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Species: Crematogaster (Crematogaster) scutellaris   (Olivier, 1792) 

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See Also:

Crematogaster scutellaris alii, Crematogaster scutellaris nigra, Crematogaster scutellaris tenuispina

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2021)

Extant: 3 valid subspecies

Formica scutellaris Olivier, 1792: 497 (w.) FRANCE. Palearctic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Mayr, 1855 PDF: 469 (q.m.).
Combination in Crematogaster: Mayr, 1855 PDF: 469.
Senior synonym of Crematogaster rediana: Mayr, 1855 PDF: 469.
Senior synonym of Crematogaster rubriceps: Mayr, 1855 PDF: 469.
Senior synonym of Crematogaster ruficeps: Mayr, 1855 PDF: 469.
Material of the unavailable name Crematogaster hybrida referred here by Baroni Urbani, 1964a PDF: 4.


Crematogaster scutellaris is a medium-sized species with a dark brown to black body contrasting with a shiny reddish head. The species is relatively common and dominant component of Mediterranean Europe’s ant fauna (Marlier et al., 2002), and is frequently introduced into central and northern Europe (Boer & Vierbergen, 2008; Klotz et al., 2008; Rasplus et al., 2010). López-Sebastián (2004)provides a brief review of the biology of C. scutellaris. The nests are made of chewed wood and soil. in a large variety of microhabitats, including dead wood, human structures, and even stone walls (Soulié, 1956;1961 (1960)). The colony founding is independent, and colonies can live for several decades. All the workers are believed to be sterile (Casevitz Weulersse, 1991). The diet of the species is not well studied, but it is known to be an avid tender of hemipterans and will also take living and dead arthropods. Crematogaster scutellaris makes strong chemical trails used for recruiting large numbers of foragers that form conspicuous columns (Soulié, 1961 (1960)).   

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Africa: Morocco, Tunisia
    Europe: Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
  Native to (according to species list records):
    Palearctic bioregion

Distribution Notes:

Native Range. Mediterranean Europe.
Introduced Range. Northern Europe: Germany, Netherlands.


It had been presumed that the species was unable to establish outdoor colonies north of its native range on account of climatic conditions, but recent discoveries of such colonies in Germany (Heller, 2004)and the Netherlands (Boer & Vierbergen, 2008; Vierbergen, 1994)suggest establishment is possible and becoming more likely as the climate warms. In Germany, interceptions are most often associated with deliveries of cork and timber (Heller, 2004). Crematogaster scutellaris has also been intercepted as US ports of entry, though no records of establishment are known.  

Xerothermous forests, forest edges, nests in wood (Source unkown).


Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted ants in the United States. Head shape ovoid. Antenna 11-segmented. Antennal club 3-segmented. Antennal scapes not conspicuously short; easily extended beyond eye level. Antennal scrobe lacking. Eyes medium to large (greater than 5 facets) but distinctly less than half head length. Mandibles triangular. Pronotal spines absent. Propodeum armed with spines or teeth. Waist  2-segmented. Petiole flattened; lacking a distinct node; lacking peduncle; lacking large subpetiolar process. Petiole shape subrectangular. Postpetiole attached to upper surface of gaster. Head and mesosoma lacking abundant short flattened, semierect hairs. Head often reddish in color and contrasting with rest of body.

Crematogaster scutellaris can be easily distinguished from C. obscurata (which is introduced to the United States and commonly intercpted) by the following characters: (1) a 3-segmented club (versus 2-segmented); (2) a more trapezoidal petiole (versus triangular); (3) lack of abundant, flattened semierect hairs on its dorsal surfaces; (4) head often a reddish color that contrasts with rest of body.


(Dutch vernacular name: rode schoripoenmier)


Boer, P. & Vierbergen, B. (2008) Exotic ants in The Netherlands (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomol. Ber. (Amsterdam), 68, 121-129.

Casevitz Weulersse, J. (1991) Reproduction et développement des sociétés de Crematogaster scutellaris (Olivier, 1791) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Soc. Entomol. France, 27, 103-111.

Heller, G. (2004) Ein Vorkommen von Crematogaster scutellaris (Olivier, 1791) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Süddeutschland. Myrmecol. Nachr., 6, 1-3.

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

López-Sebastián, E., Tinaut, A. & Selfa, J. (2004) Acerca de Crematogaster scutellaris (Olivier, 1791) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) como depredador de huevos de la procesionaria del pino. Bol. Sanid. Vegetal Plagas, 30, 699-701.

Marlier, J.F., Quinet, Y. & de Biseau, J.C. (2004) Defensive behaviour and biological activities of the abdominal secretion in the ant Crematogaster scutellaris (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae). Behav. Process., 67, 427-444.

Rasplus, J.Y., Villemant, C., Paiva, M.R., Delvare, G. & Roques, A. (2010) Hymenoptera. BioRisk, 4(2), 669-776.

Soulié, J. (1956) Le déclenchement et la rupture de l'état d'hibernation chez Crematogaster scutellaris Ol. (Hymenoptera: Formicoidea). Insect. Soc., 3, 431-438.

Soulié, J. (1961 (1960)) Des considérations écologiques peuvent-elles apporter une contribution à la connaisance du cycle biologique des colonies de Cremastogaster (Hymenoptera - Formicoidea)? Insect. Soc., 7, 283-295.

Vierbergen, G. (1994) Hymenoptera / Formicidae / Crematogaster scutellaris in The Netherlands. Verslagen en Mededelingen (Annual Report 1993, Plant Protection Service, Wageningen, The Netherlands) 173: 51-52

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Crematogaster scutellaris   Smith, F., 1858, Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae., London: British Museum: 135, (download) 135 8127
Crematogaster scutellaris   Forel, A., 1904, Note sur les fourmis du Musée Zoologique de l'Académie Impériale des Sciences à St. Pétersbourg., Yezhegodnik Zoologicheskogo Muzeya Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk 8, pp. 368-388: 5, (download) 5 3994
Crematogaster scutellaris   Collingwood, C. A., 1979, The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark., Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica 8, pp. 1-174: 66, (download) 66 6175

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 9 times found in Pinar, 7 times found in Ruderal, 5 times found in Encinar, 1 times found in Pinus sp., 2 times found in Pinus halepensis+pistacea lentiscus, 3 times found in Q. pyrenaica, C. sativa, 3 times found in pine forest, 3 times found in City, 2 times found in mesic scrub oak, 2 times found in anthropogenic, ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 17 times Foraging, 3 times nbp, 6 times on tree, 2 times Nido bajo piedra, 2 times Forrajeando, 2 times Foraging on tree, 2 times Nido en tronco, 2 times Nido en tocón, 2 times Nest open in soil, 1 times in twig (arboreal), 1 times in dead log, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 59 times Hand, 18 times search, 7 times Pitfall, 1 times Bait, 1 times Net, 1 times Winkler.

Elevations: collected from 5 - 1740 meters, 396 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1904-07-23 and 2020-08-13

Type specimens: syntype of Acrocoelia ruficeps: casent0919656; syntype of Crematogaster scutellaris corsica: casent0912720; syntype of Crematogaster scutellaris degener: casent0912721

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