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Subfamily MYRMICINAE
Tribe CREMATOGASTRINI

Cardiocondyla wroughtonii (Forel, 1890)

"yellow sneaking ant"

Authors: Joe A. MacGown and Ryan J. Whitehouse
Uploaded 2009; last updated 16 September 2016

Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, full face view of a worker (FL, Broward Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, lateral view of a worker (FL, Broward Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, dorsal view of a worker (FL, Broward Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, full face view of a dealate queen (FL, Orange Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, lateral view of a dealate queen (FL, Orange Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, dorsal view of a dealate queen (FL, Orange Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, full face view of an alate queen (MS, Pearl River Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, lateral view of an alate queen (MS, Pearl River Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, view of the wings an alate queen (MS, Pearl River Co.) (photo by Ryan J. Whitehouse & Joe MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, full face view of a queen (MS, Pearl River Co.) (photo by Joe A. MacGown)
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, lateral view of a queen (MS, Pearl River Co.) (photo by Joe A. MacGown)

Introduction
Cardiocondyla is an old world genus of omnivorous ants native to Africa and Asia.  This genus includes several common tramp species that have spread globally with human commerce.  Because of their small size, Cardiocondyla species are often overlooked.  Colonies of most species are small (<500 workers) and are typically located in soil, especially in disturbed, open habitats near rivers, roads, forest margins, or other similar areas (Seifert 2003).  However, some species also nest above ground in plant structures.  Members of this genus are not generally considered to be a pest species.

Cardiocondyla wroughtonii (Forel, 1890) (Myrmicinae), the yellow sneaking ant, is a tiny, yellow tramp ant that can be found worldwide. It is not considered to be a pest, nor has not been shown to have negative environmental effects

Taxonomic History
Emeryia wroughtonii Forel, 1890: cxi (ergatoid m., not w.) INDIA. Indomalaya. "India, Poona, feuilles d'Eugenia, coll. Wroughton." Museum d’Histoire Naturelle, Geneva, Switzerland (MHNG). Forel, 1903: 689 (w.q.); Borgmeier, 1937: 129 (ergatoid m.); Kugler, 1984: 7 (m., ergatoid m.). Combination in Cardiocondyla: Forel, 1892: 461; Forel, 1892: 313. Senior synonym of Cardiocondyla hawaiensis: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 56; of Cardiocondyla bimaculata: Smith, 1979: 1376; of Cardiocondyla chlorotica: Bolton, 1982}: 317; of Cardiocondyla longispina, Cardiocondyla quadraticeps, Cardiocondyla yamauchii: Seifert, 2003A: 269.

Identification
Worker:  Minute: TL ≈ 1.67-1.75mm, HL 0.45-0.49mm, HW 0.35-0.40mm, SL 0.32-0.36mm, EL 0.10-0.11mm, MeSL 0.49-0.52mm (n= 5) (MEM specimens). light yellowish brown ant with the first gastral tergite brown to dark brown. Head slightly longer than wide, with large shallow, tightly interwoven foveolate reticulation; with  scattered, short, appressed pubesecence; eyes large, located on sides of head just below midline of the head; mandibles with five teeth; clypeus flattened with lateral portions projecting outward; anterior clypeal margin with a long seta projecting over the mandibles; antennal scape does not reach the occipital border; antennae 12-segmented with  3-segmented club. Mesosoma with dense, shallow, foveolate reticution; lacking conspicuous setae; mesonotum relatively flat; promesonotal suture weak; metanotal groove deeply impressed; propodeum armed with a stout spine on either side; propodeal spines similar in length to the distance between their bases. Waist 2-segmented, with fine, appressed pubescence, lacking erect setae; petiole, squarish in profile, with a ventral, median process, with foveolate reticulation; postpetiole circular (in lateral view), mostly shiny, with a medial, lateral notch or concave impression on the anterior margin in the lateral view. Gaster shiny with a few, short appressed setae; apex with a small cluster of setae; sting present.

Queen: Minute, slightly larger than workers: TL ≈ 1.90-2.0mm,HL 0.51-0.53mm, HW 0.41-0.44mm, SL 0.35-0.36mm, EL 0.12-0.13mm, MeSL 0.63-0.69mm (n= 5) (MEM specimens). Yellowish-brown with a brown band on the first gastral tergite remainder of the gaster slightly darker than the body. Head longer than wide, with large shallow, tightly interwoven foveolate reticulation; with  scattered, short, appressed pubesecence; eyeslarge, located on sides of head just below midline of the head; 3 small ocelli present, occasionally with dark pigmentation around their bases; mandibles with five teeth; clypeus distinctly raised above the surrounding areas; scapes not reaching the occipital border; antennae 12-segmented with a 3-segmented club. Mesosoma, enlarged with four wings or wing scars, with shallow foveolate reticulation; scattered, fine, appressed pubescence; longer erect setae lacking; propodeum with stout spine on each side; spines about as long as the width between their bases. Wings simple, lacking closed cell. Waist 2-segmented, with fine, appressed pubescence, lacking erect setae; petiole, squarish in profile, with a ventral, median process, with foveolate reticulation; postpetiole circular (in lateral view), mostly shiny, with a medial, lateral notch or concave impression on the anterior margin in the lateral view. Gaster shiny with a few, short appressed setae; apex with a small cluster of setae; sting present.

Workers of  C. wroughtonii can be recognized by their small size, yellowish color, the clypeus being flattened and projecting over mandible, somewhat enlarged apical funicular segment, lack of long erect setae on the head and body, and presence of propodeal spines. Some minor workersof Pheidole are similar in appearance, but differ by not the clypeus not being flattened and usually having erect setae on the body. Temnothorax species in this region differ by having distinct pilosity present on the dorsum of the body. Cardiocondyla wroughtonii can be differentiated from the other four species of Cardiocondyla reported from the southeastern US by its color, which is predominately yellowish brown, but sometimes with some dark coloration on the first gastral tergite, its having a distinct metanotal groove, relatively short antennal scapes; and relatively long propodeal spines.

Original Description
Link to paper with original description by Wheeler: http://antbase.org/ants/publications/3927/3927.pdf

Biology and Economic Importance 
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii can be found around the world in tropical and subtropical environments. It has been reported to nest in hollow stems of dead grasses, dead twigs on the ground, between layers of leaves, and in leaf litter (Seifert, 2003). Not much is specifically known about the biology of C. wroughtonii, but it is probably similar to other similar species in its genus. Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, like to others in the genus, produces ergatoid males in addition to alate males and tends to have polygynous colonies, though monogynous ones have been seen.

At the moment, C. wroughtonii is not considered to be a pest. Also, because so little is known about C. wroughtonii, any environmental impact it may have is currently unknown.

Distribution
The fact that the other two species on the C. wroughtonii-group are confined to India and Borneo point at the native range for C. wroughtonii to be in tropical Southeast Asia (Seifert, 2003).

Native Range: Tropical Asia and Australia 

Australian: Australia, French Polynesia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea (AntWeb.org and Seifert, 2003).
Ethiopian: Comoros, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion, Seychelles, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania (AntWeb.org).
Nearctic: United States (MEM)
Neotropical: Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago (AntWeb.org).
Oriental: Borneo, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Siri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam (AntWeb.org and Seifert, 2003).
Palearctic: China, Israel, Japan, Macaronesia, Saudi Arabia (AntWeb.org).

U.S. Distribution: FL, GA, HI, LA, MS, TX (AntWeb.org, AntWiki.org and MEM).
Southeastern U.S. Distribution: FL, GA, LA, MS (AntWeb.org, AntWiki.org, MEM, Seifert, 2003 and Smith, 1979) (GA record could represent C. obscurior).

Acknowledgments
Funding for the ant work being done by the MEM in Alabama and Mississippi is from several sources including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, under Project No. MIS-012040, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at Mississippi State University, with support from State Project MIS-311080, NSF Grants BSR-9024810 and DFB-9200856, the Tombigbee National Forest (U.S. Forest Service), the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi Natural Heritage Program Research Grant, USDA Forest Service Agreement No. 08-99-07-CCS-010, the William H. Cross Expedition Fund, and primarily by the USDA-ARS Areawide Management of Imported Fire Ant Project (2001-2014) and USDA-ARS Areawide Management Invasive Ants Project. Additionally, special cooperation has been provided by State Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, the Natchez Trace Parkway, and from various private landowners in both Alabama and Mississippi.

Literature Cited
Bolton, B. 1982. Afrotropical species of the myrmicine ant genera CardiocondylaLeptothoraxMelissotarsusMessor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 45:307-370.

Borgmeier, T. 1937. Cardiocondyla emeryi Forel no Brasil, e a descoberta do macho ergatoide desta especie (Hym. Formicidae). Revista de Entomologia (Rio de Janeiro) 7:129-134.

Forel, A. 1890. Aenictus-Typhlatta découverte de M. Wroughton. Nouveaux genres de Formicides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 34:cii-cxiv.

Forel, A. 1892. Le mâle des Cardiocondyla [sic] et la reproduction consanguine perpétuée. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 36:458-461.

Forel, A. 1892. Die Ameisenfauna Bulgariens. (Nebst biologischen Beobachtungen.). Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 42:305-318.

Forel, A. 1903. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part X. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 14:679-715.

Kugler, J. 1984 ("1983"). The males of Cardiocondyla Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with the description of the winged male of Cardiocondyla wroughtoni (Forel). Israel Journal of Entomology 17:1-21. 

Seifert, B. 2003. The ant genus Cardiocondyla (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae) - a taxonomic revision of the C. elegans, C. bulgarica, C. batesii, C. nuda, C. shuckardi, C. stambuloffii, C. wroughtonii, C. emeryi, and C. minutior species groups. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien. B. Bot. Zool. 104(B): 203-338.

Smith, D. R. 1979. Superfamily Formicoidea. Pp. 1323-1467 in: Krombein, K. V.; Hurd, P. D.; Smith, D. R.; Burks, B. D. (eds.) 1979. Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico. Volume 2. Apocrita (Aculeata). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. i-xvi, 1199-2209.

Smith, D. R. 1979.  In Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D. C.  Vol. 2, pp. 1323-1427. 

Wilson, E. O.; Taylor, R. W. 1967. The ants of Polynesia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pacific Insects Monograph 14:1-109.

Links
AntCat
AntWeb
AntWiki
Identification Guide to Invasive Ants of the Pacific Islands:Cardiocondyla wroughtonii