Cardiocondyla elegans

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Cardiocondyla elegans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Cardiocondyla
Species group: elegans
Species: C. elegans
Binomial name
Cardiocondyla elegans
Emery, 1869

Cardiocondyla elegans casent0179878 p 1 high.jpg

Cardiocondyla elegans casent0179878 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


There are two queen castes in this species. Pashaei Rad et al. (2018) found this species in Iran on parkland soil in a Caspian moist littoral area.

At a Glance • Ergatoid male  


Seifert (2003) - A member of the Cardiocondyla elegans group. Long scape, long PLG, moderately large eyes, and small postocular distance.

Seifert (2023) - Relatively large, CS 560 µm. Head moderately elongated, CL/CW 1.159. Postocular distance low, PoOc/CL 0.394. Scape rather long, SL/CS 0.842. Eye rather large, EYE/CS 0.252, with notable microsetae. Occipital margin suggestively concave to straight. Frons rather broad (FRS/CS 0.264), frontal carinae slightly converging immediately caudal of FRS level (FL/FR 1.051). Dorsal profile of promesonotum and of propodeum convex with a deep metanotal depression (Mgr/CS 4.82 %). Spines rather short and acute (SP/CS 0.119), their axis in profile deviating by about 35° from longitudinal axis of mesosoma, their bases rather distant (SPBA/CS 0.267). Petiole rather wide and slightly lower than wide (PeW/CS 0.348, PeH/CS 0.330); in profile with a moderately long peduncle and a steep anterior slope of the node (about 65° relative to ventral profile). Postpetiole wide and moderately high (PpW/CS 0.580, PpH/CS 0.300), in dorsal view suggestively heard-shaped, with a concave anterior margin and convex sides; postpetiolar sternite convex. Head in overall impression mildly shiny. Whole vertex with shallow, feebly bicoronate foveolae of 16–18 µm diameter, foveolar distance on paramedian vertex smaller than foveolar diameter, near to eyes larger; the interspaces between foveolae shiny and in places with fragments of a very delicate microreticulum (Fig. 9). Mesosoma shiny, with weakly developed microreticulum and microrugulae, a large number of foveolae present on dorsal promesonotum, their distance approximately equal to their diameter. Dorsal propodeum glabrous but with small foveolae and a very delicate microrugosity. Dorsum of waist glabrous, with scattered fragments of very fine microreticular structures. First gaster tergite glabrous. Pubescence on whole body long and dense, PLg/CS 7.92 %, sqPDg 3.95. Color of head, mesosoma, waist and gaster usually homogenously dark to medium brown; mandibles, scape, tibiae and tarsae yellowish brown.

The 85 available nest samples of the sister species Cardiocondyla elegans and Cardiocondyla dalmatica can be separated with a mean error of 1.2 % by the exploratory data analyses NC-Ward, NC-part.hclust, NC-part.kmeans and NC-NMDS.kmeans using the characters CS, CL/CW, PoOc/CL, EYE/CS, SL/CS, SP/CS, PeW/CS, PpW/CS, PeH/CS, PpH/CS, sqPDg, PLg/CS, Mgr/CS and dFOv (Fig. 133). A LDA using the same characters classified 97.8 % of 185 worker individuals of both species correctly. In the sample mean and when run in the LDA as wild-cards, the type samples of C. elegans, C. santschii, C. provincialis and C. gallica are allocated with posterior probabilities of 0.8443, 0.9166, 0.9972 and 0.9924 to the elegans cluster, whereas the lectotype of C. dalmatica is allocated with p=0.9961 to the dalmatica cluster.

Keys including this Species


Cardiocondyla elegans is a western Mediterranean species, found from Portugal, southern France and Italy north to 47.5°N. In northern Italy east to 13.1°E and in southern Spain ascending to 930 m. Records of this species from the Balkans refer to Cardiocondyla dalmatica (Seifert, 2018, 2023; Lapeva-Gjonova & Antonova, 2022).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 47.5° to 36.5°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: Nepal.
Palaearctic Region: France, Iberian Peninsula, Italy (type locality), Portugal, Spain.

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.


Seifert (2003) - Cardiocondyla elegans shows a discrete gyne bimorphism in dimensions and shape of mesosoma and wing length while other measurements and characters are monomorphic. A cluster of gynes with MW 418 ± 16 [392, 442] (n = 10) can be separated from one with MW 485 ± 17 [465, 531] (n = 1 2) within 12 gyne samples investigated. The full similarity of the associated workers and the occurrence of both gyne types within the same nest (Barcelona: Bellaterra) indicate an intraspecific polymorphism. The microsomatic gynes with (ML*MW)/(CL*CW) 0.903 ± 0.024 [0.870, 0.940] are supposed to have weaker flight muscles and short wings. They should be mated intranidally by ergatoid males and should either stay within the mother colony, propagate by colony fission, or seek adoption in conspecific neighboured colonies. The macro somatic gynes with (ML*MW)/(CL*CW) 1.129 ± 0.046 [1.086, 1.254], strong flight muscles, and normal wing length are suspected to disperse in the air and to found a new colony independently after having been inseminated by an ergatoid male within the mother nest.

Colonies contain less then 500 workers and are monogynous.

Association with Other Organisms

Explore-icon.png Explore: Show all Associate data or Search these data. See also a list of all data tables or learn how data is managed.


This species is a host for the fungus Myrmicinosporidium durum (a pathogen) in France (Giehr et al., 2015).


  • Seifert (2023), Figs. 6–9. Cardiocondyla elegans; Fig. 6: head in dorsal view; Fig. 7 lateral view; Fig. 8: dorsal view; Fig. 9: head surface between inner eye margin and paramedian vertex. France: Brehemont-1.1 km E, 2010.07.15.


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

  • elegans. Cardiocondyla elegans Emery, 1869b: 21, pl. 1, fig. 10 (w.q.) ITALY.
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Seifert, 2003a: 225), 5 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: lectotype Italy: Naples, Capodimonte, (C. Emery); paralectotypes with same data but lacking date.
    • [Note: original description also mentions syntype workers: Italy: Naples, Portici, and a syntype putative queen: Italy: Lucca (Haliday).]
    • Type-depositories: MSNG (lectotype); MHNG (paralectotypes).
    • Menozzi, 1918: 83 (ergatoid m.); Kugler, J. 1984: 14 (ergatoid m.).
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1877: 18; Emery, 1878b: 50; Emery & Forel, 1879: 456; Mayr, 1880: 37; Forel, 1881: 7; André, 1881b: 69; André, 1883a: 328 (in key); Emery, 1889a: 441; Mayr, 1889: 280; Nasonov, 1889: 38; Dalla Torre, 1893: 70; Ruzsky, 1902d: 25; Ruzsky, 1905b: 624; Emery, 1909a: 21; Karavaiev, 1910b: 56; Emery, 1916b: 153; Menozzi, 1918: 83; Bondroit, 1918: 147; Emery, 1922e: 125; Karavaiev, 1934: 114; Grandi, 1935: 100; Finzi, 1936: 166; Finzi, 1939b: 88; Donisthorpe, 1950e: 1060; Consani & Zangheri, 1952: 40; Bernard, 1956c: 301 (in key); Ceballos, 1956: 308; Bernard, 1967: 157 (redescription); Pisarski, 1967: 388; Collingwood & Yarrow, 1969: 75; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 68; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 76; Tarbinsky, 1976: 73; Hamann & Klemm, 1976: 673; Aktaç, 1977: 121; Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 538 (in key); Collingwood, 1978: 86 (in key); Kugler, J. 1984: 14; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 56; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b: 276 (in key); Kugler, J. 1988: 258; Dlussky, Soyunov & Zabelin, 1990: 194; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 172; Collingwood, 1993b: 194; Arakelian, 1994: 43; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Poldi, et al. 1995: 4; Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Espadaler, 1997b: 29; Collingwood & Prince, 1998: 16 (in key); Collingwood & Heatwole, 2000: 7; Rigato, 2002: 173 (in key); Seifert, 2003a: 225 (redescription); Petrov, 2006: 99 (in key); Bračko, 2007: 17; Gratiashvili & Barjadze, 2008: 138; Paknia, et al. 2008: 153; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowski, 2009: 487; Vonshak, et al. 2009: 41; Lapeva-Gjonova, et al. 2010: 26; Csösz, et al. 2011: 57; Karaman, M.G. 2011b: 21; Legakis, 2011: 16; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2012: 484; Guénard & Dunn, 2012: 40; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 17; Borowiec, L. 2014: 46; Bračko, et al. 2014: 13; Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, 2014: 135; Lebas, et al. 2016: 266; Salata & Borowiec, 2018c: 44; Seifert, 2018: 186.
    • Senior synonym of gallica: Baroni Urbani, 1973a: 200; Kugler, J. 1984: 14; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Seifert, 2003a: 225; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowsky, 2009: 487.
    • Senior synonym of provincialis: Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Seifert, 2003a: 225; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowsky, 2009: 487.
    • Senior synonym of santschii: Bondroit, 1918: 147; Emery, 1922e: 125; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Seifert, 2003a: 225; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowsky, 2009: 487; Legakis, 2011: 16.
    • Distribution: France, Italy, Portugal, Spain.
    • [Note: distribution from Borowiec, L. 2014: 46, modified after Seifert, 2018:186-187.]
  • gallica. Xenometra gallica Bernard, 1957b: 101, fig. 1 (q.) FRANCE.
    • Type-material: 3 syntype males.
    • [Note: the three syntypes are ergatoid males, not queens (Baroni Urbani, 1973a: 200).]
    • Type-locality: France: edge of Dordogne, Lot, Pinsac, ix.1951 (G. Lepointe).
    • Type-depository: MNHN.
    • Status as species: Bernard, 1967: 158 (redescription); Kutter, 1968b: 203.
    • Junior synonym of elegans: Baroni Urbani, 1973a: 200; Kugler, J. 1984: 14; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Seifert, 2003a: 225; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowsky, 2009: 487.
  • provincialis. Cardiocondyla provincialis Bernard, 1956c: 303, fig. 6 (w.) FRANCE.
    • Type-material: 2 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: France: Var, Frejus, ix.1934 (F. Bernard).
    • Type-depository: MNHN.
    • Status as species: Bernard, 1967: 158 (redescription); Bolton, 1995b: 133.
    • Junior synonym of elegans: Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Seifert, 2003a: 225; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowsky, 2009: 487.
  • santschii. Cardiocondyla elegans r. santschii Forel, 1905b: 174 (w.) FRANCE.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: France: Marseille, viii.1904 (F. Santschi).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Forel, 1910a: 23 (q.).
    • Subspecies of elegans: Forel, 1910a: 23; Forel, 1911f: 276; Forel, 1911h: 457; Santschi, 1926f: 293.
    • Junior synonym of elegans: Bondroit, 1918: 147; Emery, 1922e: 125; Bolton, 1995b: 133; Radchenko, 1995b: 449; Seifert, 2003a: 225; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowsky, 2009: 487; Legakis, 2011: 16.

Type Material

Cardiocondyla elegans (examined by Seifert, 2023)

  • The species has been described from Napoli / Italy. Investigated were one lectotype worker from MCSN genova and five paralectotype worker from MHN genève (a gift of Emery to Forel). The lectotype worker is labelled “Naples♀”, Bosco di Capodimonte 18. VI 1866”, “Cardiocondyla elegans Em. Napoli”, “TYPUS”, “Lectotype Cardiocondyla elegans Emery 1869, designated by B.Seifert 1998” and “ANTWEB CASENT 0904460”.

Cardiocondyla elegans santschii (examined by Seifert, 2003, 2023)

  • Lectotype worker designated by Seifert (2003). This taxon has been described from Marseille / France. Investigated were 5 worker syntypes labelled: “C. elegans Em. r. santschii. type For. Marseille vIII. 04 (Santschi)”, “TYPUS”, ANTWEB CASENT 0908353”; MHN genève. Three worker and two gynes from MHN genève labelled by Forel “C. elegans santschii Forel, type, Candia (Biso)” have no type status as the locality Candia is not mentioned in the original description.

Cardiocondyla provincialis (examined by Seifert, 2023)

  • The type locality of this taxon is Fréjus / France. Investigated were two worker syntypes labelled “Fréjus (var) plage IX. 34 F. Bernard”, “Cardiocondyla provincialis F. Bernard”, “Type”, “ANTWEB CASENT 0915398”; MNHN Paris.

Xenometra gallica (examined by Seifert, 2023)

  • This taxon has been described from Pinsac / France. Investigated were 3 ergatoid male syntypes plus 5 workers and 5 gynes labelled “Xenometra gallica F. Bernard”, “Pinsac Lepointe 1951”, “Type”, “ANTWEB CASENT 0915399”, MNHN Paris. This taxon was erected because F. Bernard erroneously considered the ergatoid males found within a nest sample of C. elegans as gynes of a different socially parasitic species.



Seifert (2003) - Rather large species, CS 560 ± 30. Head of medium length, CL/CW 1.153. Postocular distance smaller than in related species, PoOC/CL 0.397. Eye of medium size, EYE 0.248. Scape longer than in related species, SL/CS 0.847. Pubescence length on 1st tergite much longer than in other species, PLG 41.8. Clypeus more or less glabrous, with few weak longitudinal microrugae in posterior and lateral areas. Frontal lobes and frontocentral vertex posterior of frontal carinae finely longitudinal microrugulose. Frontal carinae usually slightly converging immediately caudal of the FRS level. Whole vertex with shallow but well-demarcated simple or bicoronate foveolae of 16 - 19 mm diameter; interspaces between foveolae on paramedian vertex smaller than their diameter. Dorsal area of promesonotum with shallow foveolae of 10 - 15 mm diameter around bases of pubescence hairs, interspaces glabrous and larger than foveolar diameter. Dorsal area of propodeum glabrous but with small foveolae and very delicate microrugosity. Lateral area of mesosoma in overall impression shining but finely microreticulate-rugulose. Dorsum of waist glabrous, with scattered fragments of very tine microreticular structures. First gaster tergite glabrous. Spines well-developed but rather blunt. Petiole node wider than long. Postpetiolar sternite with anteromedian portion significantly more bulging than anteroparamedian portion; in lateral view this anteromedian bulge forming small, obtusely-angled, rounded corner and changing into helcium with distinct angle. Head, mesosoma, waist, and gaster concolorous dark to blackish brown.


Seifert (2003) - Rather large, CS 635. Head of medium length (CL/CW 1.1 37 ± 0.015) and with slightly excavated occipital margin. Postocular distance smaller than in related species, PoOc/CL 0.390 ± 0.010. Scape much longer than in related species, SL/CS 0.803 ± 0.014. Whole body covered with very long and dense pubescence. Vertex with rather shallow but well-demarcated, closely-set, bicoronate foveolae; interspaces clearly smaller than foveolar diameter and on frontocentral and paramedian vertex with longitudinal rugulae. Frontal lobes densely rugulose. Lateral area of clypeus with few longitudinal carinulae. Promesonotum, prescutellum, and scutellum densely foveolate. Cuticular surface of dorsal waist and gaster glabrous, with scattered fragments of microreticular structures and numerous basal pits of pubescence hairs. Metapleurae microreticulate and with few longitudinal carinulae on the bulla glandulae metapleuralis. Propodeal spines well-developed but rather blunt. Petiole node in lateral view not produced caudad, in dorsal view nearly twice as wide than long. Postpetiole node twice as wide than long and with weakly concave anterodorsal margin; its sternite with a conspicuous anteroventromedial corner. Whole body concolourous medium to blackish brown. Gynes with mesosoma dimorphism.


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