Desert ants of the genus Cataglyphis possess remarkable visual navigation capabilities. Although Cataglyphis species lack a trail pheromone system, Cataglyphis fortis employs olfactory cues for detecting nest and food sites. To investigate potential adaptations in primary olfactory centers of the brain of C. fortis, we analyzed olfactory glomeruli (odor processing units) in their antennal lobes and compared them to glomeruli in different Cataglyphis species. Using confocal imaging and 3D reconstruction, we analyzed the number, size and spatial arrangement of olfactory glomeruli in C. fortis, C. albicans, C. bicolor, C. rubra, and C. noda. Workers of all Cataglyphis species have smaller numbers of glomeruli (198–249) compared to those previously found in olfactory-guided ants. Analyses in 2 species of Formica – a genus closely related to Cataglyphis – revealed substantially higher numbers of olfactory glomeruli (c. 370), which is likely to reflect the importance of olfaction in these wood ant species. Comparisons between Cataglyphis species revealed 2 special features in C. fortis. First, with c. 198 C. fortis has the lowest number of glomeruli compared to all other species. Second, a conspicuously enlarged glomerulus is located close to the antennal nerve entrance. Males of C. fortis possess a significantly smaller number of glomeruli (c. 150) compared to female workers and queens. A prominent male-specific macroglomerulus likely to be involved in sex pheromone communication occupies a position different from that of the enlarged glomerulus in females. The behavioral significance of the enlarged glomerulus in female workers remains elusive. The fact that C. fortis inhabits microhabitats (salt pans) that are avoided by all other Cataglyphis species suggests that extreme ecological conditions may not only have resulted in adaptations of visual capabilities, but also in specializations of the olfactory system.