Messor ebeninus

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Messor ebeninus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Messor
Species group: instabilis
Species complex: semirufus
Species: M. ebeninus
Binomial name
Messor ebeninus
Santschi, 1927

Messor ebeninus casent0249822 p 1 high.jpg

Messor ebeninus casent0249822 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

At Rawdhat Khorim, Saudi Arabia, worker activity has two peaks of abundance, in April and December, decreasing from July through October (Sharaf et al., 2013). Pashaei Rad et al. (2018) found this species in Iran on parkland ground in a moderate rainfall area.


Collingwood and Agosti (1996) - HW 2.0-2.5; EL/HW 0.19-0.23. This evenly black species has a rather variable pilosity with 1-5 hairs at each side on the occiput, 1-2 pairs on the propodeum, one pair each on the petiole and postpetiole and there are a few occasional hairs on the first gastral tergite.


Records of this species from Serbia are doubtful and are probably based on misidentifications (Borowiec, 2014).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 34.733333° to 13.213889°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates.
Palaearctic Region: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon (type locality), Montenegro, Oman, Türkiye.

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.

This species is known to occur in the Middle East (Abdul-Rassoul et al. 2013) and is widely distributed throughout the Arabian Peninsula (Collingwood, 1985, Collingwood and Agosti, 1996) (Sharaf et al., 2013).


Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Life History Traits

  • Worker-produced males: absent (Tohme (1972) cited in Choe (1988); Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (workers reported to lay fertile (haploid) eggs in queenless colonies but only trophic eggs in queenright colonies)



Images from AntWeb

Messor ebeninus casent0264156 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0264156 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0264156 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0264156 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0264156. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Messor ebeninus casent0901472 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0901472 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0901472 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0901472 l 1 high.jpg
Type of unavailable quadrinomial: Messor barbarus semirufus ebeninaWorker. Specimen code casent0901472. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by OUM, Oxford, UK.
Messor ebeninus casent0907735 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0907735 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0907735 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0907735 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Messor ebeninusWorker. Specimen code casent0907735. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MHNG, Geneva, Switzerland.
Messor ebeninus casent0249861 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249861 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249861 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249861 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0249861. Photographer Ryan Perry, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.
Messor ebeninus casent0264196 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0264196 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0264196 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0264196 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0264196. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Messor ebeninus casent0907734 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0907734 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0907734 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0907734 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Messor ebeninusWorker (major/soldier). Specimen code casent0907734. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MHNG, Geneva, Switzerland.
Messor ebeninus casent0263749 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0263749 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0263749 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0263749 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0263749. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Messor ebeninus casent0249823 h 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249823 p 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249823 d 1 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249823 d 2 high.jpgMessor ebeninus casent0249823 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0249823. Photographer Ryan Perry, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.


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

  • ebeninus. Messor semirufus var. ebeninus Santschi, 1927c: 229.
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-localities: Syria: Berzé (G. de Kerville), Israel: Convent of the Passion (= Nazareth?) (E. Schmitz).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • [First available use of Messor barbarus subsp. semirufus var. ebenina Forel, 1910a: 10 (w.) SYRIA, ISRAEL; unavailable (infrasubspecific) name.]
    • Finzi, 1936: 160 (q.); Tohmé, G. 1971: 573 (m.).
    • As unavailable (infrasubspecific) name: Forel, 1913d: 427; Crawley, 1920a: 164; Emery, 1921f: 72; Emery, 1922c: 97.
    • Subspecies of semirufus: Menozzi, 1933b: 52; Finzi, 1936: 160; Santschi, 1938a: 31.
    • Junior synonym of semirufus: Baroni Urbani, 1974: 227.
    • Status as species: Tohmé, G. 1971: 569 (redescription); Tohmé, G. 1975: 171; Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, H. 1981: 142; Collingwood, 1985: 249; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 54; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b: 271 (in key); Kugler, J. 1988: 257; Bolton, 1995b: 254; Collingwood & Agosti, 1996: 317; Mohamed, Zalat, et al. 2001: 51; Petrov, 2006: 92 (in key); Paknia, et al. 2008: 155; Lush, 2009: 114; Vonshak, et al. 2009: 42; Collingwood, et al. 2011: 426; Karaman, M.G. 2011b: 37; Legakis, 2011: 10; Borowiec, L. & Salata, 2012: 513; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 19; Sharaf, Abdel-Dayem, et al. 2013: 572; Borowiec, L. 2014: 105; Tohmé, G. & Tohmé, 2014: 134.
    • Distribution: Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Type Material

Salata & Borowiec (2019): syntype (w.): Messor | barbarus L. | subsp. semirufus Andr. | v. ebenina | type | Forel || Typus || Djebel Kasioun | Antiliban (Kerville) || Coll. | A. Forel || ANTWEB | CASENT0907734 (MHNG).



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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  • Abdul-Rassoul M. S., H. B. Ali, and R. SH. Augul. 2013. New Records of Unidentified Ants worker (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae) stored in Iraqi Natural History Museum with key to Species. Adv. Biores., Vol 4 (2): 27-33.
  • Agosti, D. and C.A. Collingwood. 1987. A provisional list of the Balkan ants (Hym. Formicidae) and a key to the worker caste. I. Synonymic list. Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 60: 51-62
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  • Collingwood C. A., D. Agosti, M. R. Sharaf, A. Van Harten, 2011. Order Hymenoptera, family Formicidae. Arthropod Fauna of the UAE 4: 405-474
  • Collingwood C.A., D.Agosti, M.R. Sharaf, and A. van Harten. 2011. Order Hymenoptera, family Formicidae. Arthropod fauna of the UAE, 4: 405–474
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  • Crawley W. C. 1920. Ants from Mesopotamia and north-west Persia. Entomol. Rec. J. Var. 32: 162-166.
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  • El-Hawagry M. S., M. W. Khalil, M. R. Sharaf, H. H. Fadl, and A. S. Aldawood. 2013. A preliminary study on the insect fauna of Al-Baha Province, Saudi Arabia, with descriptions of two new species. ZooKeys 274: 1–88. doi:10.3897/zookeys.274.4529
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