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Lepisiota capensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Lepisiota
Santschi, 1926
Type species
Plagiolepis rothneyi, now Lepisiota rothneyi
135 species
(Species Checklist)

Lepisiota capensis casent0146042 profile 1.jpg

Lepisiota capensis

Lepisiota capensis casent0146042 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (2 genera)

  (9 genera)

  (9 genera)

  (8 genera)

Gesomyrmex, Oecophylla


  (14 species)

  (18 species)

  (1 species)

  (1 species)

  (135 species)

  (80 species)

  (41 species)

  (2 species)

Undescribed genus

Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella

  (8 genera)

Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Hita Garcia, Wiesel and Fischer (2013) - The genus Lepisiota is distributed in the Old World and is of moderate size (Bolton, 2012). They nest in rotten wood, in the ground, or in standing trees, and can be considered as generalised foragers (Bolton, 1973a; Brown, 2000). They are especially abundant in less forested habitats, such as grasslands, savannahs or woodlands.

The taxonomy of this genus is in an awful condition. Forel (1892) provided a key to a few then known species but the usefulness of this key is limited since it covers only a minor fraction of the current diversity. Later, Wheeler (1922) and then Emery (1925b) published diagnoses and catalogues of the genus, although none of them attempted a full revision. No further taxonomic works have been published since then and a modern revision of Lepisiota would strongly improve the taxonomic understanding of this group.


Keys to Species in this Genus


World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Lepisiota 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

Lepisiota Species Richness.png




Worker Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 11 • Antennal club absent • Palp formula 6,4 • Total dental count 5-6 • Spur formula 0, 0 • Eyes present • Scrobes absent • Caste a few species are size-variable to weakly polymorphic • Sting absent


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

  • LEPISIOTA [Formicinae: Plagiolepidini]
    • Lepisiota Santschi, 1926a: 15 [as subgenus of Acantholepis]. Type-species: Plagiolepis rothneyi, by original designation.
    • Lepisiota is first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr, 1861 [junior homonym of Acantholepis Kroyer, 1846: 98 (Pisces)], hence valid name of genus: Bolton, 1995b: 33.
    • Lepisiota senior synonym of Baroniurbania (unnecessary replacement name for Acantholepis): Bolton, 1994: 51.
    • [Lepisiota incorrectly as junior synonym of Acanthomyrmex: Brown, 1973b: 181; Snelling, R.R. 1981: 397. In both publications Acanthomyrmex is an error for Acantholepis.]
    • Subgenera of Lepisiota: nominal plus Baroniurbania: Dietrich, 2004: 324.
  • ACANTHOLEPIS [junior homonym, see Lepisiota]
    • Acantholepis Mayr, 1861: 42. Type-species: Hypoclinea frauenfeldi, by monotypy. [Junior homonym of Acantholepis Kroyer, 1846: 98 (Pisces)].
    • Lepisiota Santschi, 1926a: 15 [previously a subgenus of Acantholepis Mayr], first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr: Bolton, 1995b: 33.]
  • ACHANTILEPIS [unavailable name]
    • Achantilepis Santschi, 1935b: 274, incorrect subsequent spelling of Acantholepis.
  • PSEUDACANTHOLEPIS [unavailable name]
    • Pseudacantholepis Bernard, 1953b: 256, attributed to Santschi [as subgenus of Acantholepis]. Unavailable name. Proposed without designation of type-species. Species included by Bernard (1953b) are all referable to Lepisiota: Bolton, 1995b: 44.


  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 51, Lepisiota first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr (junior homonym), hence valid name of genus. Lepisiota senior synonym of Baroniurbania (unnecessary replacement name for Acantholepis).)
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 33, Lepisiota first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr, 1861 (junior homonym of Acantholepis Kroyer, 1846:98 (Pisces), hence valid name of genus)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 102, Lepisiota in Formicinae, Plagiolepidini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1973b. A comparison of the Hylean and Congo-West African rain forest ant faunas. Pp. 161-185 in: Meggers, B. J., Ayensu, E. S., Duckworth, W. D. (eds.) Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, viii + 350 pp. (page 181, (Lepisiota incorrectly as junior synonym of Acanthomyrmex, in error))
  • Hita Garcia, F.; Wiesel, E.; Fischer, G. 2013. The ants of Kenya (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)—faunal overview, first species checklist, bibliography, accounts for all genera, and discussion on taxonomy and zoogeography. Journal of East African Natural History 101:127-222.PDF
  • Santschi, F. 1926a. Trois notes myrmécologiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 95: 13-28 (page 15, Lepisiota as subgenus of Acantholepis; first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr: Bolton, 1995b: 33.] )
  • Snelling, R. R. 1981. Systematics of social Hymenoptera. Pp. 369-453 in: Hermann, H. R. (ed.) Social insects. Volume 2. New York: Academic Press, xiii + 491 pp. (page 397, Lepisiota incorrectly as junior synonym of Acanthomyrmex (in error))