Nylanderia flavipes (Smith, 1874)

Ivanov, Kaloyan, 2016, Exotic ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Ohio, Journal of Hymenoptera Research 51, pp. 203-226: 209

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Nylanderia flavipes (Smith, 1874)


Nylanderia flavipes (Smith, 1874) 

Distribution in Ohio.

Northern Ohio. Counties: Cuyahoga (material examined: Cleveland Heights, 12-14.x.2004 and 22-24.x.2004, leg. H. Clebsch, yellow pan traps in residential area; Cleveland, 19.v.2013 [KI 2319] and 23.iv.2014 [KI 2345], leg. K. Ivanov, in a greenhouse; Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, main campus, 17.v.2015, leg. A. Perez, pitfall trap, mulch bed adjacent to a concrete path; Shaker Heights, Doan Brook Gorge, multiple records since original discovery in 2005 with last collection event on 06.v.2014 [KI 2346], leg. K. Ivanov, hand collecting, Winkler litter extraction, and baiting in open woodlands; Euclid Creek Reservation, Wildwood Park, 16.ix.2014 [KI 2348], leg. K. Ivanov, open woodland), Franklin (Columbus 17.viii.2015, leg. A. Perez, Winkler litter extraction, flower bed adjacent to public library), Lake (material examined: Kirtland, multiple records from July and August 2009 and 2010, leg. T. Webster, suburban lawn) and Lucas ( Uno et al. 2010), (Fig. 1).

Where found/Habitat.

This species is abundant in urban and suburban areas including forested green spaces, gardens, yards and vacant lots. It is also found indoors, in conservatories.


Temperate Asia.

Natural history.

This temperate formicine was first reported for Ohio based on material collected at the Doan Brooke Gorge of Shaker Heights in July 2005 ( Ivanov and Milligan 2008). Previously unknown material collected via yellow pan traps extends the first known date for Ohio to mid-October 2004 (leg. H. Clebsch). This species has well-established reproducing populations in, at least, northeastern Ohio where I first observed mating leks in July 2005. More recently, colonies containing alate reproductives were collected in May 2014 at the Doan Brook Gorge of Shaker Heights. This species can be relatively easily distinguished by its small size, the presence of paired macrochaetae on the mesosomal dorsum, the indistinct but visible ocelli, and the yellowish color of the antennae, mesosoma and legs.

This is a monogynous species that frequently develops polydomous colonies ( Ichinose 1986). While quite common in its native range, this opportunistic species has not been reported as a pest, or as an ecologically dominant species, in its introduced range although data largely are lacking. Observed impacts have been mostly anecdotal and related to the disappearance of the ecologically similar native Nylanderia faisonensis  (Forel, 1922) along the east coast of the US. New data ( Ivanov et al. 2011) seem to contradict earlier views regarding the inconspicuous incorporation of this ant into local ant communities. See Ivanov and Milligan (2008) and Ivanov et al. (2011) for additional ecological data and natural history notes.

In Ohio I have observed and collected this species in a variety of different situations including urban woodlots, residential lawns, flower gardens, on concrete/pavement, as well as inside a greenhouse where I have seen foragers on Oncidium  flowers. In all outdoor situations nests were in the soil, and were rather small and inconspicuous. Colonies most often were found under small rocks and less frequently under bark and tree limbs on the ground. On few occasions, workers readily came and took tuna in oil placed in open, rather degraded, mesic urban woodlots. Nylanderia flavipes  maintained high abundance at the baits in the absence of native ants. However, when baits were discovered by native species, Nylanderia flavipes  workers were displaced quickly. Our observations suggest that this species does not engage in aggressive interactions with native ants, and does not recruit to defend food resources.