This is one of seven ant queens I just collected yesterday morning (2015-09-21 9AM) around home.

I live in Hong Kong, at a hillside facing south. The weather was as follows (Hong Kong Observatory Daily Weather Summary, Hong Kong Observatory Daily Extract):

  • Mean Pressure (hPa): 1008.6
  • Max temp in my district: 24.2C
  • Min temp in my district: 28.0C
  • Mean dew point: 23.8C
  • Relative humidity: 66% - 95%
  • Rainfall: 16.9mm

Head (front view) Head (side view) Thorax (top view) Thorax (side view Abdomen (side view) Whole ant (side view) Whole ant (front view

Judging by the ridged head and the large mandibles, I'm guessing this is one of the Tetramoriums (Wikipedia, AntWeb).

The colour is dark brown. The total length from the tip of the mandibles to the tip of the abdomen is about 17mm. The length of the large wing is also 17mm. I don't know what habitat it lives in and I also don't know how the workers or soldiers look like, as I have never seen where these ant queens emerge from.

If anybody is fairly confident in identifying this species, I would also appreciate some tips about keeping it and starting a colony. I have a make-shift ant farm made out of two plastic bottles, one nested inside the other like a Russian doll. Out of the seven queens that I collected, three are already dying. A fourth one already show signs that she won't make it either.

More info

When I picked them up, they were not exactly "outdoors". The short but heavy rain was mostly over and these queens were "taking shelter" in the stairwell of my building, which is usually dim, slightly damper and cooler than outside.

Here are more pictures; these should be better because I just took these in natural daylight: Head (ocelli) Antenna Mandibles Head (side) Whole (side)

Somebody at The Ant Farm and Myrmecology Forum suggests that this is in the genus Carebara (previously Pheidologeton). After some more Google search of my own, and image comparing, I believe that this is indeed a Carebara affinis, which has previously been spotted in Hong Kong. Could somebody confirm?

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    $\begingroup$ I also want to commend you for providing a lot of information. However, even though I know very little about ant identification, I do know that the number/amount of bristles (setae) on head and legs, spines on the alitrunk/mesosoma and petiole as well as the number and shape of antennal segments are often used for genera and species determination, and these characters are difficult to see in your pictures. So it might be difficult to determine this to species, based on your pictures. $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2015 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ @fileunderwater Thanks for the tips! I'll try to get clearer pictures or count the setae, etc myself when I get home. $\endgroup$
    – Kal
    Sep 23, 2015 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


In my opinion you are pretty close to the exact identification.

I think it is Marauder Ant, which could be Pheidologeton diversus, but probably Carebara affinis as well.

The main feature I can gother from your pictures is Venation of wings which matches with Pheidologeton diversus venation (it would probably match with affinis as well, but I failed to find the picture):

enter image description here

Venation match: the combo picture of the wing from the post and the wing from the reference:

enter image description here

This ant is known as Hong Kong inhabitant -

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I'm aware that it is also possibly a Pheidologeton diversus, renamed nowadays as Carebara diversa, if I'm not mistaken. Unfortunately, without successfully starting a colony and looking at all the different casts, it's rather hard to tell the C. diversa and C. affinis apart. IIRC from my research, the C. diversa has a more diverse range of worker sizes, ranging from super majors (with really big heads) to minors. C. diversa are also rarer than C. affinis, which makes the C. diversa highly prized as pet ants. There are even reports of sellers selling C. affinis as C. diversa knowingly. $\endgroup$
    – Kal
    Jan 5, 2016 at 15:22

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