Gené, 1841: 399 (w.) ITALY. Junior synonym of scutellaris: Mayr, 1855: 469.
  • rubriceps. Myrmica rubriceps Nylander, 1849: 44 (w.) ITALY (Sicily). Junior synonym of scutellaris: Mayr, 1855: 469; Radchenko, 2007: 33.
  • ruficeps. Acrocoelia ruficeps Mayr, 1853a: 147 (w.) AUSTRIA. Junior synonym of scutellaris: Mayr, 1855: 469.
  • grouvellei. Crematogaster scutellaris var. grouvellei Bondroit, 1918: 115 (w.q.) FRANCE. Junior synonym of scutellaris: Bernard, 1967: 164.
  • lichtensteini. Crtematogaster scutellaris var. lichtensteini Bondroit, 1918: 114 (w.) FRANCE. Junior synonym of scutellaris: Bernard, 1967: 164.
  • corsica. Crematogaster scutellaris var. corsica Santschi, 1921b: 435 (w.) FRANCE (Corsica). Junior synonym of scutellaris: Casevitz-Weulersse, 1990a: 137.
  • degener. Crematogaster scutellaris var. degener Santschi, 1937e: 310 (w.) TUNISIA. Junior synonym of scutellaris: Casevitz-Weulersse, 1990a: 137.



  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1964a. Su alcune formiche raccolte in Turchia. Annu. Ist. Mus. Zool. Univ. Napoli 16: 1-12 (page 4, material of the unavailable name hybrida referred here)
  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1971c. Catalogo delle specie di Formicidae d'Italia (Studi sulla mirmecofauna d'Italia X). Mem. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 50: 5-287 (page 79, see also)
  • Bernard, F. 1967a [1968]. Faune de l'Europe et du Bassin Méditerranéen. 3. Les fourmis (Hymenoptera Formicidae) d'Europe occidentale et septentrionale. Paris: Masson, 411 pp. (page 164, Senior synonym of grouvellei and lichtensteini)
  • Bordoni, A., L. Dapporto, I. Tatini, M. Celli, M. Bercigli, S. R. Barrufet, B. Perito, and S. Turillazzi. 2018. Trans-generational immunization in the acrobat ant Crematogaster scutellaris. Biology Letters. 14:20170761. doi:doi:10.1098/rsbl.2017.0761
  • Casevitz-Weulersse, J. 1990b. Étude systématique de la myrmécofaune corse (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) (Première partie). Bull. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. Sect. A Zool. Biol. Écol. Anim. (4) 12: 135-163 (page 137, Senior synonym of corsica and degener)
  • Emery, C. 1912e. Beiträge zur Monographie der Formiciden des paläarktischen Faunengebietes. Teil XI. Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1912: 651-672 (page 652, see also)
  • Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 143, Combination in C. (Acrocoelia))
  • Frizzi, F., C. Ciofi, L. Dapporto, C. Natali, G. Chelazzi, S. Turillazzi, and G. Santini. 2015. The Rules of Aggression: How Genetic, Chemical and Spatial Factors Affect Intercolony Fights in a Dominant Species, the Mediterranean Acrobat Ant Crematogaster scutellaris. Plos One. 10. 15 pp. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137919
  • Giuliani, C., L. Lastrucci, L. Cresti, G. Santini, B. Fogg, and M. M. Lippi. 2019. The morphology and activity of the extrafloral nectaries in Reynoutria x bohemica (Polygonaceae). Plant Biology. 21:975-985. doi:10.1111/plb.13004
  • Karaman, M. G. 2010. New data of the genus Crematogaster Lund, 1831 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Crna Gora (Montenegro), Part I: Crematogaster scutellaris group of species. Türkiye Entomoloji Dergisi 34:419-434. PF
  • Kutter, H. 1977c. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Insecta Helv. Fauna 6: 1-298 (page 88, see also)
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 469, queen, male described, Combination in Crematogaster, page 469, Senior synonym of rediana, rubriceps and ruficeps)
  • Olivier, A. G. 1792. Encyclopédie méthodique. Histoire naturelle. Insectes. Tome 6. (pt. 2). Paris: Panckoucke, pp. 369-704. (page 497, worker described)
  • Rigato, F.; Toni, I. 2011. Short notes 21. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Pp. 873-882 in: Nardi, G.; Whitmore, D.; Bardiani, M.; Birtele, D.; Mason, F.; Spada, L.; Cerretti, P. (eds.) 2011. Biodiversity of Marganai and Montimannu (Sardinia). Research in the framework of the ICP Forests network. Conservazione Habitat Invertebrati, 5. Sommacampagna, Verona: Cierre Edizioni, 896 pp.
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 36, Senior synonym of haematocephala)
  • Stitz, H. 1939. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands und der angrenzenden Meersteile nach ihren Merkmalen und nach ihrer Lebensweise. 37. Theil. Hautflüger oder Hymenoptera. I: Ameisen oder Formicidae. Jena: G. Fischer, 428 pp. (page 128, see also)