Insect. Anoplolepis gracilipes , the yellow crazy ant , has been introduced across the tropics as a byproduct of human commerce. It invades urban, agricultural and native ecosystems where it can have large, catastrophic impacts . These impacts include decimation of endemic species, rapid degradation of native communities, and altered ecosystem processes.
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Common Names in English:
Crazy Ant, Long-Legged Ant, Longlegged Ant, Maldive Ant, Yellow Crazy Ant
Common Names in German:
Common Names in Indonesian:
Common Names in Japanese:
Species Anoplolepis gracilipes
Member of the subfamily Formicinae. Anoplolepis gracilipes is notable for its remarkably long legs and antennae (hence the common name , long-legged ant ) as well as its frenetic behaviour when disturbed (hence the name , crazy ant). Care must be taken not to confuse common names, e.g. , the crazy ant, Paratrechina longicornis (LaTrielle). Note that most literature on A. gracilipes is under its synonym, A. longipes. Adults are monomorphic , body colour yellow-brownish, and weakly sclerotized. Workers have a long slender (i.e. gracile ) body, approximately 4-5 mm long. The gaster is usually darker than the head and thorax. Lacks a sting but subdues and kills prey by spraying formic acid.
Because A. gracilipes is highly predatory , agriculturalists have explored its use as a potential biological control agent in control of insect pests of crops such as coconuts and cocoa. This generalist consumer has even been actively introduced into plantations in efforts to control plant pests. A. gracilipes forages three-dimensionally throughout the day and night, and over a wide range of temperatures . High temperatures associated with midday often prevent workers from foraging on ground surfaces hotter than 44 C and activity of foragers declines from 25 C. Foraging can be limited by rain. Nesting requirements are generalized; they nest under leaf litter , in cracks and crevices in the soil, usurp land crab burrows, and readily colonize bamboo sections when placed on the forest floor. They also nest in canopy tree hollows. In coconut plantations, A. gracilipes nests at the base of trees and in the crowns of coconut palms and feeds on nectar secreted from male flowers and from honeydew-producing scale insects.
Biome: agricultural areas, disturbed areas, natural forest , planted forests, range/grasslands, scrub/shrublands, urban areas
Ecology: Anoplolepis gracilipes is a major environmental and secondary agricultural pest, as well as a human nuisance, in the tropics and subtropics. Where densities are high, direct impacts can occur on native 'keystone' species and on species of special conservation value (including endemic reptiles , birds, and mammals). This can alter community structure and species composition, and affect ecosystem processes including litter decomposition. Deletion of native keystone species by A. gracilipes can cause rapid state changes in native communities. Mutualism between A. gracilipes and honeydew-secreting Homoptera can cause population outbreaks of these generalist herbivores and lead to canopy dieback . On Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, seconday invasions of giant African landsnails and shade-intolerant woody weeds can follow invasion by A. gracilipes, further degrading native forests. In agricultural systems , impacts are primarily indirect, through increased populations of Homoptera on crops , although some believe that this ant benefits crop plants by deterring plant pests. A. gracilipes commonly nests at the base of plants , sometimes undermining crops such as sugarcane and coffee. In some instances, A. gracilipes is a household and village pest. Formic acid sprayed by the ants can cause skin burns and irritate the eyes of fieldworkers.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Latreille, 1829
- Snodgrass, 1938
- Heymons, 1901
- Order: Hymenoptera () - C. Linnaeus, 1758
- Superorder: Hymenopterida ()
- Infraclass: Pterygota ()
- Subclass: Dicondylia ()
- Epiclass: Hexapoda ()
- Superclass: Panhexapoda ()
- Infraphylum: Atelocerata () - Heymons, 1901
- Subphylum: Mandibulata () - Snodgrass, 1938
- Phylum: Arthropoda () - Latreille, 1829 - Arthropods
- Superphylum: Panarthropoda () - Cuvier
- Infrakingdom: Ecdysozoa () - A.M.A. Aguinaldo et al., 1997 ex T. Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Protostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Anoplolepis longipes Jerdon
Status: Accepted Name
First described: Smith, F. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected as Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore by A.R. Wallace. JOURBOOK: Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London VOLUME: 2(6) PAGES: 42-130, 2 plate , 1857.
Last scrutiny: 13-Mar-2001
Members of the genus Anoplolepis
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 1 species and subspecies in this genus:
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- Bolton, Barry (1995): A new general catalogue of the ants of the world, Harvard University Press, London
- Smith, F. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected as Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore by A.R. Wallace. JOURBOOK: Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London VOLUME: 2(6) PAGES: 42-130, 2 plate, 1857.
- Bisby, F.A., Y.R. Roskov, M.A. Ruggiero, T.M. Orrell, L.E. Paglinawan, P.W. Brewer, N. Bailly, J. van Hertum, eds (2007). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2007 Annual Checklist. Species 2000: Reading, U.K.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 9, 2012.
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Accessed February 28, 2008. http://www.gbif.org Mediated distribution data from provider.
- ISSG Global Invasive Species Database (http://www.issg.org/database)
- Ruggiero M., Gordon D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Nicolson D. (2011). The Catalogue of Life Taxonomic Classification, Edition 2, Part A. In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Ouvrard D., eds). DVD; Species 2000: Reading, UK.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 28, 2008:
- California Academy of Sciences: AntWeb Collection Catalog
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2731746
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-575523
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 575523
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 14857