FORMICINAE: the Elegant, Acid-Squirting, Pugnacious or Sugar ants

Many of the Formicines are handsome, regular-shaped ants, often quite large, although the sub-family also includes some of the smallest ants in the Western Cape [>1.5 mm]. The larvae of all genera spin cocoons; no species have stings but most have enlarged venom glands which produce formic acid. Some species squirt the acid by curling their gasters underneath them and aiming at their enemies, using their bodies like a sort of acidic water-cannon. 
Many species also carry their sleeping sisters away when danger threatens the nest, and some of the larger species are well-known for their habit of creating ‘honey-pot’ ants, individuals who remain motionless in the nest while their sisters fill them up to bursting with surplus nectar; they thus become living storage vessels.
All Formicines only have one node or lump (sometimes like a vertical scale) on the petiole or waist, and they have no postpetiole [or second lump]. Most have big eyes and some are exceptionally sharp-sighted, even apparently being able to ‘see’ human beings. The sub-family includes species with major and minor workers, some with a range of worker sizes, and some where the workers are monomorphic [all the same size]. Almost all of them nest in underground tunnels; some seek out abandoned termite mounds to nest in. Most live in small colonies of up to several hundred individuals, but in at least two genera [Lepisiota and Anoplolepis] there are species which have become invaders across the world, thanks to their ability to form super-colonies by budding.

Click on the links below for more info about individual species.

Lepisiota sp [Small black sugar ants]




Acropyga arnoldi [Yellow forest sugar ant]



Agraulomyrmex meridionalis [Southern field ant]

Anoplolepis sp [Pugnacious and Crazy ants]




Anoplolepis fallax (Mayr, 1865)
Anoplolepis nuptialis (Santschi, 1917)


Camponotus sp [Sugar ants]




Large Camponotus sp [large Sugar ants]





Polyrhachis sp [Shiny sugar ants]

Other Formicinae under construction:

Tapinolepis trimenii (Forel, 1895)
Camponotus angusticeps (Emery, 1886 )
[Camponotus bianconii (Emery, 1895)]
Camponotus bifossus (Santschi, 1917)
Camponotus cuneiscapus (Forel, 1910)
Camponotus dicksoni (Arnold, 1948)
Camponotus empedocles (Emery, 1920)
Camponotus fornasinii (Emery, 1895)
Camponotus havilandi (Arnold, 1922)
Camponotus hova (Forel, 1891)
Camponotus klugii (Emery, 1895)
Camponotus knysnae (Arnold, 1922 )
Camponotus mystaceus (Emery, 1886)
Camponotus natalensis (F. Smith, 1858)
Camponotus olivieri (Forel, 1886)
Camponotus orites (Santschi, 1919)
Camponotus sellidorsatus (Prins, 1973)
Camponotus simulans (Forel, 1910)
Camponotus thraso (Forel, 1893)
Camponotus victoriae (Arnold, 1959)
Polyrhachis spinicola  (Forel, 1894)
Agraulomyrmex meridionalis (Prins, 1983)
Nylanderia bourbonica (Forel, 1886)
Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille, 1802)
Plagiolepis capensis (Mayr, 1865)
Plagiolepis deweti (Forel, 1904)
Plagiolepis vanderkeleni polita (Santschi, 1914)



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