Current View: All Antweb
Change View
Cite this page

Citing AntWeb


To cite this page, please use the following:

· For print:      Citation: AntWeb. Version 8.86.1. California Academy of Science, online at Accessed .

· For web:

Species: Cardiocondyla mauritanica   Forel, 1890 

Download Data

Current Valid Name:

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2023)

Cardiocondyla nuda var. mauritanica Forel, 1890b PDF: lxxv (w.) TUNISIA. Palearctic. Primary type information: Primary type material: syntype workers (number not stated). Primary type locality: Tunisia: Gabes, iii.-iv.1889 (A. Forel). Primary type depository: MHNG. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Forel, 1901j PDF: 378 (q.); Forel, 1904d PDF: 6 (em.)
Status as species: Ortiz & Tinaut, 1987 PDF: 32; Bolton, 1995b: 132; Espadaler, 1997g PDF: 29; Seifert, 2003a PDF: 248 (redescription); Ward, 2005 PDF: 65; Cagniant, 2006 PDF: 198; Gómez & Espadaler, 2006 PDF: 226; Wetterer et al., 2007 PDF: 31; Wetterer et al., 2007 PDF: 9; Paknia et al., 2008 PDF: 153; Vonshak & Ionescu-Hirsch, 2010 PDF: 41; Legakis, 2011 PDF: 16; Collingwood et al., 2011 PDF: 422; Borowiec & Salata, 2012 PDF: 484; Kiran & Karaman, 2012 PDF: 17; Wetterer, 2012f PDF: 985; Borowiec, 2014 PDF: 47; Bharti et al., 2016 PDF: 34; Lebas et al., 2016: 266; Wetterer et al., 2016 PDF: 10; Sharaf et al., 2017 10.1080/00222933.2016.1271157 PDF: 18; Seifert et al., 2017 10.11646/zootaxa.4290.2.4. PDF: 338; Deyrup, 2017: 55; Salata & Borowiec, 2018c 10.5281/zenodo.2199191 PDF: 44; Sharaf et al., 2018 10.20362/am.010004 PDF: 18; Rasheed et al., 2019 10.13102/sociobiology.v66i3.4330 PDF: 431; Borowiec & Salata, 2020 10.5281/zenodo.3733156 PDF: 5.


Cardiocondyla mauritanica is a small (~ 2 mm), nondescript, light brown to blackish brown species with short antennal scapes, propodeal spines reduced to small angles and without erect hairs on its mesosoma. The species is a highly successful tramp ant (Heinze et al., 2006)and is one of the most abundant and most widely distributed Cardiocondyla species of the world, preferring semi-deserts and other xerothermous habitats (Seifert, 2003). Despite its success at invading new habitats, C. mauritanica remains an inconspicuous member of the ant fauna across its range, and is not reported to cause harm to either humans or native species. Cardiocondyla mauritanica is known to be polydomous and polygynous and founds new colonies preferentially by nest splitting (Seifert, 2003). 

// Distribution


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Africa: Canary Islands, Egypt, Libya, Macaronesia, Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia
    Americas: Ecuador, Grenada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States
    Asia: Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
    Europe: Greece, Malta, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Ukraine
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):
    Indomalaya, Malagasy, Nearctic, Neotropical, Palearctic
  Native to (according to species list records):
    Palearctic bioregion

Distribution Notes:

Native range. Old World, probably Eurasia.

Current range includes. Canary Islands,Madeira, S Portugal, S Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Malta, Egypt, Greece, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, N India, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Puerto Rico, Arizona, California, Texas.


Although the precise native range of C. mauritanica is not known, its close relationship to the East Asian C. kagutsuchi and inability to penetrate that species range (Seifert, 2003) suggested C. mauritanica might be of West Asian or Eastern Palearctic descent. The species has commonly been misidentified as C. nuda across the Palearctic, and has been referred to by its junior synonym C. ectopia in North America (Seifert, 2003). The Californian C. mauritanica population was most probably introduced from the W Palaearctic via the Atlantic islands, the Caribbean and the southern states of the USA (Seifert, 2003).

Cardiocondyla mauritanica has been the subject of several ecological studies in southern California (Creighton & Snelling, 1974; Gulmahamad, 1997). Gulmahamad (1997 )observed the species as a diurnal year-round forager when temperatures exceeded 18.9 degrees C. Foragers mostly took nectar, but also preyed on small insects and scavenged. It nested in small cavities in mortar, cracks and expansion joints in concrete, and in soil. An excavated colony yielded 322 individuals (the most ever published for a Cardiocondyla species at the time of the study). It was also capable of living in sympatry with L. humile, possibly by producing a potent chemical repellent.

Snelling (in Creighton & Snelling, 1974) made his observations from a single polydomous colony whose nest entrances were situated between bricks set into the soil, fully exposed, and marked by piles of debris. He found foragers traveled at least 6 m. from the nest in search of food, though they were very reluctant to take any of the baits offered. The species was often foraged by tandem running in group of two or three. The excavation of one nest yielded eight dealate females, two alate females, about 75 workers, and two males. Snelling also observed the mating between one of the males and one of the alate females. The apparent absence of alate males in this species and the presence of ergatoid males in the particular nest strongly suggest these gynes to be inseminated and to disperse for nest foundation (Heinze et al., 1993).


Among introduced Cardiocondyla species, C. mauritanica (together with C. mauritanica, C. minutior, and C. venustula) is differentiated from C. emeryi, C. obscurior and C. wroughtonii by (1) its weakly impressed to absent metanotal groove; (2) short propodeal spines that are reduced to right angles (those of C. minutior are of moderate length); and (3) a postpetiole that is lower than the petiole and lacking a distinct ventral bulge. Cardiocondyla kagutsuchi and C. mauritanica are separated from C. venustula by the more angulate postpetiolar sides, which in dorsal view give the postpetiolar disc a hexagonal appearance. Separating the former two species is difficult, and the reader is referred to Seifert (2003), who writes that C. mauritanica can be separated from C. kagutsuchi by it shorter spines, lower   petiole, narrower postpetiole, longer scape and longer gaster pubescence.

Diagnosis among workers of introduced and commonly intercepted ants in the United States. Worker caste monomorphic. Head shape subrectangular. Antenna 12-segmented. Antennal club 3-segmented. Antennal scapes easily extended beyond eye level but scapes do not extend beyond posterior margin of head. Antennal scrobe lacking. Antennal insertion not surrounded by a raised sharp-edged ridge. Eyes greater than 5 facets; not unusually large (distinctly less than half head length). Posterolateral corners of head unarmed, without spines. Mandibles triangular. Mesosoma lacking erect hairs. Metanotal groove absent to shallow; not distinctly impressed. Pronotal spines absent. Propodeal spines short. Slope of mesosoma gradual. Waist 2-segmented. Petiole with a distinct and upright node; lacking large subpetiolar process. Petiolar peduncle long (length distinctly twice or more than height); does not taper gradually into node. Postpetiole appearing swollen. In dorsal view postpetiole wider than long and much broader than petiole; with  gently rounded anterolateral corners; sides angulate giving the postpetiolar disc a hexagonal appearance. Postpetiole lower than petiole and lacking a distinct ventral bulge. Upper surface of gaster attached to postpetiole. Color variable. Typically, dorsal head dark brown, mesosoma and waist orange brown, gaster dark to blackish brown. Lighter brown or, on the other hand, concolorous blackish brown samples may locally occur throughout the range.


Introduced species. Junior synonym: Cardiocondyla ectopia Snelling 1974 (Seifert, in press).


Creighton, W.S. & Snelling, R.R. (1974) Notes on the behavior of three species of Cardiocondyla in the United States (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc., 82, 82-92.

Forel, A. (1890) Fourmis de Tunisie et de l'Algérie orientale. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg., 34, lxi-lxxvi.

Gulmahamad, H. (1997) Ecological studies on Cardiocondyla ectopia Snelling (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in southern California. Pan-Pac. Entomol., 73, 21-27.

Heinze, J., Kühnholz, S., Schilder, K. & Hölldobler, B. (1993) Behavior of ergatoid males in the ant, Cardiocondyla nuda. Insect. Soc., 40, 273-282.

Seifert, B. (2003) The ant genus Cardiocondyla (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae) - A taxonomic revision of the C. elegans, C. bulgarica, C. batessi, C. nuda, C. shuckardi, C. stambuloffi, C. wroughtoni, C. emeryi, and C. minutior species groups. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien Ser. B. Bot. Zool., 104, 203-338.Add your content here.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Scientific Name Status Publication Pages ModsID GoogleMaps
Cardiocondyla mauritanica   Seifert, B., 2008, Cardiocondyla atalanta Forel, 1915, a cryptic sister species of Cardiocondyla nuda (Mayr, 1866) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Myrmecologische Nachrichten 11, pp. 43-48: 45, (download) 45 21727
Cardiocondyla mauritanica   Ward, P. S., 2005, A synoptic review of the ants of California (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 936, pp. 1-68: -1, (download) -1 21008
Cardiocondyla mauritanica   Paknia, O., Radchenko, A. & Alipanah, H., 2008, A preliminary checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Iran., Myrmecologische Nachrichten 11, pp. 151-159: 154, (download) 154 21820
Cardiocondyla mauritanica   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: 27 times found in on swimming pool surface, 12 times found in Cesped, 9 times found in Jardín, 1 times found in urban grassland, 1 times found in outside building, 3 times found in Jardines, 2 times found in roadside edge, 2 times found in park/garden, 3 times found in Ruderal, 2 times found in riparian vegetation (canyon bottom), ...

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 9 times Foraging, 4 times ground forager(s), 6 times Forrajeando, 1 times on sandy ground near house, under lavender, 1 times on sandy ground, 3 times ground foragers, 1 times foraging on Cement beach, 1 times near concrete wall, 2 times ground nest, 1 times foragers on ground, 1 times ex soil, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 40 times Hand, 6 times hand collecting, 1 times collected at tuna/honey bait station, 00 times collected at tuna/honey bait station, 14, 3 times Search, 2 times Bay Area Ant Survey (BAAS), 1 times direct collection, 1 times Malaise, 1 times pecan cookie baited vial, 1 times Pitfall, 1 times 6L sifted litter, extracted in Winkler sack over 24 hours, ...

Elevations: collected from 1 - 2480 meters, 178 meters average

Collect Date Range: collected between 1851-12-31 00:00:00.0 and 2022-04-08 00:00:00.0

Type specimens: paratype of Cardiocondyla ectopia: casent0901755; paratype of Cardiocondyla mauritanica: casent0103432, casent0103433; syntype of Cardiocondyla mauritanica: casent0908345

See something amiss? Send us an email.
Log In to see maps.