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Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Monomorium pharaonis.jpg
Monomorium pharaonis, and the tip of a pen for scale comparison
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Monomorium
Mayr, 1855
Type species
Monomorium monomorium
Bolton, 1987

about 396



Monomorium is a genus of ants in the subfamily Myrmicinae. As of 2013 it contains about 396 species.[1] It is distributed around the world, with many species native to the Old World tropics.[2] It is considered to be "one of the more important groups of ants," considering its widespread distribution, its diversity, and its variety of morphological and biological characteristics.[3] It also includes several familiar pest species, such as the pharaoh ant (M. pharaonis) and the flower ant (M. floricola).[3]


This genus is very diverse in morphology, with species of many shapes and sizes that "do not necessarily even remotely resemble one another" at first glance.[3]

While the worker caste is monomorphic in some species, in others it is polymorphic. In some species the workers are minute, in others they are rather large. Large, multifaceted eyes are common, but M. inusuale has much reduced eyes, as do some species from Africa. The sting is always functional.[4]


This large genus was further expanded in 2007, when the genera Nothidris, Epelysidris, and Phacota were synonymized with Monomorium. The small genera Anillomyrma, Megalomyrmex, and perhaps Bondroita should possibly also be included in Monomorium.[4]

The exact boundaries of the genus are yet to be determined. It has no distinct morphological trait that sets it apart from other genera in the tribe Solenopsidini. If cladistics were strictly applied, all Solenopsidini would be grouped in the single genus Solenopsis, but the tribe lacks a strong synapomorphy. Monomorium as it currently stands is paraphyletic, but it is used as a provisional group. Similar problems are found in the genera Camponotus and Leptothorax.[5]


Most ants of this genus nest in rotting wood, under rocks, or in the soil.[2] Some species are scavengers, while others are seed collectors.[6] Many species have venom containing alkaloids, which they use as a defense from predators.[7] Besides its morphological variation, the genus is also variable in chromosome number, with 2n of 16 to 70 recorded.[8]


As of 2006, 36 species are described from Madagascar, 19 of which were described in that year alone. About 43 species are known from Australia and 30 from Arabia.[5]

Selected species[edit]


  1. ^ Monomorium. AntWeb. v5.1.17.
  2. ^ a b Aldawood, A. S. and M. R. Sharaf. (2011). Monomorium dryhimi sp. n., a new ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the M. monomorium group from Saudi Arabia, with a key to the Arabian Monomorium monomorium-group. ZooKeys 106, 47-54.
  3. ^ a b c Heterick, B. E. (2003). Two new Australian Monomorium Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), including a highly distinctive species. Australian Journal of Entomology 42(3), 249-53.
  4. ^ a b Fernández, F. (2007). Two new South American species of Monomorium Mayr with taxonomic notes on the genus. In: Snelling, R. R., et al. (eds). Advances in ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): homage to E. O. Wilson – 50 years of contributions. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 80, 128-45.
  5. ^ a b Heterick, B. (2006). A revision of the Malagasy ants belonging to Genus Monomorium Mayr, 1855 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 57(3), 69-202.
  6. ^ Mashaly, A. M. A., et al. (2010). Source, optimal dose concentration and longevity of trail pheromone in two Monomorium ants (Formicidae: Hymenoptera). Journal of King Saud University-Science 22(1), 57-60.
  7. ^ Jones, T. H., et al. (2003). The venom alkaloids from some African Monomorium species. Journal of Chemical Ecology 29(12), 2721-27.
  8. ^ Lorite, P., et al. (2002). Chromosome numbers in Spanish Formicidae (Hymenoptera) IV. New data of species from the genera Camponotus, Formica, Lasius, Messor, and Monomorium. Sociobiology 40(2), 331-42.
  9. ^ Sharaf, M. R.; Aldawood, A. S. (2013). "First occurrence of the Monomorium hildebrandti-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in the Arabian Peninsula, with description of a new species M. kondratieffi n. sp". Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 115 (1): 75–84. doi:10.4289/0013-8797.115.1.75. S2CID 85281879.

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