Doleromyrma darwiniana

Darwin's ant

Family: Formicidae

Origin: Australia

A side on view of Darwin's ant carrying a tidbit in its pincers.
Darwin's ant came to New Zealand from Darwin in Australia.
Photo credit: Richard Toft, Entecol

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice pest
  • Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area pest — Site-led
  • Whole region — Sustained control

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Small (2-5 mm) with a dark brown head and light brown body. Gives off a strong odour when crushed.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell any Darwin’s ant within the Auckland region.
  • In the future, all commercial transport operators moving goods or people to or among Hauraki Gulf islands will need to have a Pest Free Warrant.
  • Anyone intending to move a building to or among Hauraki Gulf islands must notify Auckland Council at least 10 working days prior to movement so that an inspection can be arranged.


Urban habitats, forest, coastal scrub.

Impact on environment

Competes with native species for food, promotes high densities of aphids and scale insects, interferes with pest plant biocontrol.



Check for ants before moving potted plants. If you’re planning to do some planting on an island, ideally find plants that were grown on-island. If you do have to bring plants from off-island, make sure they’ve been sourced from a supplier who is accredited with the Plant Producers Biosecurity Scheme to reduce the risk of hitchhiker pests.

Otherwise, bare root your plants, dunk them in water thoroughly, or repot them with completely new potting mix 24 hours before you go. Check camping gear, garden soil, bark, building materials, vehicles and vessels for ants before you move them.

For more information on Darwin’s ants and how to avoid spreading them, please visit our Visiting the Hauraki Gulf island page or contact Auckland Council at

Darwin's ant from above on a mottled brown leaf.
Darwin ants form long single file trails and have a pungent smell when squashed.
Photo credit: Richard Toft, Entecol