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Cardiocondyla wroughtonii (Forel) 1890

by Joe A. MacGown, last updated 18 August 2016

Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, full face view of a worker
Photo courtesy of
Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, full face view of a worker
Photo courtesy of
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)

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 workers are small to medium in size (1.5 to 3.5 mm) and yellow to dark brown. The antenna is 11 or 12-segmented and terminates in a 3-segmented club. The clypeus is flattened with lateral portions projecting outward. The promesonotal suture is lacking. Propodeal spines may be distinct or absent. For their small size, workers have a relatively large sting. Pilosity is sparse to entirely absent on the dorsum of body.  In the southeastern United States, Temnothorax is the only genus that would be likely confused with Cardiocondyla.  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 United States 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:

Biology and Economic Importance
Habitat/Nesting: Reported to nest in hollow stems of dead grasses, dead twigs on ground, between layers of leaves,and in leaf litter (Seifert, 2003).

Life Cycle: This species, similar to others in the genus, produces ergatoid males in addition to alate males.

Native Range: Tropical Asia and Australia
Worldwide: India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, W. Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Tanzania (Seifert, 2003).

United States: Florida, Georgia (GA record could represent C. obscurior), Hawaii, Louisiana, and Mississippi (Seifert 2003, Smith 1979, MEM).

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

AntWeb Images
Discover Life Images
Identification Guide to Invasive Ants of the Pacific Islands:Cardiocondyla wroughtonii