Dorylus wilverthi

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dorylus wilverthi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Dorylus
Species: D. wilverthi
Binomial name
Dorylus wilverthi
Emery, 1899

Dorylus wilverthi casent0172657 profile 1.jpg

Dorylus wilverthi casent0172657 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


A sub-Sarahan driver ant.

Evolutionary Relationships

Dorylus laevigatus

Dorylus conradti

Dorylus orientalis

Dorylus fimbriatus laevipodex

Dorylus fulvus

Dorylus spininodis

Dorylus mayri

Dorylus nigricans rubellus

Dorylus nigricans molestus

Dorylus nigricans terrificus

Dorylus wilverthi

Dorylus nigricans burmeisteri

Dorylus nigricans sjostedti

Dorylus nigricans arcens

Dorylus nigricans

Dorylus emeryi

Dorylus gerstaeckeri

Dorylus gribodoi

Dorylus kohli

Dorylus emeryi opacus

Dorylus braunsi

Dorylus affinis

Dorylus helvolus

Based on Kronauer et al., 2007. Note only selected Dorylus species are included, and undescribed species are excluded.


A member of the Dorylus nigricans-group.


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (type locality), Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Dorylus wilverthi is a driver ant.

Butler et al. (2018) - Driver ant are a group of nomadic swarm-raiding army ants that are restricted to sub-Saharan Africa (Wilson, 1964; Gotwald, 1995). The group is comprised of approximately nine species (Kronauer et al., 2007; Scheoning, 2008) in the subgenus Anomma. Driver ants are top invertebrate predators with extremely large colonies that can contain more than 10 million workers (Gotwald, 1995). Unlike the queens of most other ants, army ant queens are permanently wingless. Instead of going on a mating flight, new queens mate within their natal nest with approximately 10–30 unrelated males that disperse on the wing. In driver ants, mating probably occurs within a 2- to 3-week period before the new queen assumes regnancy of her colony (Kronauer et al., 2004b; Kronauer & Boomsma, 2007), and the mother queen disperses on foot, taking a portion of the existing workers with her (Gotwald, 1995). Colonies of driver ants are monogynous, and queens are highly multiply mated.

In Kakamega Forest, Kenya this species co-occurs with Dorylus nigricans molestus (Garcia et al., 2009; Peters & Okalo, 2009; Kronauer et al., 2011; Peters et al., 2011). Dorylus wilverthi mainly inhabits intact rainforest habitat (Scheoning et al., 2006; Peters & Okalo, 2009; Peters et al., 2009).


Butler et al. (2018) found this ant and the co-occuring Dorylus nigricans molestus hybridize. Their study of the population genetics of naturally occurring colonies concluded: "hybridization is bidirectional and occurs at equal rates in both species. Hybrid workers make up only 1–2% of the population, and successful interspecific matings represent approximately 2% of all matings in both species. This shows that, although interspecific matings that give rise to worker offspring occur regularly, they are much rarer than intraspecific mating. Finally, we find no evidence of an association between hybridization and genetic caste determination in this population. This means that genetic caste determination is not a necessary outcome of hybridization in ants, even in species where queens mate with multiple males.

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 20,000,000 (Raignier & van Boven, 1955; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: group hunter (Raignier & van Boven, 1955; Beckers et al., 1989)



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

  • wilverthi. Dorylus (Anomma) wilverthi Emery, 1899e: 459, fig. (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Forel, 1909b: 51 (m.); Raignier & Boven, 1955: 86 (q.); Wheeler, G.C. 1943: 321 (l.). Senior synonym of nomadas: Raignier & Boven, 1955: 93; of nigritarsis: Boven, 1972: 144. See also: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1984: 268; Raignier & Boven, 1955: 115. [This name frequently misspelled as wilwerthi, for example by Santschi, 1910c: 352.]
  • nigritarsis. Dorylus nigritarsis Strand, 1911: 118 (q.) CAMEROUN. Combination in D. (Anomma): Santschi, 1915c: 248. Junior synonym of nigricans: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 737; of wilverthi: Boven, 1972: 144.
  • nomadas. Dorylus (Anomma) nomadas Santschi, 1935a: 254, fig. 1 (q.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Junior synonym of wilverthi: Raignier & Boven, 1955: 93.