Short Communication
Short Communication
The Common Ant Cricket Myrmecophilus acervorum (Panzer, [1799]), new to the fauna of Georgia, southern Caucasus ecoregion (Orthoptera: Myrmecophilidae), with additional data on Myrmecophilus hirticaudus Fischer von Waldheim, 1846
expand article infoThomas Stalling, Armen Seropian§
‡ Unaffiliated, Inzlingen, Germany
§ Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia
Open Access


The first record of the ant cricket Myrmecophilus acervorum in Georgia is presented. The species was discovered for the first time in Georgia in the Tbilisi region in 2021. Additional data on the distribution of M. hirticaudus in Georgia is presented.

Key words

Biogeography, Ecology, Faunistics, Myrmecophiles, South Caucasus


Ant crickets of the genus Myrmecophilus Berthold, 1827, are tiny, myrmecophilous crickets. They live in ant nests, mostly as kleptoparasites (Schimmer 1909; Wetterer and Hugel 2008). The genus has an almost cosmopolitan distribution. To date, there are 10 known species in Europe and 63 species worldwide (Cigliano et al. 2022; Hsu et al. 2020). In the Caucasus region, one species, M. hirticaudus Fischer von Waldheim, 1846, has been reported from Armenia (Stalling 2013), Russia (Gorochov 1984), and, most recently, Georgia on the southern steep slopes of the Kura River valley (Stalling et al. 2019). The other species, M. acervorum (Panzer, [1799]), has so far been reported only from Armenia (Stalling 2013). In the present communication, we provide data on a new country record for M. acervorum and additional distribution data for M. hirticaudus for Georgia.

Materials and methods

Ant nests were checked for the presence of Myrmecophilus species in Georgia in 2021. The ant nests were found by turning stones and logs. All Myrmecophilus specimens, when spotted, were caught and preserved in 96% ethanol. Fieldwork was carried out by the entomological team of Ilia State University, Institute of Ecology (ISU IE) within the framework of the Caucasus Barcode of Life Project (CaBOL).

Photos of live and preserved specimens were acquired using a Canon EOS 550D camera with a Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens and a Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro Snap-On Lens mounted on it. Digital images were prepared using ZERENE STACKER image stacking software and ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS6.

Voucher materials are kept at the CaBOL collection repository at Ilia State University.


Family Myrmecophilidae Saussure, 1874

Genus Myrmecophilus Berthold, 1827

M. acervorum (Fig. 1A)

  • GEORGIA • 1 adult F; Tbilisi, Didgori; N41.788550°, E 44.676617°; 835 m a.s.l.; 21 Sep. 2021; leg: N. Bulbulashvili, A. Seropian; under a rotting log in leaf litter in a deciduous forest dominated by Carpinus orientalis with no ant traces nearby; CaBOL-1016877.

M. hirticaudus (Fig. 1B)

  • GEORGIA • 1 adult M; Tbilisi, Didgori; N41.803717°, E44.679300°; 945 m a.s.l.; 7 Mar. 2021; leg: L-G Japaridze; ident: A. Seropian; in a nest of Lasius sp. under a stone; CaBOL-1009791. 1 adult F; Shida Kartli, Gori; N41.970183°, E44.083517°; 932 m a.s.l.; 10 Mar. 2021; leg: N. Bulbulashvil; in a nest of Lasius sp. under a log at the edge of a deciduous forest; CaBOL-1011747. 1 adult M, 1 adult F; Tbilisi, Telovani; N41.811200°, E44.691133°; 995 m a.s.l.; 15 Aug. 2021; leg: N. Bulbulashvili; under a rock in a deciduous forest; CaBOL-1012510, CaBOL-1012511. 1 juvenile; Kvemo Kartli, Kumisi; N 41.601967°, E44.811750°; 502 m a.s.l.; leg: Sh. Japarashvili; under a rock on the bank of the Nagubi River; CaBOL-1013030. 1 adult F; Samtskhe-Javakheti, Ijareti; N41.632700°, E 42.689300°; 1752 m a.s.l.; 09 Oct. 2021; leg: E. Arsenashvili; under a rock on the bank of Lake Triala, CaBOL-1020408. 1 ind; Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Armazi gorge; N41.832017°, E 44.684183°; 742 m a.s.l.; 11 Mar. 2017; personal observation by A. Seropian; in a nest of Reticulitermes lucifugus (Rossi, 1792), on the rocky slopes of the Armazi gorge.
Figure 1. 

Myrmecophylus species collected in Georgia. A: M. acervorum, live female specimen, Didgori, Georgia, 21 Sep. 2021; B: M. hirticaudus, male, Didrogi, Georgia, 07 Mar. 2021 (the scale bar: 1mm). Photo credits: A. Seropian.


The discovery of Myrmecophilus acervorum represents the first record of this species in Georgia. The criteria used for identification were those described by Stalling and Birrer (2013). Adults and older nymph stages of M. acervorum are distinguished from M. hirticaudus by the following criteria: dark reddish-brown with a pale ochreous posterior border on the pronotum and mesonotum, in contrast to the uniform brown body colour of M. hirticaudus, and two dorsal spines in the proximal and medial positions, in contrast to three dorsal spines positioned in the proximal, medial and distal parts of the metatarsus (the spine is occasionally absent in the medial position, but the spine in the proximal position is always present) in M. hirticaudus.

The current finding of Myrmecophilus hirticaudus shows that this species is more widespread in Georgia than previously known. Considering the records from adjacent Armenia and Russia, we can assume that both M. acervorum and M. hirticaudus are more widespread in Georgia.

The finding of M. hirticaudus in a nest of the termite species (Reticulitermes lucifugus) is of great interest. The association of M. hirticaudus with the termite R. lucifugus was already described by Mařan (1959) in the description of M. termitophilus Mařan, 1959, which later proved to be a junior synonym of M. hirticaudus (Stalling and Macháčková 2014). However, nothing else is known about it, and whether R. lucifugus is a true host, or whether the ant crickets were there by accident, remains unclear.


We are grateful to Lasha-Giorgi Japaridze, Giorgi Iankoshvili, Natalia Bulbulashvili, Eka Arsenashvili, and Shota Japarashvili for friendly support and cordial cooperation and to Asmus Schröter (Tbilisi) for fruitful discussions.

The project on which this publication is based was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Georgia under grant number 01DK20014A. The responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the author.


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