Prionopelta xerosilva

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Prionopelta xerosilva
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Genus: Prionopelta
Species: P. xerosilva
Binomial name
Prionopelta xerosilva
Overson & Fisher, 2015

Prionopelta xerosilva casent0157254 p 1 high.jpg

Prionopelta xerosilva casent0157254 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

P. xerosilva is known only from tropical dry forests in the province of Mahajanga in western-central Madagascar. It has only been collected from forest litter and ranges between 50–300 meters of elevation. (Overson and Fisher 2015)


Overson and Fisher (2015) - P. xerosilva is identifiable from the following combination of characters: cephalic foveae consistently and widely separated by 1–3 foveal diameters, with foveae directly adjacent only extremely rarely, including at the posterolateral corners of the head; metanotal suture strongly visible in dorsal view.

With its uniformly and widely spaced cephalic foveae, P. xerosilva could only be confused with Prionopelta vampira. However, the latter lacks a metanotal suture and possesses a very long apical tooth, a strongly concave posterior edge of the propodeum in dorsal view, and lamellae protruding from the posterior propodeum, all of which P. xerosilva lacks.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb





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

  • xerosilva. Prionopelta xerosilva Overson & Fisher, 2015: 146, figs. 1A, 2B, D, 12 (w.) MADAGASCAR.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



(N=6). HL 0.43–0.46 (0.45); HW 0.34–0.36 (0.35); SL 0.23–0.25 (0.24); WL 0.45–0.5 (0.48); PetL 0.14–0.15 (0.15); PetW 0.19–0.21 (0.2); T1W 0.31–0.33 (0.32); CI 74.35–81.82 (77.85); PI 126.8–148.18 (138.76); SI 65.51–71.88 (69.77).

Cephalic foveae shallow, large, and most widely spaced of the Malagasy Prionopelta; directly adjacent cephalic foveae either completely lacking, or very rare; if any foveae are adjacent, then always with only 2–3 foveae connected, and these usually located medially on the head in full-face view; majority of cephalic foveae are separated by 1–3 foveal diameters, appear cleanly scooped from shining integument, and lack any raised margins at their perimeter; median cephalic band devoid of foveae is wide along its length, not tapering posteriorly; coronal suture absent medially on the head; apical tooth intermediate in length, never more than 4 times as long as the third tooth from base to tip; very weak, shallow, foveae present on the pronotum which are noticeably less dense than those of other Malagasy Prionopelta; foveae of the dorsum of the mesosoma interspersed with punctures; pronounced metanotal suture visible in dorsal view, mesopropodeal suture weaker but present; posterior edge of the propodeum straight or only very slightly concave in dorsal view; protruding lamellae of the posterior propodeum absent.

Type Material

Holotype, pinned worker, MADAGASCAR, Mahajanga, Réserve Forestière Beanka, 50.7 km E Maintirano, 17.88021°S, 44.46877°E, 140 m, tropical dry forest on tsingy, sifted litter (leaf mold, rotten wood), BLF22999, 29.x.2009 (B.L. Fisher et al.) (California Academy of Sciences: CASENT0157254). Paratypes, six pinned workers with same data as holotype (CASC: CASENT0157257; CASENT0157258; CASENT0157260; CASENT0157262; CASENT0157701, CASENT0157702).


The name of this new species is a combination of the Greek adjective “xero” meaning dry and the Latin noun “silva” for forest, as this species is known only from tropical dry forests in western Madagascar.