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Acanthomyrmex luciolae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Acanthomyrmex
Emery, 1893
Type species
Acanthomyrmex luciolae
17 species
(Species Checklist)


Acanthomyrmex luciolae


Specimen Label

Eguchi, Bui and Yamane (2011) -Acanthomyrmex species nest in dead twigs and wood fragments, and under or between stones. Colonies of Acanthomyrmex glabfemoralis contain a single dealate normal queen, or instead contain single or multiple dwarf queens, while colonies of A. humilis contain ergatoid queens only (Eguchi et al. 2008). Acanthomyrmex glabfemoralis and Acanthomyrmex humilis gather seeds (Eguchi et al. 2004, Eguchi pers. observ.).


Eguchi, Bui and Yamane (2011) -Workers of Vietnamese species have the following features (see also Moffett 1986; Eguchi et al 2008): Worker dimorphic; frontal lobe reduced, in full-face view only partially concealing the torulus; frontal carina present, usually conspicuous; antennal scrobe present, usually conspicuous; anteromedian margin of clypeus weakly convex with a shallow median emargination in major; anteromedian margin of clypeus always armed with 2 to several processes in minor; median clypeal seta reduced or absent in major, but always present in minor; lateral portions of clypeus not forming a conspicuous ridge in front of torulus in major, but raised into a ridge in front of torulus in minor; mandible in major massive, edentate or armed with a few indistinct teeth on masticatory margin; mandible in minor broadly triangular, and armed with 5–10 small to tiny teeth in addition to relatively conspicuous apical and preapical teeth; antenna 12-segmented, with 3-segmented club; eye moderately developed; mesosoma short and robust especially in major; promesonotal suture absent dorsally; metanotal groove obsolete or shallow dorsally; propodeum armed with a pair of long spines; propodeal lobe well developed, angulately produced poster¬odorsad; petiole pedunculate anteriorly and with distinct node; postpetiole much shorter than petiole; suture between first gastral tergite and sternite basally in the form of a rounded M-shape; postpetiole articulated at base of the M.

The minor worker of Acanthomyrmex is similar to the worker of Pristomyrmex, but in the latter the antenna is 11-segmented, the masticatory margin of the mandible is almost vertical to the basal margin and 3-, 4- or 5-toothed, and the suture between first gastral tergite and sternite is not in the form of a rounded M-shape.

Keys including this Genus


World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Acanthomyrmex Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Acanthomyrmex Species Richness.png


Acanthomyrmex species nest in cavities in dead twigs and wood fragments, under or between stones and in litter on the forest floor, and their colony size is usually small (Moffett 1985, Terayama et al. 1998, Eguchi et al. 2004). We often encounter patches in which colonies are aggregated. Because reproduction by ergatoids is dominant in some species of Acanthomyrmex (Terayama et al. 1998), such aggregation of colonies may be caused by the low dispersal ability of the ergatoid founder. The species in this genus are worker-dimorphic: the major worker is a seed-miller (Moffett 1985).

Danum Valley, Sabah
Acanthomyrmex ferox, small natural colony with two soldiers, a couple of workers and the queen looking into the picture from below, surrounded by fig seeds that serve as food. 1-II-1998 Ulu Gombak, leg. A. Buschinger.



Worker Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club 3 • Palp formula 4,3 • Total dental count 7-12 (minor worker), 0-3 (major worker and queen) • Spur formula 1 simple, 1 simple • Eyes present • Scrobes present • Caste dimorphic

Male Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 4,3 • Total dental count 6-8 • Spur formula 1 simple, 1 simple


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • ACANTHOMYRMEX [Myrmicinae: Myrmecinini]
    • Acanthomyrmex Emery, 1893a: cclxxvi. Type-species: Acanthomyrmex luciolae, by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903: 191.
    • [Acanthomyrmex also described as new by Emery, 1893f: 244].


  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 383, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmicini)
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 191, Type-species: Acanthomyrmex luciolae; by subsequent designation)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 255, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmecinini)
  • Emery, C. 1893c [1892]. [Untitled. Introduced by: "M. C. Emery, de Bologne, envoie les diagnoses de cinq nouveaux genres de Formicides".]. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. (Bull.) 61:cclxxv-cclxxvii. (page cclxxvi, Acanthomyrmex as genus)
  • Emery, C. 1893h. Voyage de M. E. Simon à l'île de Ceylan (janvier-février 1892). Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 62: 239-258 (page 244, Acanthomyrmex also described as new)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 769, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmicini)
  • Emery, C. 1912b. Études sur les Myrmicinae. [I-IV.]. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 56: 94-105 (page 105, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmecinini)
  • Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 41, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmecinini)
  • Emery, C. 1924f [1922]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 234, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmecinini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 244, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmecinini)
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 16, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Pheidolini (error))
  • Moffett, M. W. 1986c. Revision of the myrmicine genus Acanthomyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 151: 55-89 (page 55, Revision of genus)
  • Terayama, M., Ito, F. ; Gobin, B. 1998. Three new species of the genus Acanthomyrmex Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Indonesia, with notes on the reproductive caste and colony composition. Entomol. Sci. 1: 257-264 PDF
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 139, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmicini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 663, Acanthomyrmex in Myrmicinae, Myrmecinini)