Nesting Biology

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Revision as of 19:54, 2 November 2016 by Lubertazzi (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Many species of ants have a single queen and a single nest. In this case the colony and their nest is more of less the same. Yet many ants have more complicated life histories. A species that has colonies with multiple queens and nests extended across several nests mounds requires more precise delineations of what is a nest and what is a colony.

Debout et. al. (2007) reviews polydomy and this paper provides a nice entry into a body of ideas that are useful when considering nesting biology. Many of the definitions and ideas presented below are based on their publication.

There is an existing page Ant Nests taken from "Australian Ants Their Biology and Identification." (Shattuck 1999)


Papers with nesting biology information that have been examined/edits added to antwiki....

  • Goryunov, D. N. 2015. Nest building in Formica exsecta ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zoologichesky Zhurnal. 94:1132-1137. doi:10.1134/S0013873815080035
  • Rybnikova, I. A. and A. V. Kuznetsov. 2015. Complexes of Formica s. str. nests in the Darwin Nature Reserve and causes of their degradation. Entomological Review. 95:947-952. doi:10.1134/s0013873815080023

and information from this added here:


What follows is a list of species that have nesting biology information posted to their species pages. In some cases there are pictures, a study or both. If there is a reference indicated, there is information about the study on the species page. Location refers to the place where a study or images or both were conducted/taken.

Sortable table
Genus / Species Reference Location Images Subfamily Remarks
Apterostigma collare Costa Rica Yes Myrmicinae
Formica aquilonia Yes Russia Formicinae
Formica exsecta Yes Russia Formicinae
Formica polyctena Yes Russia, Czech Republic, Germany Yes Formicinae
Formica rufa Yes Russia, Czech Republic Yes Formicinae
Formica truncorum ref Russia Formicinae
Harpegnathos venator northern Thailand Yes Ponerinae
Harpegnathos saltator Yes India Yes Ponerinae
Malagidris sofina Yes Madagascar Yes Myrmicinae
Myrmecia brevinoda Yes north Queensland, Australia Yes Myrmeciinae
Odontomachus brunneus Yes Florida Yes Ponerinae nest caste images
Polyrhachis laboriosa Cameroon Yes Formicinae
Rhytidoponera violacea Yes Western Australia Yes Ectatomminae nest caste images
gggssss ref loc ima subfa xxxx
gggssss ref loc ima subfa xxxx
ggg ssss ref loc ima subfa xxxx
ggg ssss ref loc ima subfa xxxx


  • Debout, G., B. Schatz, M. Elias, and D. Mckey. 2007. Polydomy in ants: what we know, what we think we know, and what remains to be done. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 90:319-348. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2007.00728.x