Messor barbarus


Messor barbarus is a species of harvester ant that is found in southern Europe and northern Africa. They are known for their ability to collect and store seeds, which they use as food. Messor barbarus are polymorphic, meaning that there is variation in size among the workers. The majors have oversized heads, which they use to break the seeds they eat.


Messor barbarus are native to southern Europe and northern Africa. They can be found in countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, and Algeria.


Messor barbarus are adapted to a Mediterranean climate. They prefer warm temperatures and low humidity. The ideal temperature for this species is between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius.


Messor barbarus prefer a humidity level of between 50 and 60%. The humidity in the granaries, where the seeds are stored, should be lower, between 10 and 50%.


Messor barbarus can obtain all the nutrients they need from seeds. However, if you want to boost the development of the brood, you can give them additional sources of protein, such as insects.


Messor barbarus hibernate during the winter, from around late October to early March. The ideal temperature for hibernation is around 15 degrees Celsius.

Nest type

Messor barbarus need a nest with a humidity gradient. Some chambers should have low humidity levels, dedicated to the storage of the seeds, and others should have a more humid climate, for the brood and the colony.

Here are some of the best types of nests for Messor barbarus:

  • Ytong nests: Ytong is a type of aerated concrete that is often used in ant keeping. It is a good material for Messor barbarus because it is porous and retains moisture well.
  • Acrylic nests: Acrylic nests are another popular option for Messor barbarus. 


Messor barbarus are a fascinating species of harvester ant. They are relatively easy to keep and can be a great choice for both beginners and experienced ant keepers.