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Introduction & Overview

The cloning behavior of this species is quite interesting. Vollenhovia emeryi has a long-winged, monogynous type (Type 1) and a brachypterous queened, polygynous type (Type 2). The type that is exotic to the US is Type 2. These clonal queens inbreed inside the nest in the fall and then colonies bud in the spring. Although type 2 V. emeryi colonies do not need to, they can also stage nuptial flights. With enough food, colonies can produce long-winged queens that have flights in spring. I have found this species flying alongside Nylanderia flavipes in May. However, solo queens are very fragile and die quickly. They are presumably semi-claustral.

Common Name

Cloning Plum Pine Ants

Queen Size

4 mm

Worker Size

3 mm


Beginner Friendly
Semi Claustral

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Queen Identification

Vollenhovia is in the Crematogastrini tribe. This species is easy to distinguish in the Eastern US by the flat body and stark red-black coloration.

1. Double jointed petiole

2. Flat body

3. Presence of workers and larger queens (negates V. nipponica)


For the Korean peninsula, V. emeryi is the only recorded species of Vollenhovia.


For mainland Japan, V. emeryi can be differentiated from V. benzai by the "low and small subpetiolar process, dully angulate posterodorsal corner of propodeum, lacking large brown spot on frons, and smaller body size" (Antwiki).


For the islands south of Japan, V. emeryi a developed subpetiolar process (negating okinawana and benzai), frons with a large brown spot (negating sakishimana), and propodeal teeth (negating amamiana).

Founding setup

no special care required


Room temperature


High humidity

It is important to provide this species with ample gradient, both with temperature and humidity.

Time to first workers

6 weeks egg-worker unheated

Sensitivity concerns

This species is quite fragile during founding and low humidity will cause death.

Type 2 of Vollenhovia emeryi generally spreads through budding, like in army ants.

Tubs and tubes

This species is not picky and has a great feeding response. In my experience, they prefer mealworms over other feeder insects. In tubes, they often congregate at the exit cotton so having an outworld or a nest for this species is a good idea. They are not very strong climbers but talcum powder or fluon is a must for this species.


no special care required


This species is uncommonly kept due to its small range in the United States. However, it is widespread in South Korea, presumably North Korea, and Japan.


This species may be found for sale at

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this care sheet.

Vollenhovia emeryi

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