Data on Strumigenys argiola (Emery, 1869) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Myrmicinae) from Slovakia

Milada Holecová1, Mária Klesniaková1, Adrián Purkart2 & Filip Repta3

1 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Mlynská dolina B–1, SK – 842 15 Bratislava, Slovakia;,
2 Department of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Mlynská dolina B2, SK-842 15 Bratislava;
3 Poľovnícka 17, 900 28 Ivanka pri Dunaji, Slovakia;


Records of the cryptic dacetine ant Strumigenys argiola (Emery, 1869) from four localities in western and southwestern Slovakia are presented. The territory of Slovakia represents the northern border of its known native distribution.

Key words

Strumigenys argiolaants, Dacetini, Formicidae, Slovakia, faunistics.

Holecová M, Klesniaková M, Purkart A & Repta F, 2015: Data on Strumigenys argiola (Emery, 1869) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Myrmicinae) from Slovakia. Folia faunistica Slovaca, 20 (2): 163–166.

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Received 21 October 2015 ~ Accepted 16 November 2015 ~ Published 28 December 2015

© Faunima Bratislava 2015 ~ e–ISSN 1336–4529 ~ DOI ffs.2015.20.20


  • Figure 1a. Strumigenys argiola – lateral view of a male (photo: A. Šestáková).
  • Figure 1b. Strumigenys argiola – head of the same male, lateral view (photo: A. Šestáková).
  • Figure 1c. Strumigenys argiola – the head of the same male, frontal view (photo: A. Šestáková).
  • Figure 1d. Strumigenys argiola – lateral view of a queen (photo: A. Šestáková).
  • Figure 1e. Strumigenys argiola – head of the same queen, dorsal view (photo: A. Šestáková).
  • Figure 2. The habitat of Strumigenys argiola in the urban area of Bratislava (photo: M. Kocáková).
  • Figure 3. Known distribution of Strumigenys argiola in Slovakia.




Ants of the tribe Dacetini (Myrmicinae) are tiny species living in leaf litter, topsoil, rotten wood and rarely foraging openly above ground. All Dacetini species are predatory, hunting mainly Collembola and other small insects. The structure of their mandibles reflects these specializations (Bolton 1999, Fellner et al. 2009). They are generally very small, cryptically coloured, and slow-moving, becoming motionless when disturbed. As a result, dacetine ants can be easily overlooked (Wetterer 2011). Bolton (2000) recognized 872 species of dacetine ants, placing 90% in two genera, Strumigenys (466 species, 53%) and Pyramica (324 species, 37%), now combined within Strumigenys (Baroni Urbani & de Andrade 2007). Only seven dacetine species occur in the West Palaearctic (Bolton 2000, Radchenko 2007, Markó 2008, Bezděčka & Bezděčková 2009): S. argiola (Emery, 1896), S. baudueri (Emery, 1875), S. lewisi Cameron, 1886, S. membranifera (Emery, 1869), S. rogeri Emery, 1890, S. tenuipilis (Emery, 1915), and S. tenuissima (Brown, 1953).

Material and Methods

Four specimens of Strumigenis argiola from Slovakia were collected using several methods – Moericke traps (yellow dishes with a salt solution), formaldehyde pitfall traps, litter samples (extracted in Tullgren funnels) and hand collecting.

The specimens were identified using Bolton’s comprehensive dacetine key (Bolton 2000). The specimens collected in the territory of Bratislava city, and its surroundings were examined using stereomicroscope Stemi 2000 (Carl Zeiss) and photographed by a high-resolution camera (Canon EOS 100D).

Results and discussion

The first record of Strumigenys argiola (Fig 1) from Slovakia was published by Deván (2008): W Slovakia, Strážovské vrchy Mts, Omšenská Baba – Ihrište (48°5438N, 18°1408E), 550 m a. s. l., leg. P. Deván, det. et rev. D. Vepřek, G. Alpert, P. Werner. A single male was captured in a Moericke trap. The trap was located on an extremely steep slope of the southern exposition. Sesleria calcarea and Carex humilis predominated in the vegetation cover.

Following unpublished records come from urban and suburban habitats of Bratislava city and its surroundings. Records listed below are ordered chronologically.

SW Slovakia, Podunajská rovina lowland, Ivánka pri Dunaji village (48°1135N, 17°1545” E), 131 m a. s. l., 30. 7. 2012, 1 male, collected individually in a garden of a family house, leg. F. Repta, det. et coll. A. Purkart, rev. M. Wiezik.

SW Slovakia, Podunajská rovina lowland, Bratislava city, the cemetery Vrakuňa (48°0835N, 17°1126” E), 134 m a. s. l., 5. 7. 2013, 1 worker from a litter sample extracted in a Tullgren funnel, leg. et coll. M. Holecová, det. M. Klesniaková. The vegetation cover of the cemetery is artificially planted and it is continually maintained by man.

SW Slovakia, Malé Karpaty Mts, Bratislava city, the cemetery Kozia brána (48°0854N, 17°0557E), 170 m a. s. l., 17. 8. 17. 9. 2013, one queen, in a formaldehyde pitfall trap exposed in a dry grass plot, leg. det. et coll. M. Holecová. This historic cemetery has the character of an old city park with many old trees and shrubs (Fig 2).

The currently known distribution of Strumigenys argiola in Slovakia is summarised in Fig. 3.

Strumigenys argiola has so far been verified for the European countries: Portugal (Boieiro et al. 1999), Spain (Tinaut 1988, Guillem et al. 2009), France (Bondroit 1918), Corsica (Casevitz-Weulersse 1990), Switzerland (Kutter 1973, Borcard et al. 1997), Italy (Emery 1869), Hungary (Gallé et al. 1998), former Yugoslavia (Petrov & Collingwood 1992), Greece (Bolton et al. 2007), Austria (Fellner et al. 2009), and Slovakia (Deván 2008 and the present study). Furthermore, a record exists from Germany where a single gyne has been found in the zoological garden of Cologne (Buschinger 1997), but it remains to be proven that this observation relates to a native population.

S. argiola is a thermophilic species significantly preferring open landscapes. Records from Slovakia confirmed this fact. Cryptic ant species are difficult to detect with common sampling methods used in myrmecology. We expect that further localities from southern parts of Slovakia will be recorded on dry grassland sites. S. argiola is a native but long overlooked member of the Slovak ant fauna. The application of quantitative collection techniques (Moericke traps, litter samples, pitfall trapping, Winkler sifting and extracting) may improve our knowledge of distribution and ecology of S. argiola in Slovakia.


We would like to thank Dr. Anna Šestáková and Mgr. Martina Kocáková for the photographs. The study was partially supported by VEGA (Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of the Education and the Slovak Academy of Sciences), grant number 2/0035/13.