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Species: Linepithema humile   (Mayr, 1868) 

Download Data

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2020)

Hypoclinea humilis Mayr, 1868b PDF: 164 (w.) ARGENTINA. Neotropic. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Forel, 1908 PDF: 395 (m.); Newell, 1908: 28 (q.); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1951 PDF: 186 (l.); Crozier, 1969a PDF: 250 (k.).
Combination in Linepithema (Iridomyrmex): Mayr, 1870b PDF: 959; in Iridomyrmex: Emery, 1888d PDF: 386; in Linepithema: Shattuck, 1992a PDF: 16.
Senior synonym of Linepithema arrogans, Linepithema riograndensis: Wild, 2004 PDF: 1207.

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). 


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Africa: Cameroon, Lesotho, Macaronesia, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa
    Americas: Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States, Uruguay
    Europe: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom
    Oceania: Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand
  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 private residence, 20 times found in on swimming pool surface, 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), 1 times ex ?Atriplex spinosa, 3 times under rotting log, ...

Collected most commonly using these methods: 523 times Bay Area Ant Survey (BAAS), 19 times Lindgren funnel baited with Typosan and alpha pinene, 54 times Hand, 35 times Lindgren funnel baited with Typosan, 25 times Lindgren funnel, 12 times search, 11 times direct collection, 8 times sweeping, 7 times cookie bait, 4 times hand collecting, 5 times malaise trap, ...

Elevations: collected from 1 - 2732 meters, 220 meters average

Type specimens: Holotype of Hypoclinea humilis: casent0915577; syntype of Iridomyrmex humilis arrogans: casent0911562

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