Odontomachus troglodytes

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Odontomachus troglodytes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Odontomachus
Species: O. troglodytes
Binomial name
Odontomachus troglodytes
Santschi, 1914

Odontomachus troglodytes casent0047308 profile 1.jpg

Odontomachus troglodytes casent0047308 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Widespread across sub-Saharan Africa in second growth forests and open habitats.

At a Glance • Facultatively polygynous  



Workers of this species can be easily distinguished from Odontomachus coquereli by their smaller size, distinct extraocular furrows and temporal ridges on vertex and short and blunt mandibular teeth.

Keys including this Species


Known from Zimbabwe, Liberia, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Seychelles and South Africa.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya (type locality), Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Regional Notes


Dassou et al. (2017) found this ant to be a subordinate species at baits in Cameroon plantain agrosystems.


Fisher and Smith (2008) - Odontomachus troglodytes was first reported from Madagascar by André [38:290] as O. haematodes (Linnaeus). African and Malagasy records of haematodes actually refer to troglodytes. In Madagascar, troglodytes is widespread throughout the east in secondary habitats, including coastal scrub, eucalyptus plantations, littoral forest, and rainforest below 800 m elevation. Forel [25:159] recorded Odontomachus (as haematodes) from Seychelles. These specimens have not been examined but probably refer to Odontomachus simillimus and not troglodytes.

Because of its preference of secondary habitats, it is possible that troglodytes in Madagascar is a recent colonist from Africa, possibly introduced by humans. This is in contrast to Odontomachus coquereli which is most closely related to Melanesian species in the tyrannicus group.

Our collections in Madagascar were focused primarily on less disturbed habitats, thus its distribution probably does not reflect the full extent of its range. O. troglodytes was most often recorded nesting in rotten logs (30 collection records) followed by sifted litter (15). Males were collected at light, malaise traps, and yellow pan traps.

A lab colony was kept for a number of months and thrived on a diet of crickets, producing numerous larvae, brood, and males. The trap jaw behavior is very similar to that of O. bauri [39, Fisher unpublished]. When disturbed, the specimen use trap jaw propulsion to “jump” away.






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

  • troglodytes. Odontomachus haematodes var. troglodytes Santschi, 1914b: 58 (w.) KENYA. André, 1887: 290 (m.); Arnold, 1915: 109 (q.); Menozzi, in Eidmann, 1944: 437 (l.). Raised to species and senior synonym of stanleyi: Brown, 1976a: 106. See also: Brown, 1976a: 167; Fisher & Smith, 2008: 16.
  • stanleyi. Odontomachus haematodus var. stanleyi Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 102 (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Junior synonym of troglodytes: Brown, 1976a: 106.

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



Fisher and Smith (2008) - Measurements: maximum and minimum based on n = 15 from Madagascar: HL 2.23–2.66, HW (across vertex) 1.56–1.92, HW (across upper eye margin) 1.69–1.98, CI 74–78, EL 0.40–0.47, ML 1.13–1.33, MI 45–54, SL 2.07–2.42, SI 117–127, WL 2.61–3.07. FL 2.28–2.65, PW 1.02–1.19.

The specimens from Madagascar are notably smaller than specimens in CAS collection from South Africa, central Africa and Sao Tome. Maximum and minimum measurements based on n = 5: HL 2.52–2.94, HW (across vertex) 1.81–2.25, HW (across upper eye margin) 1.94–2.31, CI 74–79, EL 0.41–0.51, ML 1.19–1.38, MI 47–49, SL 2.24–2.53, SI 110–122, WL 2.88–3.23. FL 2.42–2.91, PW 1.13–1.36.


Fisher and Smith (2008) - Measurements: maximum and minimum based on n = 5 from Madagascar: HL 2.59–2.74, HW (across vertex) 1.99–2.19, HW (across upper eye margin) 2.05–2.18, CI 78–79, EL 0.56–0.59, ML 1.39–1.44, MI 52–55, SL 2.36–2.52, SI 112–119, WL 3.18–3.49. FL 2.67–2.76.


Fisher and Smith (2008) - Measurements: maximum and minimum based on n = 5 from Madagascar: HL 1.00–1.04, HW 1.30–1.35, CI 127–133, EL 0.68–0.70, SL 0.22–0.26, SI 17–19, WL 2.52–2.59. FL 1.80–1.88.

Type Material

Fisher and Smith (2008):

Lectotype worker: Kenya, Shimoni cave (Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel)[examined] AntWeb CASENT0101134.

Odontomachus haematodus stanleyi. Type worker: DRC (Zaire) Stanleyville, 25° 10′E, 0°30′N Feb 1915, (American Museum of Natural History) [examined] AntWeb CASENT0104653, CASENT0104654.


  • André, E. 1887. Description de quelques fourmis nouvelles ou imparfaitement connues. Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 6: 280-298 (page 290, male described)
  • Arnold, G. 1915. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part I. Ponerinae, Dorylinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 1-159 (page 109, queen described)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1976c. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section A. Introduction, subtribal characters. Genus Odontomachus. Stud. Entomol. 19: 67-171 (page 106, raised to species, and senior synonym of stanleyi; page 167, see also)
  • Dassou, A. G., P. Tixier, S. Depigny, and D. Carval. 2017. Vegetation structure of plantain-based agrosystems determines numerical dominance in community of ground-dwelling ants. Peerj. 5. doi:10.7717/peerj.3917
  • Eidmann, H. 1944. Die Ameisenfauna von Fernando Poo. 27. Beitrag zu den Ergebnissen der Westafrika-Expedition. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Ökol. Geogr. Tiere 76: 413-490 (page 437, larva described)
  • Fisher, B. L. and M. A. Smith. 2008. A Revision of Malagasy Species of Anochetus Mayr and Odontomachus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). PloS one. 3:e1787.
  • Santschi, F. 1914b. Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale, 1911-1912. Résultats scientifiques. Insectes Hyménoptères. II. Formicidae. Paris: Libr. A. Schulz, pp. 41-148. (page 58, worker described)