Cataglyphis bicolor

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Cataglyphis bicolor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Cataglyphis
Species: C. bicolor
Binomial name
Cataglyphis bicolor
(Fabricius, 1793)

Cataglyphis bicolor casent0104612 profile 1.jpg

Cataglyphis bicolor casent0104612 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


This is one of two species of Cataglyphis (also Cataglyphis fortis) that have had their foraging behavior intensively studied. Much of this work has focused on navigation. This includes studies of their directional abilities, use of path integration, view-based landmark guidance, and how information from these various navigational routines are combined in determining where they decide to move. These ants are now a model organism and system for the study of animal navigation. Rüdiger Wehner has been at the center of much of this Cataglyphis research. He recently published an account of how he began and then continued studying C. bicolor and C. fortis in the field in and around Mahrès, Tunisia (Wehner 2019). Wehner's seasonal field work there, with other researchers and students, has been ongoing for 50 years. The body of knowledge from this and other researchers' work studying ant navigation has provided a remarkable accounting of how ants, and animals in general, can track and monitor their movement in ways that allow for sophisticated decision making.


Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Eritrea.
Palaearctic Region: Algeria, Canary Islands, Turkey.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Association with Other Organisms

This species is parasitized by Cataglyphis hannae.

  • This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Eucharis bedeli (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).
  • This species is a host for the eucharitid wasp Eucharis bytinskisalzi (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (associate and primary host).




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

  • bicolor. Formica bicolor Fabricius, 1793: 351 (m.) NORTH AFRICA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1980: 538 (l.). Combination in Cataglyphis: Roger, 1863b: 12; Mayr, 1863: 402; Emery, 1912f: 98; Emery, 1915g: 22; in Myrmecocystus: Emery & Forel, 1879: 449. Junior synonym of viatica: Smith, F. 1861a: 32; Nasonov, 1889: 14. Revived from synonymy: Emery & Forel, 1879: 449; Emery, 1906d: 58; Forel, 1907e: 15. Subspecies of viatica: Forel, 1907e: 15. Revived status as species: Karavaiev, 1912b: 590; Emery, 1925b: 264; Santschi, 1929b: 41. Senior synonym of fairmairei: Santschi, 1929b: 41; of megalocola: Mayr, 1855: 382; Santschi, 1929b: 41; of rotundinodis: Santschi, 1929b: 41. Biogeography of bicolor group: Wehner, R., Wehner, S. & Agosti, 1994: 163. Current subspecies: nominal plus adusta, basalis, congolensis, pubens, rufiventris, seticornis, sudanica.
  • fairmairei. Cataglyphis fairmairei Foerster, 1850b: 494 (m.) ALGERIA. Junior synonym of megalocola: Mayr, 1863: 402.
  • megalocola. Formica megalocola Foerster, 1850b: 490 (w.) ALGERIA. Emery, 1891b: 16 (q.m.). Combination in Cataglyphis: Roger, 1863b: 12; Mayr, 1863: 402; in Myrmecocystus: Emery & Forel, 1879: 449; Forel, 1890a: lxvii; in Cataglyphis: Emery, 1912f: 98; Emery, 1925b: 265. Subspecies of viatica: Emery & Forel, 1879: 449; Forel, 1890a: lxvii; Forel, 1892i: 306; of bicolor: Emery, 1906d: 58; Emery, 1908g: 217. Senior synonym of fairmairei: Mayr, 1863: 402. Junior synonym of bicolor: Mayr, 1855: 382; Santschi, 1929b: 41; Agosti, 1990b: 1486.
  • rotundinodis. Myrmecocystus albicans subsp. rotundinodis Karavaiev, 1912a: 16 (w.) ALGERIA. Combination in Cataglyphis: Emery, 1925b: 262. See also: Karavaiev, 1924: 305. Junior synonym of bicolor: Santschi, 1929b: 41.



  • n = 26 (Israel; Tunesia) (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983).


  • Agosti, D. 1994a. A new inquiline ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Cataglyphis and its phylogenetic relationship. J. Nat. Hist. 28: 913-919 PDF
  • Borowiec, L. & Salata, S. 2013. Ants of Greece – additions and corrections (Hymenoptera Formicidae). Genus (Wroclaw) 24, 335-401.
  • Emery, C. 1906f. Rassegna critica delle specie paleartiche del genere Myrmecocystus. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (6)3:47-61 (page 58, Revived from synonymy)
  • Emery, C. 1912f. Der Wanderzug der Steppen- und Wüstenameisen von Zentral-Asien nach Süd-Europa und Nord-Afrika. Zool. Jahrb. Suppl. 15("Erster Ba Band: 95-104 (page 98, Combination in Cataglyphis)
  • Emery, C. 1915e. Formiche raccolte nell'Eritrea dal Prof. F. Silvestri. Boll. Lab. Zool. Gen. Agrar. R. Sc. Super. Agric. 10: 3-26 (page 22, Combination in Cataglyphis)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 264, Revived status as species)
  • Emery, C.; Forel, A. 1879. Catalogue des Formicides d'Europe. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 5: 441-481 (page 449, Combination in Myrmecocystus, Revived from synonymy)
  • Fabricius, J. C. 1793. Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta. Secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, adjectis synonimis, locis observationibus, descriptionibus. Tome 2. Hafniae [= Copenhagen]: C. G. Proft, 519 pp. (page 351, male described)
  • Forel, A. 1907h. Formiciden aus dem Naturhistorischen Museum in Hamburg. II. Teil. Neueingänge seit 1900. Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hambg. 24: 1-20 (page 15, Revived from synonymy, Subspecies of viaticus)
  • Karavaiev, V. 1912b. Ameisen aus dem paläarktischen Faunengebiete. Rus. Entomol. Obozr. 12: 581-596 (page 590, Revived status as species)
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 382, Senior synonym of megalocola)
  • Mayr, G. 1863a. Formicidarum index synonymicus. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 13: 385-460 (page 402, Combination in Cataglyphis)
  • Nasonov, N. V. 1889. Contribution to the natural history of the ants primarily of Russia. 1. Contribution to the ant fauna of Russia. Izv. Imp. Obshch. Lyubit. Estestvozn. Antropol. Etnogr. Imp. Mosk. Univ. 58: 1-78 (page 14, Junior synonym of viaticus)
  • Roger, J. 1863b. Verzeichniss der Formiciden-Gattungen und Arten. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7(B Beilage: 1-65 (page 12, Combination in Cataglyphis)
  • Santschi, F. 1929b. Étude sur les Cataglyphis. Rev. Suisse Zool. 36: 25-70 (page 41, Revived status as species, Senior synonym of fairmairei, megalocola and rotundinodis)
  • Smith, F. 1861a. Descriptions of some new species of ants from the Holy Land, with a synonymic list of others previously described. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 6: 31-35 (page 32, Junior synonym of viaticus)
  • Wehner, R. 2019. The Cataglyphis Mahresienne: 50 years of Cataglyphis research at Mahres. Journal of Comparative Physiology a-Neuroethology Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology. 205:641-659. doi:10.1007/s00359-019-01333-5
  • Wehner, R.; Wehner, S.; Agosti, D. 1994. Patterns of biogeographic distribution within the bicolor species group of the North African desert ant, Cataglyphis Foerster 1850 (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Senckenb. Biol. 74: 163-191 (page 163, Biogeograhy of bicolor-group)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1980. Supplementary studies on ant larvae: Ponerinae, Myrmicinae and Formicinae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 106: 527-545 (page 538, larva described)