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Temporal range: Lutetian - Recent
Aphaenogaster swammerdami casent0489647 profile 1.jpg
A. swammerdami worker
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Mayr, 1853
Type species
Aphaenogaster sardoa
Mayr, 1853
200 species
  • Deromyrma Forel, 1913
  • Nystalomyrma Wheeler, 1916

Aphaenogaster is a genus of myrmicine ants. About 200 species have been described, including 18 fossil species.[1] They occur worldwide except from South America south of Colombia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Antarctica.[2]

They are often confused with Pheidole or Pheidologeton. These two have major and minor workers, while Aphaenogaster has only a single worker caste. Pheidole has three-segmented clubs on its antennae, while Aphaenogaster has four segments and a larger body size. Pheidologeton has 11-segmented antennae, while the antennae in Aphaenogaster are 12-segmented.[3]

In Australia, they often build dense, conspicuous nests.[4] Nest entrances are generally funnel-shaped with diameters up to 4 cm, which resulted in the common name funnel ants. These nests can be a serious problem for golfers or on pastures and unsealed airstrips, because the fragile surface easily collapses under pressure.[3] Where it occurs, Aphaenogaster bioturbation is an important soil and landscape process.[4]

Aphaenogaster probably gets most of its food from tended aphids on the roots of plants, which explains that they are rarely seen on the surface. The funnel-shaped openings could play a role in trapping arthropods, which are also eaten.[3]


Aphaenogaster dlusskyana worker in amber
A. lepida worker and male


  1. ^ a b Bolton, B. (2014). "Aphaenogaster". AntCat. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Radchenko, A. G.; Perkovsky, E. E. (2016). "The ant Aphaenogaster dlusskyana sp. nov. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from the Sakhalin amber—the earliest described species of an extant genus of Myrmicinae". Paleontological Journal. 50 (9): 936–946. doi:10.1134/S0031030116090136. 
  3. ^ a b c Genus Aphaenogaster Archived October 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Richards, P.J. (2009) Aphaenogaster ants as bioturbators: impacts on soil and slope processes. Earth-Science Reviews 96: 92-106.
  5. ^ a b De Andrade, M. L. (1995). "The ant genus Aphaenogaster in Dominican and Mexican amber (Amber Collection Stuttgart: Hymenoptera, Formicidae. IX: Pheidolini)". Stuttgarter Beitrage zur Naturkunde (B). 223: 1–11. 
  6. ^ Fujiyama, I. (1970). "Fossil insects from the Chojabaru Formation, Iki Island, Japan". Memoires of the Natural Science Museum, Tokyo. 3: 65–74. 
  7. ^ a b c Carpenter, F. M. (1930). "The fossil ants of North America" (PDF). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 70: 1–66. 
  8. ^ Scudder, S. H. (1890). "The Tertiary insects of North America". United States Geological Survey of the Territories, Washington: 615. 

External links

  • Media related to Aphaenogaster at Wikimedia Commons
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