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Subfamily FORMICINAE
Tribe LASIINI

Nylanderia vividula (Nylander, 1846)
"Nylander's crazy ant"

Uploaded 2009; last updated 24 March 2016
Authors: Joe A. MacGown and Ryan J. Whitehouse

Nylanderia vividula, full face view of a worker (click image to enlarge).
Photo courtesy of http://www.antweb.org/

Nylanderia vividula, side view of a worker (click image to enlarge).
Photo courtesy of http://www.antweb.org/

Introduction
Nylanderia is a wide spread genus worldwide that is very successful in the areas where they are found and have a great economic importance in some areas. It is common for Nylanderia species to be the only ant found in a location that they inhabit. There are currently 130 extant species with native and invasive ones found in the United States. Nylanderia species can form nests in leaf litter, acorns, soil and other places and have been known to form temporary nests in temporally isolated locations. Generally reproductive are produced in late fall and overwinter and can be flying in the early warm days of spring and summer.

Nylanderia sp. can be identified by having a waist with one distinct segment; acidopore at the apex of the gaster with a circular fringe of setae; 12-segmented antennae; triangular mandibles; 6-segmented maxillary palps; and head and body with dorsally erect, coarse setae.

Nylanderia vividula can be found in the southern United States nesting in disturbed, forested and urban environments. Nests are most often found in the soil and are frequently under rocks. In areas that are warm and humid for large parts of the year, reproductive can be found flying almost year round.

Taxonomic History (Bolton 2016)
Formica vividula Nylander, 1846: 900, pl. 18, figs. 2, 10-14 (w.q.m.) FINLAND. Palearctic. Combination in Prenolepis: Mayr, 1861: 52; in Nylanderia (Nylanderia): Emery, 1906: 134; in Paratrechina (Nylanderia): Emery, 1925: 223; in Nylanderia: Kempf, 1972: 168; in Paratrechina: Trager, 1984: 131; in Nylanderia: LaPolla, Brady & Shattuck, 2010: 127. Senior synonym of Nylanderia picea: Mayr, 1876: 78; Mayr, 1886: 431. Of Nylanderia kincaidi Trager, 1984: 75; of Nylanderia mjobergi: Kallal & LaPolla, 2012}: 38. Current subspecies: nominal plus Nylanderia vividula australis. See also: Emery, 1910: 131; Radchenko, 2007}: 33.

Identification
Worker: HL 0.59-0.66, HW 0.48-0.58, SL 0.69-0.75, EL 0.13-0.17, MeSL 0.70-0.79 (n=5) (MEM specimens). Color tan to orangish-brown with lighter colored legs. Head with erect, coarse setae; eyes situated more dorsally than laterally at the midpoint of the head and about 1/4 of the head length in size; ocelli lacking; mandibles triangular; maxillary palps long and six segmented; antennae with twelve segments; scape with more than five macrocheatae and terminating beyond the occipital border of the head; head shape roughly square. Mesosoma with coarse, erect setae along the dorsal surface, propodeum distinctly depressed below the level of the promesonotum, alitrunk overall smooth and shining. Waist is one segmented; petiolar node pointed in the lateral view and can be slightly obscured by the gaster. Gaster shining with many coarse, erect setae; acidopore present on last gastral segment identified by a ring of erect setae; can be a darker color than the body.

Queen: HL 0.79-0.84, HW 0.74-0.80, SL 0.80-0.84, EL 0.21-0.25, MeSL 1.29-1.41 (n=5) (MEM specimens). Color is brown to dark brown. Head is shining with a combination of short, appressed setae and coarse, erect setae; eyes situated more dorsally than laterally at the midpoint of the head and about 1/4 of the head length in size; three ocelli present; mandibles triangular in shape with six teeth; antennae twelve segmented; scape with more than five microchaetae and terminating beyond the occipital border of the head; head is roughly square in shape. Mesosoma is shinning with a mixture of shorter, appressed setae and coarse, erect setae, dorsal surface of allitrunk relatively flat and expanded because of the presence of wings with well defined pronotal and epinotal sutures; four wings or wing scars present. Waist is single segmented; petiolar node pointed in the lateral view and can be obscured by the anterior edge of the gaster. Gaster enlarged and covered with a mixture of shorter, appressed setae and longer, erect setae; acidopore present on last gastral segment identified by a ring of erect setae; can be a darker color than the body.

Males: HL 0.55-0.57, HW 0.45-0.49, SL 0.62-0.64, EL 0.19-0.22, MeSL 0.82-0.90 (n=5) (MEM specimens). Color is brown to darker brown. Head shining with a mixture of short, appressed setae and coarse, erect setae; eyes situated at the midpoint of the head and about 1/3 of the head length on size; three protruding ocelli present; mandibles lacking obvious dentition; antennae thirteen segmented; scape terminating beyond the occipital border of the head; third funicular segment distinctly curved. Mesosoma shinning with the presence of short, appressed setae and coarse, erect setae; enlarged with four wings present; dorsal surface of propodeum glabrous and smooth. Waist single segmented; petiolar node pointed in the lateral view and can be obscured by the anterior edge of the gaster. Gaster shining with many coarse, erect setae present; setaceous genitalia present at the apex.

Nylanderia vividula can be separated from other similar species in the area by the squarish head, lighter color and the presence of coarse long setae. The males of N. vividula are readily separated by the third funicular segment being distinctly curved.

Biology and Economic Importance
Nylanderia vividula is found sporadically across the world, but mainly in the Nearctic region. N. vividula is possibly the only Nylanderia species native to North America that has been collected in areas outside the Nearctic region. They can nest in various substrates including, soil, leaf litter, acorns, under rocks and frequently colonize disturbed habitats. Reproductive adults overwinter in the nest and form mating swarms during hot, humid days in the spring and summer. The Mississippi Entomological Museum has records of alate males and females from April to August.

Nylanderia vividula is considered to be a nuisance pest and is not considered to be very economically important. Because of their willingness to nest in such a variety of places it is not uncommon to find them in buildings, especially in colder climates where it is too cold for them to survive outside. N. vividula is an active forager that is attracted to sugary food and will readily forage from any food they find lying about a house. They also have a tendency to outcompete other ants in their local area and therefore could cause a threat to local biodiversity.

Distribution
Native Range: possibly Mexico

Afrotropical Region: Macaronesia, United Arab Emirates (antwiki.org and antweb.org)
Indo-Australian Region: Solomon Islands (antwiki.org)
Malagasy Region: Mauritius, Seychelles (antwiki.org)
Nearctic Region: United States (type locality) (antwiki.org)
Neotropical Region: Bermuda (type locality), Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela (antwiki.org)
Oriental Region: India, Indonesia (antweb.org)
Palearctic Region: Alicante, Balearic Islands, China, Croatia, Finland (type locality), Greece, Iran, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden (type locality), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (antwiki.org and antweb.org)

U.S. Distribution: Al, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, LA, OK, MS, NC, NM, SC, TN, TX
Southeastern U.S. Distribution: AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC

Acknowledgments
Funding for the ant work being done by the MEM in Alabama and Mississippi is from several sources including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, under Project No. MIS-012040, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at Mississippi State University, with support from State Project MIS-311080, NSF Grants BSR-9024810 and DFB-9200856, the Tombigbee National Forest (U.S. Forest Service), the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi Natural Heritage Program Research Grant, USDA Forest Service Agreement No. 08-99-07-CCS-010, the William H. Cross Expedition Fund, and primarily by the USDA-ARS Areawide Management of Imported Fire Ant Project. Additionally, special cooperation has been provided by State Parks, National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, the Natchez Trace Parkway, and from various private landowners in both Alabama and Mississippi.

Literature Cited

Bolton, B. 2016.  Bolton World Catalog Ants. Available online: http://www.antweb.org/world.jsp. Accessed 9 March 2016.

Emery, C. 1906. Note sur Prenolepis vividula Nyl. et sur la classification des espèces du genre Prenolepis. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 50:130-134.

Emery, C. 1910. Beiträge zur Monographie der Formiciden des paläarktischen Faunengebietes. (Hym.) Teil X. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1910:127-132.

Emery, C. 1925. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183:1-302.

Kallal, R. J.; LaPolla, J. S. 2012. Monograph of Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the World, Part II: Nylanderia in the Nearctic. Zootaxa 3508:1-64.

Kempf, W. W. 1972. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical. Studia Entomologica 15:3-344.

LaPolla, J. S.; Brady, S. G.; Shattuck, S. O. 2010. Phylogeny and taxonomy of the Prenolepis genus-group of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Systematic Entomology 35:118-131.

Mayr, G. 1861. Die europäischen Formiciden. Nach der analytischen Methode bearbeitet. Wien: C. Gerolds Sohn, 80 pp.

Mayr, G. 1876. Die australischen Formiciden. Journal des Museum Godeffroy 12:56-115. 

Mayr, G. 1886. Die Formiciden der Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 36:419-464. 

Nylander, W. 1846. Adnotationes in monographiam formicarum borealium Europae. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae 2:875-944.

Radchenko, A. G. 2007. The ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the collection of William Nylander. Fragmenta Faunistica (Warsaw) 50:27-41.

Trager, J. C. 1984. A revision of the genus Paratrechina (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the continental United States. Sociobiology 9:49-162.

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