The giant nests of the African stink ant Paltothyreus tarsatus (Formicidae, Ponerinae)

U. Braun, C. Peeters, B. Holldobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Fourteen nests were excavated in Kenya and in the Ivory Coast. All colonies contained only one mated queen. The worker population varied markedly between colonies, reaching 244 adults in one case. Nests consisted of many chambers located 30cm to >150cm below the surface. The construction and arrangement of the chambers were not particularly elaborate, but the associated horizontal tunnel system (5-15cm below the surface) was most remarkable. In one nest, over 130m of shallow subterranean tunnels were uncovered. An area of 1200m2 was covered by the tunnel system of another nest. Through multiple tunnel exits the ants are able to reach almost any spot in their foraging areas. In some nests there was a second horizontal tunnel system, 50-80cm below the surface, which connected nest chambers several meters apart. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-311
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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