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Aenictus ceylonicus castype06956 head 1.jpg
A. ceylonicus worker from Indonesia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Aenictus
Shuckard, 1840
Type species
Aenictus ambiguus[1]
181 species

Paraenictus Wheeler, 1929
Typhlatta Smith, 1857

Aenictus is a large army ant genus distributed in the Old World tropics and subtropics.[3] It contains about 181 species,[2] making it one of the larger ant genera of the world.[4]

Biology and distribution[edit]

The genus presently has 181 species,[2] distributed through the East Mediterranean, Afrotropical, Oriental, Indo-Australian, and Australian regions.[4][5][6][7] Most of the species are tropical,[6] with terrestrial habitats, foraging in soil, leaf litter, most of the Southeast Asian species forage on the ground, and some on trees[8] and hunting other ant species and termites.[5][9][10]

Most species of the genus are specialized predators of other ants, especially of immature stages.[5][9][11] Only some Asian species such as Aenictus gracilis, Aenictus laeviceps, Aenictus hodgsoni, and Aenictus paradentatus are known to hunt a variety of invertebrate prey, including ants, using a large number of workers in raids.[5][8][12][13] Foraging raids undertaken by these ants occur both day and night, usually across the ground surface but occasionally also in trees. During raids, numerous workers attack ant nests in a small area, with several workers coordinating their efforts to carry large prey items back to the nest or bivouac.[3] Species of Aenictus are generally small, monomorphic and yellow to dark brown.[10]



  1. ^ "Subfamily: Aenictinae". AntWeb. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Bolton, B. (2014). "Aenictus". AntCat. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Jaitrong, W. J.; Yamane, S. (2013). "The Aenictus ceylonicus species group (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Aenictinae) from Southeast Asia". Journal of Hymenoptera Research. 31: 165. doi:10.3897/JHR.31.4274. 
  4. ^ a b Jaitrong, W. J.; Yamane, S. (2012). "Review of the Southeast Asian species of the Aenictus javanus and Aenictus philippinensis species groups (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Aenictinae)". ZooKeys. 193 (193): 49–78. doi:10.3897/zookeys.193.2768. PMC 3361139Freely accessible. PMID 22679379. 
  5. ^ a b c d Gotwald WH (1995) Army ants: the Biology of Social Predation. Cornell University Press, New York, 320 pp.
  6. ^ a b Brown WL Jr. (2000) Diversity of ants. In: Agosti et al. (Eds) Ants. standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity. Biological diversity hand book series. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London, 280 pp.
  7. ^ Aktaç N, Radchenko AG, Kiran K (2004) On the taxonomy of the west Palaearctic Aenictinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Annales Zoologici 54 (2): 361-364.
  8. ^ a b Hirosawa, H.; Higashi, S.; Mohamed, M. (2000). "Food habits of Aenictus army ants and their effects on the ant community in a rain forest of Borneo". Insectes Sociaux. 47: 42. doi:10.1007/s000400050007. 
  9. ^ a b Rościszewski M, Maschwitz U (1994) Prey specialization of army ants of the genus Aenictus in Malaysia. Andrias 13: 179-187.
  10. ^ a b Sharaf, M.; Aldawood, A.; El-Hawagry, M. (2012). "First record of the ant subfamily Aenictinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from Saudi Arabia, with the description of a new species". ZooKeys. 228 (228): 39–49. doi:10.3897/zookeys.228.3559. PMC 3487640Freely accessible. PMID 23166469. 
  11. ^ Gotwald, W. H. (1976). "Behavioral Observations on African Army Ants of the Genus Aenictus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)". Biotropica. 8: 59. doi:10.2307/2387819. JSTOR 2387819. 
  12. ^ Shattuck SO (2008) Review of the ant genus Aenictus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Australia with notes on A. ceylonicus (Mayr). Zootaxa 1926: 1-19.
  13. ^ Jaitrong W, Yamane Sk (2011) Synopsis of Aenictus species groups and revision of the A. currax and A. laeviceps groups in the eastern Oriental, Indo-Australian, and Australasian regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Aenictinae). Zootaxa 3128: 1-46.

External links[edit]

  • Data related to Aenictus at Wikispecies
  • Media related to Aenictus at Wikimedia Commons