Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Subfamily Dolichoderinae - Odorous Ants

White Footed Ants - Technomyrmex difficilis Dolichoderus taschenbergi - Dolichoderus pustulatus - female ants - Tapinoma sessile Unidentified Ants - Tapinoma sessile Hymenoptera > Formicidae > Dolichoderinae > Dorymyrmex >  - Dorymyrmex bicolor Dorymyrmex sp.? - Dorymyrmex - female Linepithema humile Male Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)? - Linepithema humile
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Formicoidea (Ants)
Family Formicidae (Ants)
Subfamily Dolichoderinae (Odorous Ants)
Explanation of Names
Grk. dolich-, slender, narrow
Grk. der-, collar
Lat. -inae, subfamily ending
Some species of Dolichoderus have a slender, necklike posterior portion of the head capsule.
Numbers
5 native genera in North America: Dolichoderus (4 species), Dorymyrmex (14+), Forelius (2), Liometopum (3), Tapinoma (3 native, one introduced).
2 introduced genera: Linepithema (1), Technomyrmex (1).
Size
In USA, 1.75-5mm.
Identification
Single-segmented abdominal pedicel (the petiole); 12-segmented antenna without club; distinct promesonotal suture; strong constriction between mesonotum and propodeum; lack sting or acidopore, but have transverse slit-shaped cloacal opening; soft flexible integument (but more rigid in Dolichoderus)
[adapted from description by Mississippi State U. - see Internet References below]
Range
Tapinoma sessile virtually ubiquitous, Dolichoderus temperate eastern half of continent, other genera more regional.
Habitat
Various, but tend to choose warm and/or xeric habitats. Some invade houses, especially in cooler months.
Season
Warm months.
Food
All have a muscular pharynx, elaborate proventriculus, and highly expansible crop, indicative of reliance on a primarily liquid diet (honeydew, nectar), but many also prey on small arthropods, or scavenge scat, carrion.
Life Cycle
Most have the "typical" ant life cycle of colony establishment by a single queen that closes herself into a cell and feeds her first brood on secretions elaborated from stored fat and lysing wing muscles. However, a number of social-parasite colony-founders are found in the group, including several undescribed Dorymyrmex, currently being studied collaboratively by myrmecologists at several institutions. (more later . . .)
Remarks
These are called odorous ants because of the strong-smelling lactone-family of chemical products elaborated in the anal glands of many species. These are apparently used mainly defensively, and are quite notable to collectors that break into the nests or disturb foraging columns of these ants.

The spelling of this subfamily name Dolichoderinae could be confused with the nematode subfamily Dolichodorinae. Spell check your writing of either name to avoid confusion.
Internet References
ant taxonomy - lists subfamilies and representative genera, and provides common names when known/available (Alex Wild, myrmecos.net)