Oecophylla longinoda

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Oecophylla longinoda
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Oecophyllini
Genus: Oecophylla
Species: O. longinoda
Binomial name
Oecophylla longinoda
(Latreille, 1802)

MCZ ENT Oecophylla longinoda hal.jpg

MCZ ENT Oecophylla longinoda had.jpg

Specimen Label

Subspecies
Synonyms

Aggressive arboreal ants that use larval silk to weave together leaves to form their nesting cavities. A mature colony of Oecophylla longinoda can entirely dominate a tree (sometimes several) with nests distributed throughout their heavily defended arboreal territory.


Photo Gallery

  • Alate queen with both major and minor (bottom) worker, showing the very pronounced variations in body size. Photo by Paul Van Mele.

Identification

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal (type locality), Sierra Leone, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania.


Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

There is a webpage with a list of some recent publications about Weaver Ants. You can also read an overview of their biology from the a chapter in The Ants: The Weaver Ants (Hölldobler and Wilson 1990).

Nene et al. 2015 (abstract): Mating in most species of ants occur during nuptial flights. In the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda Latreille, mating has previously been hypothesized to take place within the nest before the nuptial flight but no research data has ever been presented to support this. Understanding the mating strategy of O. longinoda is important for its successful application in biological control programs. Here we report on the findings from studies conducted in Tanzania to determine whether mating occur prior to dispersal flight. Winged O. longinoda queens collected at four steps; before taking flight, immediately after leaving the nest, up to 12h after leaving the nest and after settling naturally following the dispersal flights were examined. Mating in captivity with varied number of males and queens was also assessed. Results showed that no eggs hatched from any of the 527 winged queens that were collected prior to their dispersal flights and no mating attempts in captivity lead to viable offspring. Only eggs produced by queens collected after settling naturally (N=65) hatched into larvae. High percentages (88.73) of eggs that hatched were laid by queens that shed wings and laid their eggs within 3 days after nuptial flights. Findings from the current study suggest that mating of O. longinoda queens take place during a nuptial flight and does not take place within the nest, as previously suggested. Time from nuptial flights to shedding of wings and egg laying translates to hatchability of the eggs.

Association with Other Organisms

This species is a host for the encyrtid wasp Anagyrus lopezi (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (associate).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Holldobler & Wilson, 1977; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)
  • Queen type: winged (Holldobler & Wilson, 1977; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (queenless worker reproduction)
  • Mean colony size: 480,000 (Way, 1954; Holldobler & Wilson, 1978; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: mass recruiter (Way, 1954; Holldobler & Wilson, 1978; Beckers et al., 1989)

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • longinoda. Formica longinoda Latreille, 1802c: 184, pl. 11, fig. 72 (w.) SENEGAL. Emery, 1892d: 564 (q.); Forel, 1913b: 339 (m.). Combination in Oecophylla: Mayr, 1863: 439. Junior synonym of virescens: Smith, F. 1858b: 29. Subspecies of smaragdina: Emery, 1892d: 564; Forel, 1907e: 15; Santschi, 1914b: 128; Santschi, 1919a: 345; Emery, 1925b: 52; Prins, 1965b: 77. Status as species: Dalla Torre, 1893: 176; Emery, 1921c: 102; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 227; Santschi, 1928f: 211; Bolton, 1995b: 298. Senior synonym of brevinodis: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 945. Current subspecies: nominal plus annectens, claridens, fusca, rubriceps, rufescens, taeniata, textor. See also: Gotwald, 1973: 72; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1978: 19.
  • brevinodis. Oecophylla brevinodis André, 1890: 313 (w.) SIERRA LEONE. Santschi, 1919a: 345 (q.). Subspecies of longinoda: Dalla Torre, 1893: 176; of smaragdina: Stitz, 1916: 396. Junior synonym of longinoda: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 945.

Description

Karyotype

  • n = 12 (Crozier, 1970b).

Worker Morphology

  • Caste: trimorphic

References

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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