Crazy ant

Crazy ant

Anoplolepis gracilipes

Common name:

Crazy ant

Scientific name:

Anoplolepis gracilipes

Alternative common names:


The crazy ant is among the 100 most pervasive and destructive invasive species in the world. It is called ‘crazy’ because of its erratic movements when disturbed. It is a relatively large, yellow to orange ant with long legs, large eyes and extremely long antennal scapes

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?


How does it spread?

On vehicles, boats and other forms of transport and through budding.

Why is it a problem?

It causes disruption to natural environments including those of indigenous birds, animals and plants. It also has a negative impact on the horticulture industry.

What does it look like?

Description: The crazy ant is one of the largest invasive ants and typically ranges from 1-2mm to more than 5mm. It is also notable for its remarkably long legs and antennae. It has a long, slender, yellow-brown or red-brown body, with the gaster usually darker than the head and thorax. It is weakly sclerotized. The eyes are large and bulge well beyond the outline of the head in full face view.

Habitat: Urban areas, agricultural areas, coastland, natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian zones, riverine forest, freshwater swamp forest, disturbed, scrub/shrub lands and watercourses.

Breeding: Offspring may occur year-round, but are generally produced seasonally (prior to the rainy season). Eggs hatch in 18-20 days, and worker larvae develop in 16-20 days. Pupae of workers require around 20 days to develop, while those of queens develop in 30-34 days.

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