Pristomyrmex acerosus

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Pristomyrmex acerosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Pristomyrmex
Species: P. acerosus
Binomial name
Pristomyrmex acerosus
Wang, M., 2003

Nothing is known about the biology of Pristomyrmex acerosus.


Worker - Masticatory margin of mandible lacking a diastema and possessing four teeth, of which the third tooth, counting from the apex, smallest; subpetiole with a pinlike long process. This is the only species in the genus that has so far been found to have a semitranslucent, pinlike, long process on the ventral surface of the petiole. However, further collecting is required. If this long process is present in other specimens, this holotype represents a good species; otherwise, this holotype would be an aberrant specimen, and P. acerosus would become a junior synonym of P. levigatus. (Wang 2003)

A member of the Levigatus species group

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Vanuatu (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The biology of most Pristomyrmex species is poorly known. From Wang (2003): Most species of Pristomyrmex dwell in the rainforest, foraging as predators or scavengers. An Asian species, Pristomyrmex punctatus, however, occurs in open and disturbed habitats (e.g., bare hills, agricultural areas, and beaches). These ants prefer to nest in soil, litter, or rotten wood; in rotten parts of living trees; in dead standing trees; or around plant roots.

Pristomyrmex is of great interest because it exhibits several unusual biological and evolutionary phenomena. The absence of morphologically normal queens and reproduction primarily by unmated workers in P. punctatus {=P. pungens) is a highly unusual life history in the Formicidae. Ergatoid queens, a special wingless female caste morphologically intermediate between the queen and the worker, are present in at least four species: Pristomyrmex punctatus, Pristomyrmex africanus, Pristomyrmex wheeleri, and Pristomyrmex mandibularis; two of them (P. africanus and P. wheeleri) possess both queen and ergatoid queen castes.

Simulating death, slowness of movement, and nocturnal foraging has been recorded in Pristomyrmex (Donisthorpe, 1946; Taylor, 1965; Weber, 1941). Colony size varies greatly among species, ranging from about a dozen to several thousand workers (Donisthorpe, 1946; Itow et al, 1984; Mann, 1919; Taylor, 1965, 1968).


Queen and Male are unknown.


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

  • acerosus. Pristomyrmex acerosus Wang, M. 2003: 491, figs. 201-202 (w.) VANUATU.

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



Holotype - TL 2.80, HL 0.76, HW 0.7.5, CI 99, SL 0.66, SI 88, EL 0.12, PW 0.48, AL 0.76, PPW 0.22, PPL 0.17, PPI 129.

Mandibles smooth and shining. A broad-based short tooth pre sent about midway on the basal margin of the mandible. Clypeus depressed, unsculptured, its anterior margin with three denticles: a median tooth and one on each side. Frontal carinae just extending to the level of the posterior margins of eyes. Antennal scrobes absent. Frontal lobes weakly expanded basally. Eyes moderately sized. Occipital margin feebly concave in full-face view. Dorsum of alitrunk in profile convex. Pronotum unarmed. Propodeum with a pair of subtriangular short spines. Metapleural lobes rounded. Petiole node in profile high, with the anterodorsal angle higher than the posterodorsal, its anterior face subparallel to the posterior one, anterior peduncle of the node about as long as the node. Subpetiole with a semitranslucent pinlike long process. Postpetiole with a rounded dorsum. In dorsal view, petiole node subrounded; postpetiole broader than long, somewhat transrectangular. Dorsal surfaces of head and alitrunk smooth and shining, except for some small, shallow hair pits. Petiole, postpetiole, and gaster unsculptured, smooth, and shining. Dorsal surface of head with numerous erect to suberect hairs. Dorsum of alitrunk with sparse hairs. Two pairs of hairs present on the dorsum of petiole node. A few on the dorsum of postpetiole and on the first gastral tergite, respectively. Three pairs of forward-projecting hairs present near the anterior clypeal margin. Scapes and tibiae with some suberect short hairs. Color lightly yellow-brown.

Type Material

Holotype Worker. The Natural History Museum. New Hebrides: Malekoula I. (N), Vao Isl, 0 to 20 m, 7.ix.1979 (W. C. Gagne, G. M. Nishida, and G. A. Samuelson).