Darwin's ant
Formicidae - Doleromyrma darwiniana

What does it look like?

Darwin's ant worker ants are about 2 mm long.  They have a dark-brown head but the rest of the body and the legs are light brown. They look similar to Argentine ants but they give off a strong odour when crushed, which Argentine ants don't.

Darwin's ants are native to Australia, where they are most commonly found in dry forested areas, including coastal scrub or heath, nesting in soil, under rocks or rotten logs, or occasionally in abandoned nests of other ants.  Nests usually contain several hundred workers which disperse quickly when disturbed.  In New Zealand, the species is associated with towns or cities with ports.  It has been recorded in Whangarei, Mt Maunganui, Gisborne, Napier, Blenheim, Nelson and Lyttelton.

Why is it a problem?


Darwin's ants can build up large densities, often in urban gardens becoming a nuisance and displacing other invertebrates. Darwin's ants, nest in soil or under stones and logs and usually maintain small colony sizes.

Control Methods

If you suspect you have Darwins ants you can get them identified by delivering a sample to a Northland Regional Council office. Ant samples should be put into a screw-top container and frozen.

For prevention:
Ensure soil potted plants, outdoor equipment or other mediums which could contain ants are ant-free before moving these to other areas.