Introduction to Ants of Sri Lanka


Ants are a very common group of insects (Order: Hymenoptera, Family: Formicidae) in almost all terrestrial habitats such as forests, cultivated (highly disturbed) lands, bare-lands, human habitations and uncultivated lands in Sri Lanka. They can mainly be ground-living (in soil, leaf litter and decaying wood pieces etc.) or arboreal and are temporary or permanent nest builders in the microhabitat. Ward (2007) revised the valid tribe names of Family Formicidae. Worker ants belonging to 12 subfamilies, Aenictinae, Aneuretinae, Cerapachyinae, Dolichoderinae, Dorylinae, Ectatomminae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae, Ponerinae and Pseudomyrmecinae, were reported earlier from Sri Lanka but due to the taxonomic revision of Brady et al. (2014), which subsumed the six previous dorylomorph subfamilies into a single subfamily, Dorylinae, two subfamilies, Aenictinae and Cerapachyinae, are currently invalid; the members of those two subfamilies are currently included in Dorylinae; hence, total number of subfamilies recorded from Sri Lanka becomes 10. The 63 genera rose to 66 recently and total number of known species and morphospecies is 230 (Dias, 2014). According to the recent generic level taxonomic revision of Ponerinae (Smith and Shattuck, 2014) of the world, Pachycondyla recorded from Sri Lanka becomes an invalid genus name. Also, Mesoponera (many specimens of Pachycondyla are now placed in this genus) and Pseudoneoponera (formerly known as Pachycondyla rufipes) should be added to the existing list of genera recorded from Sri Lanka. The myrmicine genus, Pheidologeton, is now placed under the genus Carebara. The myrmicine species, Monomorium destructor, is revised as Trichomyrmex destructor, recently. A subgenus of Camponotus (Family Formicinae) has been resurrected to genus level also (Ward et al., 2016).

The website on ants of Sri Lanka summarizes the findings of extensive field surveys conducted in Gampaha, Colombo and Galle Districts (2000-2003), extensive and intensive surveys in Ratnapura District (2000-2006), Anuradhapura (2006-2008), Polonnaruwa, Puttalam and Kurunegala Districts (2009). Aneuretus simoni Emery was discovered in several forests in Sri Lanka recently, outside the previously recorded localities, and will be added to the website soon.


Brady S. G., Fisher, B. L., Schultz, T. R. and P. S. Ward. 2014. The rise of army ants and their relatives: diversification of specialized predatory doryline ants., BMC Evolutionary Biology 14:93

Dias, R. K. S., 2014. Ants of Sri Lanka. Biodiversity Secretariat of Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy, Sri Lanka. 273 p.

Schmidt, C. A. and S.O. Shattuck. 2014. The Higher Classification of the Ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a Review of Ponerine Ecology and Behavior. Zootaxa 3817 (1): 001–242,

Ward, P. S. 2007. Phylogeny, classification and species-level taxonomy of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). In: Zhang, Z. –Q. & Shear, W. A. (eds.) Linnaeus Tercentenary: Progress in Invertebrate taxonomy. Zootaxa 1668: 1-766

Ward P. S., Blaimer, B. B. and B. L. Fisher. 2016. A revised phylogenetic classification of the ant subfamily Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with resurrection of the genera Colobopsis and Dinomyrmex. Zootaxa 4072 (3): 343-357
(Last updated: March, 2016) .



Districts surveyed for ants

Gampaha District, Colombo District and Galle District, Ratnapura District, Anuradhapura District, Polonnaruwa District, Puttalam District and Kurunegala District are shown below.








Users are kindly requested to cite this web site as areference as follows

Dias, RKS, Kosgamage, KRKA, Peiris, HAWS, Dias, NGJ, Warnajith, and RPKC Rajapakse. 2013. Ants of Sri Lanka. (Web Address)

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