Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher Starr


  • Serge AronEmail author
  • Rüdiger Wehner
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_22-1


Cataglyphis are among the most remarkable insects of dry regions. These large, conspicuous, fast-running formicine ants inhabit Old World arid and semiarid lands from Mauritania to the Gobi. The genus includes about 100 species, of which most occur in the Middle East [2]. All species are highly thermophilic and develop in open and xeric habitats. Workers are diurnal scavengers. They forage individually at the hottest times of the day, searching for dead arthropods scattered over the ground. Occasionally, they collect small living prey (caterpillars, arachnids) and feed at extrafloral nectaries. Arid habitats being resource poor, workers usually travel long foraging distances – up to 100 m from the nest (i.e., 10,000 times their body length). Accordingly, Cataglyphishave evolved superior navigation performance. Mature colony size is generally less than a few hundred workers, but it can reach a few thousands in some species. They are not highly territorial; individuals may...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary Biology & EcologyUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Brain Research InstituteUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland