Ant Identification Request. Caught near Cape Town, South Africa, 16 September 2018

Help with identifying the species your ants

Moderator: ooper01

Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:55 am
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

Ant Identification Request. Caught near Cape Town, South Africa, 16 September 2018

Post: # 50477Post Stringweasel
Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:13 am

Good day everyone!

I've been wanting to get into ants for a while now, and finally took the leap today. I caught ants in my backyard, I think I got the queen(s) (explained later). I hope you could help me identify what I caught, and if I indeed catch the queen. This is my first post, so if it's missing anything, or if I could give more information, please tell me. I'm eager to learn!

I found the ants underneath a largish rock. I saw the ants walking around it, lifted it, and see a very large colony of ants. My guess is I saw 1000 ants easily. I tried to see where the ants seem to be in a larger concentration (my hope is that that's where the queen is), took a large shovel, and move a large chunk of dirt into a large container. I then sifted through the dirt in the container looking for queen looking ants (I have done a little research on what to look for). I could clearly see the distinction between the workers and solders (photos will follow). I then found an ant, with a bigger butt (sorry about the lingo) and thorax, and who seemed to have wing scars. I got excited, and thought I found the queen. Problem is, I found at least 10 other ants looking exactly the same. Some with wings, some without.

So my main question is if I found the queen? And secondly, it would be amazing if someone could identify the species.

Here is an description of the ants:

All the ants have a dark orange/redish colour.

Queen (or the ones I think are queens):
  • Roughly 6mm long (0.24 inches)
  • Seems to stay near the brood, not walking around outside much.
  • Hides mostly. Once the little nest I made settled I couldn't see them anymore. They are chilling underneath little stones with the brood.
  • Found at least 10 of them
  • Found some with wings, found some without.
  • Their size and shape were very distinct from the rest

  • Slightly larger than workers at about 4 mm long. (0.157 inches)
  • Constant size
  • Big heads. The rest of the body is almost as big as the workers.
  • Walks around between the workers.

  • About 1.5 to 2mm long (0.079 inches)
  • Constant size
  • Head and butt very dark, and thorax lighter orange/red


I do think I found one prince. He was longer and slimmer than the apparent queens, but I lost him before I could take a photo.

I attached a few photos of the ants. I'm sorry for the bad quality. Unfortunately I only have a camera phone with me.

Does someone know if I caught the correct ants?

Thank you so much for your help!


Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:49 am
Location: Tennessee

Re: Ant Identification Request. Caught near Cape Town, South Africa, 16 September 2018

Post: # 50535Post Boomdale
Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:51 am

Based on your location and measurements, I am going to say Pheidole sp, probably Megasephala. The winged ants are of course elates. Did you happen to capture any brood when you scooped up the colony? The best way to know if you captured the queen would be the presence of brood later if you did not catch any. If you have multiple queens without wings, this is a great thing! Pheidole are known to be polygamous so that’s not a shocker.
Nylanderia Sp.
Pheidole Sp.

Founding - Cremagastor & Solonopsis Invicta

User avatar
Main Forum Admin
Posts: 943
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:19 am
Location: Alabama

Re: Ant Identification Request. Caught near Cape Town, South Africa, 16 September 2018

Post: # 51757Post MadVampy
Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:48 am

As stated above if the queens were caught in the nest and had wings they are elates, meaning they haven't had their nuptial flight and are unmated. They won't produce any eggs that will mature, this is one of the reasons so many ant keepers watch for nuptial flight from nests that way they catch mated queens (most are mated at this point but some times you'll come across one that hasn't mated yet) so the ant keeper can setup a founding chamber and start a new colony.

Head Forum Admin
Name is also Mike but please don't confuse me with Mikey Bustos, two different people. :lol:
Keeper of Solenopsis Ants. :twisted:

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests