Running rampant: the alien ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Cyprus

Jakovos Demetriou, Christos Georgiadis, Angeliki F. Martinou, Helen E. Roy, James K. Wetterer, Lech Borowiec, Evan P. Economo, Kostas A. Triantis, Sebastian Salata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Biological invasions are considered a major driver of biodiversity loss, particularly on islands. Invasive alien ants can often have severe consequences on native biodiversity. Here, we review published and new information on alien ant species found on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, a biodiversity hotspot. Our checklist of alien ants of Cyprus includes a total of 17 species, of which nine are reported from Cyprus for the first time (*): Camponotus cf. vitiosus Smith, Cardiocondyla mauritanica Forel, 1890, Cardiocondyla obscurior Wheeler, W.M., 1929*, Hypoponera punctatissima (Roger, 1859)*, Monomorium bicolor Emery, 1877, Nylanderia jaegerskioeldi (Mayr, 1904), Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille, 1802), Pheidole fadli Sharaf, 2007*, Pheidole indica Mayr, 1879, Solenopsis sp. (thief ant)*, Tetramorium bicarinatum (Nylander, 1846)*, Tetramorium caldarium (Roger, 1857)*, Tetramorium immigrans Santschi, 1927*, Tetramorium lanuginosum Mayr, 1870*, Trichomyrmex destructor (Jerdon, 1851), Trichomyrmex mayri (Forel, 1902)*, and Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863). We did not include three previously reported alien species for which we could not find supporting specimens [Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus, 1758), Nylanderia vividula (Nylander, 1846), Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804)], one based on a previous misidentification [Cardiocondyla nuda (Mayr, 1866)], and two species now considered native to Cyprus [Hypoponera eduardi (Forel, 1894), Monomorium subopacum (F. Smith, 1858)]. Literature records, specimens from field surveys and museum collections, the geographic origin of species, occupied habitats in Cyprus, and notes on invasiveness (spread and impact) are presented for each species. An identification key to distinguish alien from native ant species in Cyprus is provided, including widespread alien ants not yet known from Cyprus in order to support early detection, monitoring, and management efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-73
Number of pages57
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • biological invasions
  • checklist
  • first records
  • identification key
  • invasive alien species
  • social insects
  • tramp species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science


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