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Species: Linepithema humile   (Mayr, 1868) 

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Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Hypoclinea humilis Mayr, 1868b PDF: 164 (w.) ARGENTINA (Buenos Aires). Neotropic. Primary type information: Primary type material: holotype (?) worker. Primary type locality: Argentina: Buenos Aires, 1866 (Strobel). Primary type depository: NHMW (perhaps also MNHN). Type notes: 1) No indication of number of specimens is given. 2) Wild, 2007a PDF: 61, regarded the single specimen in NHMW as holotype, but Chopard, 1921 PDF: 238 (footnote) suspected that 2 specimens in MNHN were syntypes. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Combination in Iridomyrmex: Emery, 1888d PDF: 386.
Combination in Linepithema: Shattuck, 1992a PDF: 16.
Status as species: Mayr, 1870b PDF: 959 (in key); Emery, 1888c PDF: 362; Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 169; von Jhering, 1894 PDF: 378; Forel, 1895b PDF: 110; Forel, 1901m PDF: 81; Emery, 1906c PDF: 177; Forel, 1908 PDF: 394; Wheeler, 1910a PDF: 569; Santschi, 1912e PDF: 533; Forel, 1912i PDF: 46; Emery, 1913a PDF: 26; Forel, 1913k PDF: 223; Forel, 1913m PDF: 242; Forel, 1914e PDF: 12; Bruch, 1914 PDF: 226; Arnold, 1915: 145 (redescription); Bruch, 1915 PDF: 534; Donisthorpe, 1915f PDF: 342; Gallardo, 1915 PDF: 23; Gallardo, 1916b PDF: 97; Santschi, 1916e PDF: 390; Stitz, 1917 PDF: 347; Luederwaldt, 1918 PDF: 47; Wheeler, 1922: 921; Borgmeier, 1923: 87; Stärcke, 1926a PDF: 117 (in key); Essig, 1926 PDF: 864; Donisthorpe, 1927a PDF: 7; Donisthorpe, 1927c: 394; Wheeler, 1927g PDF: 113; Menozzi, 1929b PDF: 4; Wheeler, 1932a PDF: 12; Santschi, 1933a PDF: 22; Santschi, 1934d PDF: 280; Eidmann, 1936b PDF: 88; Novák & Sadil, 1941 PDF: 97 (in key); Grandi, 1935 PDF: 102; Donisthorpe, 1950a PDF: 339; Creighton, 1950a PDF: 341; Schmitz, 1950 PDF: 14; Smith, 1951c PDF: 836; Kusnezov, 1953c PDF: 339; Wellenius, 1955 PDF: 12; Bernard, 1956b PDF: 260; Ceballos, 1956: 309; Smith, 1958c PDF: 140; Baroni Urbani, 1964b PDF: 57; Bernard, 1967a PDF: 251 (redescription); Smith, 1967a PDF: 364; Wilson & Taylor, 1967b PDF: 79; Yarrow, 1967 PDF: 29; Baroni Urbani, 1968e PDF: 474; Collingwood & Yarrow, 1969 PDF: 75; Kempf, 1970a PDF: 26; Baroni Urbani, 1971c PDF: 166; Kempf, 1972b PDF: 124; Baroni Urbani, 1974a PDF: 236; Bolton & Collingwood, 1975: 7 (in key); Hunt & Snelling, 1975 PDF: 22; Pisarski, 1975: 27; Snelling & Hunt, 1976 PDF: 84; Arnol'di & Dlussky, 1978: 548 (in key); Báez & Ortega, 1978: 189; Collingwood, 1978 PDF: 87 (in key); Collingwood, 1979 PDF: 33; Smith, 1979: 1418; Snelling & George, 1979: 160; Barquín, 1981: 343; Schembri & Collingwood, 1981 PDF: 420; Allred, 1982: 478; Wheeler & Wheeler, 1986g PDF: 56; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b PDF: 278 (in key); Taylor, 1987a PDF: 32; Ward, 1987 PDF: 1; Zolessi et al., 1988: 7; Deyrup et al., 1989 PDF: 99; Wheeler & Wheeler, 1990a PDF: 465; Hohmann et al., 1993: 159; Shattuck, 1994 PDF: 123; Douwes, 1995: 91; Bolton, 1995b: 247; Mei, 1995 PDF: 767; Poldi et al., 1995: 6; Collingwood et al., 1997 PDF: 509; Espadaler, 1997g PDF: 27; Collingwood & Prince, 1998: 20 (in key); Deyrup et al., 2000: 300; Czechowski et al., 2002 PDF: 16; Mackay & Mackay, 2002 PDF: 260; Deyrup, 2003 PDF: 45; Imai et al., 2003 PDF: 83; Wetterer & Wetterer, 2004 PDF: 215; Wild, 2004 PDF: 1207 (redescription); Coovert, 2005 PDF: 106; MacGown & Forster, 2005 PDF: 64; Radchenko, 2005b PDF: 155; Ward, 2005 PDF: 26; Cagniant, 2006 PDF: 194; Gómez & Espadaler, 2006 PDF: 227; Petrov, 2006 PDF: 102 (in key); Seifert, 2007: 254; Don, 2007: 161; Wetterer et al., 2007 PDF: 31; Wetterer et al., 2007 PDF: 12; Wild, 2007a PDF: 61 (redescription); Wild, 2007b PDF: 25; Heterick, 2009 PDF: 57; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowski, 2009 PDF: 478; Wetterer et al., 2009 PDF: 187; Solis et al., 2010 PDF: 19; Lapeva-Gjonova et al., 2010 PDF: 33; Boer, 2010: 14; Collingwood et al., 2011 PDF: 415; Borowiec & Salata, 2012 PDF: 510; Czechowski et al., 2012: 70; Borowiec & Salata, 2013 PDF: 358; Borowiec, 2014 PDF: 100; Bezděčková et al., 2015 PDF: 109; Escárraga & Guerrero, 2016 10.11646/zootaxa.4208.5.3 PDF: 451; Lebas et al., 2016: 112; Radchenko, 2016: 84; Deyrup, 2017: 172; Steiner et al., 2017: 12; Salata & Borowiec, 2018c 10.5281/zenodo.2199191 PDF: 46; Seifert, 2018: 241; Dekoninck et al., 2019 PDF: 1154; Guerrero, 2019 PDF: 714; Borowiec & Salata, 2022 PDF: 39 (redescription).

Taxon Page Images:

Linepithema humile. 1. Worker; 2. Workers with drone; 3. Queen. Welgemoed, Cape Town, South Africa; 19 April 2016. Photos and collection by Philip Herbst.


The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, is among the world’s most notorious, successful and well-studied invasive ant species. Linepithema humile is a nondescript, soft-bodied, small (2.2–2.6 mm), dull light to dark brown ant with large inset eyes. The species is native to the Paraná River drainage in South America, which stretches across northern Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil (Wild, 2004). Linepithema humile thrives in Mediterranean climates, and over the past century it has spread to across the globe by human-mediated transport to Chile, western and southern North America, Hawaii, New Zealand, Easter Island, Australia, Japan, Africa, and southern Europe (Suarez et al., 2001; Wetterer et al., 2009). Argentine ants are significant pests, and are documented to cause substantial harm to native arthropod communities (Cole et al., 1992; Rowles & O'Dowd, 2009a), vertebrate communities (Suarez & Case, 2002; Suarez et al., 2005), plant communities (Christian, 2001; Ives et al., 2011; Lach, 2005; Rowles & O'Dowd, 2009b). Argentine ants are also significant agricultural pests (Vega & Rust, 2001)and urban/residential pests (Klotz et al., 2008a; Klotz et al., 2008b). 

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Africa: Cameroon, Canary Islands, Lesotho, Macaronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, South Africa
    Americas: Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States, Uruguay
    Asia: Iran, Japan, North Korea, United Arab Emirates
    Europe: Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom
    Oceania: Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Vanuatu
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Afrotropical, Australasia, Indomalaya, Nearctic, Neotropical, Oceania, Palearctic
  Native to (according to species list records):
    Neotropical bioregion

Distribution Notes:

Global tramp species native to South America and introduced across continental systems and island systems.

Flanders: only indoors [needs reference].


Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted ants in the United States. Antenna 12-segmented. Antennal scape length less than 1.5x head length. Eyes medium to large (greater than 5 facets); do not break outline of head; placed distinctly below midline of face. Antennal sockets and posterior clypeal margin separated by a distance less than the minimum width of antennal scape. Anterior clypeal margin variously produced, but never with one median and two lateral rounded projections. Mandible lacking distinct basal angle. Profile of mesosomal dorsum with two distinct convexities. Dorsum of mesosoma lacking a deep and broad concavity; lacking erect hairs. Promesonotum separated from propodeum by metanotal groove. Propodeum with dorsal surface not distinctly shorter than posterior face; angular, with flat to weakly convex dorsal and posterior faces. Propodeum and petiolar node both lacking a pair of short teeth. Mesopleura and metapleural bulla covered with dense pubescence. Propodeal spiracle bordering posterior margin of propodeal profile. Waist 1-segmented. Petiole upright and not appearing flattened. Gaster armed with ventral slit. Erect hairs lacking from cephalic dorsum (above eye level), pronotum, and gastral tergites 1 and 2. Dull, not shining, and color uniformly light to dark brown. Measurements: head length (HL) 0.56–0.93 mm, head width (HW) 0.53–0.71 mm.


Introduced species


first record in NZ; 1990 (Green 1990)


Christian, C. (2001) Consequences of a biological invasion reveal the importance of mutualism for plant communities. Nature, 413, 635-639.

Cole, F.R., Medeiros, A.C., Loope, L.L. & Zuehlke, W.W. (1992) Effects of the Argentine ant on arthropod fauna of Hawaiian high-elevation shrubland. Ecology, 73, 1313-1322.

Haney, P.B., Luck, R.F. & Moreno, D.S. (1987) Increases in densities of the citrus red mite, Panonychus citri [Acarina: Tetranychidae], in association with the argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis [Hymenoptera: Formicidae], in southern California citrus. Entomophaga, 32, 49-57.

Human, K.G., Weiss, S., Weiss, A., Sandler, B. & Gordon, D.M. (1998) Effects of abiotic factors on the distribution and activity of the invasive Argentine ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Environ. Entomol., 27, 822-833.

Ives, C.D., Hose, G.C., Nipperess, D.A. & Taylor, M.P. (2011) The influence of riparian corridor width on ant and plant assemblages in northern Sydney, Australia. Urban Ecosystems, ??, ??

Klotz, J., Hansen, L., Pospischil, R. & Rust, M. (2008) Urban ants of North America and Europe. Cornell University Press,  196 pp.

Klotz, J.H., Rust, M.K., Field, H.C., Greenberg, L. & Kupfer, K. (2008) Controlling argentine ants in residential settings (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology, 51, 579-588.

Lach, L. (2005) Interference and exploitation competition of three nectar-thieving invasive ant species. Insect. Soc., 52, 257-262.

Phillips, P.A. & Sherk, C.J. (1991) To control mealybugs, stop honeydew-seeking ants. Calif. Agric., 45(2), 26-28.

Rowles, A.D. & O'Dowd, D.J. (2009) Impacts of the invasive Argentine ant on native ants and other invertebrates in coastal scrub in south-eastern Australia. Austral Ecol., 34, 239-248.

Rowles, A.D. & O'Dowd, D.J. (2009) New mutualism for old: indirect disruption and direct facilitation of seed dispersal following Argentine ant invasion. Oecologia, 158, 709-716.

Suarez, A.V. & Case, T.J. (2002) Bottom-up effects on persistence of a specialist predator: Ant invasions and horned lizards. Ecol. Appl., 12, 291-298.

Suarez, A.V., Holway, D.A. & Case, T.J. (2001) Patterns of spread in biological invasions dominated by long-distance jump dispersal: insights from Argentine ants. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 98, 1095-1100.

Suarez, A.V., Yeh, P. & Case, T.J. (2005) Impacts of Argentine ants on avian nesting success. Insect. Soc., 52, 378-382.

Vega, S.J. & Rust, M.K. (2001) The Argentine ant - a significant invasive species in agricultural, urban and natural environments. Sociobiology, 37, 3-25.

Vogel, V., Pedersen, J.S., Giraud, T., Krieger, M.J.B. & Keller, L. (2010) The worldwide expansion of the Argentine ant. Diversity Distrib., 16, 170-186.

Wetterer, J.K., Wild, A.L., Suarez, A.V., Roura-Pascual, N. & Espadaler, X. (2009) Worldwide spread of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecol. News, 12, 187-194.

Wild, A.L. (2004) Taxonomy and distribution of the argentine ant (Linepithema humile) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am., 97, 1204-1215.

Wild, A.L. (2007) Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Linepithema (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Univ. Calif. Publ. Entomol., 126, vii, 1-151.

Wild, A.L. (2009) Evolution of the Neotropical ant genus Linepithema. Syst. Entomol., 34, 49-62.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Linepithema humile   Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 25, (download) 25 21367
Linepithema humile   Wild, A. L., 2004, Taxonomy and distribution of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Annals of the Entomological Society of America 97, pp. 1204-1215: 1207-1229, (download) 1207-1229 20351
Linepithema humile   Ward, P. S., 2005, A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 936, pp. 1-68: -1, (download) -1 21008
Linepithema humile   Wild, A. L., 2007, Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Linepithema (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., University of California Publications in Entomology 126, pp. 1-159: 61-65, (download) 61-65 21156 GoogleMaps
Linepithema humile   Espadaler, X., 2007, The ants of El Hierro (Canary Islands)., Advances in ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage to E. O. Wilson - 50 years of contributions., Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 80, pp. 113-127: 117, (download) 117 21278

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 65 times found in on swimming pool surface, 65 times found in private residence, 18 times found in backyard, 13 times found in house, 21 times found in in potted plant, 19 times found in in field at edge of parking area, 0 times found in at edge of parking lot and mowed grassy area, on ground, 15 times found in nest in Dolomite Glade, 5 times found in grassland, 0 times found in at base of Pinus sp., near cabin, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 12 times sidewalk, 7 times ground nest, 11 times Nido bajo piedra, 7 times under stone, 9 times Foraging, 7 times kitchen, 4 times found foraging, 8 times Forrajeando, 6 times ground forager(s), 3 times under rotting log, 6 times on sidewalk, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 523 times Bay Area Ant Survey (BAAS), 19 times Lindgren funnel baited with Typosan and alpha pinene, 56 times Hand, 35 times Lindgren funnel baited with Typosan, 25 times Lindgren funnel, 16 times pitfall trap, 12 times search, 11 times direct collection, 8 times sweeping, 7 times cookie bait, 4 times hand collecting, ...

Elevations: collected from 1 - 2732 meters, 233 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1885-05-13 00:00:00.0 and 2022-06-06 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: Holotype of Hypoclinea humilis: casent0915577; Not Provided: casent0742437; syntype of Iridomyrmex humilis arrogans: casent0911562

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