Open Access: CC BY 4.0


Wetterer, J.K.

Year: 2010


Worldwide spread of the wooly ant, Tetramorium lanuginosum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Journal: Myrmecological News

Volume: 13

Pages: 81-88

Type of contribution: Original Article

Supplementary material: No


The wooly ant, Tetramorium lanuginosum Mayr, 1870 (senior synonym of Triglyphothrix striatidens (Emery, 1889)), has long been recognized as a widespread tramp species dispersed through human commerce. To evaluate the worldwide spread of T. lanuginosum, I compiled published and unpublished specimen records from > 400 sites. I documented the earliest known T. lanuginosum records for 77 geographic areas (countries, island groups, major Caribbean islands, and Us states), including many locales for which I found no previously published records, primarily islands in the West Indies: Antigua, Aruba, Barbuda, Bhutan, Comoro Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Îles Eparses, Martinique, Montserrat, Nevis, St Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, and the Virgin Islands. Based on its distribution and those of its closest known relatives, T. lanuginosum appears to be native to tropical and subtropical East Asia and perhaps also northern Australia and western Oceania. Tetramorium lanuginosum appears to be particularly common on small islands, possibly due to reduced competition with dominant ants in these habitats. Recent first records of T. lanuginosum on many islands of Samoa, the Galapagos, Madagascar (and neighboring island groups), and the West Indies suggest that exotic populations of T. lanuginosum are expanding on numerous tropical islands. Nonetheless, it appears unlikely that T. lanuginosum will ever become a significant exotic pest species, except perhaps on small tropical islands.

Open access, licensed under CC BY 4.0. © 2010 The Author(s).

Key words:

Biogeography, biological invasion, exotic species, invasive species, island fauna.

Publisher: The Austrian Society of Entomofaunistics

ISSN: Print: 1994-4136 - Online: 1997-3500