Nylanderia bourbonica

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nylanderia bourbonica
Nylanderia bourbonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Nylanderia
Species: N. bourbonica
Binomial name
Nylanderia bourbonica
(Forel, 1886)

Nylanderia bourbonica side view

Nylanderia bourbonica top view

Specimen labels


This is a tramp species commonly encountered in the tropics and subtropics and has spread across large areas by human commerce, and is associated with human disturbance (Klotz et al 1995; Wilson and Taylor 1967; Wetterer 1998). It is commonly found in most parts of India, however, it was not found in Northwest Himalaya. The workers were collected in leaf litter, rotting wood, underneath stones, on walls of buildings and other establishments.

At a Glance • Polygynous  



Wachkoo and Bharti (2015) - India - Propodeum is on the same plane to remainder of dorsum and unicolorous dark body resembles those of Nylanderia birmana, but N. bourbonica can be easily distinguished by smooth or fine punctulae on head and mesosomal dorsum whilst in N. birmana head and mesosomal dorsum are covered with a dense network of microreticulate sculpture.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Kenya, Saint Helena, United Republic of Tanzania.
Australasian Region: Australia, New Caledonia.
Indo-Australian Region: Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Krakatau Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), New Guinea, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Pitcairn, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna Islands.
Malagasy Region: Mauritius, Réunion (type locality), Seychelles.
Nearctic Region: United States.
Neotropical Region: Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico.
Oriental Region: Bangladesh, India, Nicobar Island.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb




Additional worker images can be found here


Additional queen images can be found here


Additional images can be found here


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

  • bourbonica. Prenolepis nodifera r. bourbonica Forel, 1886f: 210 (w.q.m.) REUNION I. Combination in Pr. (Nylanderia): Forel, 1912a: 73; in Paratrechina (Nylanderia): Emery, 1925b: 219; in Nylanderia: Wheeler, W.M. 1936f: 16; in Paratrechina: Trager, 1984b: 147; in Nylanderia: LaPolla, Brady & Shattuck, 2010a: 127. Raised to species: Forel, 1891b: 82. Senior synonym of bengalensis, hawaiensis, skottsbergi: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 88. Current subspecies: nominal plus farquharensis, ngasiyana.
  • bengalensis. Prenolepis bourbonica r. bengalensis Forel, 1894c: 408, fig. 3 (w.q.m.) INDIA. Combination in Pr. (Nylanderia): Forel, 1912a: 73; in Paratrechina (Nylanderia): Emery, 1925b: 219; in Nylanderia: Wheeler, W.M. 1936f: 16. Raised to species: Bingham, 1903: 329. Subspecies of bourbonica: Mann, 1921: 476. Junior synonym of bourbonica: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 88.
  • hawaiensis. Prenolepis bourbonica r. hawaiensis Forel, 1899a: 120 (w.q.m.) HAWAII. Combination in Paratrechina (Nylanderia): Emery, 1925b: 219. Junior synonym of bourbonica: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 88.
  • skottsbergi. Prenolepis (Nylanderia) bourbonica subsp. skottsbergi Wheeler, W.M. 1922f: 318 (w.) EASTER I. Combination in Paratrechina (Nylanderia): Emery, 1925b: 219. Junior synonym of bourbonica: Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 88.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Wachkoo and Bharti (2015) - TL 2.11-3.04 mm; HL 0.58-0.83 mm; HW 0.50-0.74 mm; EL 0.15-0.23 mm; SL 0.62-0.97 mm; PW 0.35-0.53 mm; PrFL 0.51-0.79 mm; PrFW 0.16-0.20 mm; WL 0.69-1.08 mm; GL 0.83-1.14 mm. Indices: CI 87.03-89.84; SI 123.11-135.38; REL 26.42-28.00 (n = 20).

Head is subquadrate; slightly longer than wide, distinctly wider posteriorly than in front, lateral margins convex, posterior margin shallowly concave to convex with rounded posterolateral corners. Clypeus carinate in the middle; anterior clypeal margin, medially nearly straight to strongly concave. Eyes large, broadly rounded and weakly convex; covering approximately one-third of lateral cephalic margin; three ocelli present. Antennae long, scape surpasses posterior margin by about two-fifths their length.

Metanotal groove strongly developed, in lateral view interrupts the regular promesonotal convexity from propodeum; metanotal area distinct. Dorsal face of propodeum rounded, about the same length as declivitous face; in lateral view, its highest part on the same plane to remainder of dorsum, dorsally dome-like. Petiole low and transverse, subtriangular in lateral view, inclined forward, with posterior face longer than anterior face.

Cuticle smooth and shining covered with fine punctulae. Body covered with fine pubescence, which is lacking on propodeal declivity and petiole. Scape with scattered erect macrosetae and a dense layer of pubescence (SMC = 45e60). Mesosoma with erect macrosetae of varying lengths concentrated on posterior pronotum and mesonotum (PMC = 8e12; MMC = 3e6).

Body is brown to black.


Wachkoo and Bharti (2015) - HL 0.69-0.71 mm; HW 0.68-0.72 mm; EL 0.21-0.22 mm; SL 0.67-0.68 mm; PrFL 0.61-0.63 mm; PrFW 0.18-0.20 mm; WL 1.42-1.47 mm. Indices: CI 98.55-101.41; SI 94.44-98.53; REL 30.43-30.99 (n = 2).

Generally, matches worker description, with modifications expected for caste and the following differences: head subtriangular with feebly concave posterior margin; anterior clypeal margin strongly concave; petiole concave above; coloration pattern similar to adult workers; body covered with much dense pubescence than in workers (SMC 50 = 65; PMC = 4-6; MMC = 45-54.


Wachkoo and Bharti (2015) - HL 0.59-0.62 mm; HW 0.48-0.51 mm; EL 0.23-0.25 mm; SL 0.75-0.78 mm; PrFL 0.65-0.69 mm; PrFW 0.14- 0.16 mm; WL 0.86-0.91 mm. Indices: CI 81.36-82.26; SI 152.94- 156.25; REL 38.98-40.32 (n = 3).

Head is oval; longer than wide; eyes large, subglobulose, projecting beyond head outline in full-face view; three prominent ocelli present. Antennae filiform, scapes long, surpass posterior margin by about half their length. Mandibles slender with prominent, pointed apical and small preapical tooth, remainder of masticatory margin smooth, with indistinct, rounded basal angle that seamlessly blends into inner mandibular margin.

Mesosoma modified for the presence of wing; propodeum indistinct, lower than remainder of notum with very short dorsal face and long declivitous face; petiole as in worker.

Genitalia: Parameres strongly emarginate with apical and ventral margins produced as finger like projections; long setae extending off of parameres. Cuspi rounded distally with many short peg-like teeth; digiti weakly paddle-shaped, about double the length of the digiti; penis valves projecting past parameres with apices of each penisvalva directed posterolaterally.

Sculpture very much reduced than in worker caste; body mostly smooth and shiny at most with fine punctations. Vestiture and color as in worker caste (SMC 22 = 28; PMC = 0; MMC = 27-32).

Type Material


  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 219, Combination in Paratrechina (Nylanderia))
  • Forel, A. 1886h. Études myrmécologiques en 1886. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 30: 131-215 (page 210, worker, queen, male described)
  • Forel, A. 1891c. Les Formicides. [part]. In: Grandidier, A. Histoire physique, naturelle, et politique de Madagascar. Volume XX. Histoire naturelle des Hyménoptères. Deuxième partie (28e fascicule). Paris: Hachette et Cie, v + 237 pp. (page 82, Raised to species)
  • Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 73, Combination in Pr. (Nylanderia))
  • Kallal, R.J. & LaPolla, J.S. 2012. Monograph of Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the World, Part II: Nylanderia in the Nearctic. Zootaxa 3508, 1-64.
  • LaPolla, J.S., Kallal, R.J. 2019. Nylanderia of the World Part III: Nylanderia in the West Indies. Zootaxa 4658 (3): 401–451 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4658.3.1).
  • Trager, J. C. 1984b. A revision of the genus Paratrechina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the continental United States. Sociobiology 9: 49-162 (page 147, Combination in Paratrechina)
  • Wachkoo A. and Bharti, H. 2014. First description of the worker caste of Nylanderia smythiesii (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Biodiversity Data Journal 2: e1163. doi:10.3897/BDJ.2.e1163
  • Wachkoo, A. A. and Bharti, H. 2015. Taxonomic review of ant genus Nylanderia Emery, 1906 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in India. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology. 8:105-120.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922k. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. IX. A synonymic list of the ants of the Malagasy region. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 4 45: 1005-1055 (see also)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1936g. Ants from the Society, Austral, Tuamotu and Mangareva Islands. Occas. Pap. Bernice P. Bishop Mus. 12(1 18: 3-17 (page 16, Combination in Nylanderia)
  • Wilson, E. O.; Taylor, R. W. 1967b. The ants of Polynesia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pac. Insects Monogr. 14: 1-109 (page 88, Senior synonym of bengalensis, hawaiensis and skottsbergi)