Acanthostichus punctiscapus

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Acanthostichus punctiscapus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Acanthostichus
Species: A. punctiscapus
Binomial name
Acanthostichus punctiscapus
Mackay, W.P., 1996

Acanthostichus punctiscapus casent0103132 profile 1.jpg

Acanthostichus punctiscapus casent0103132 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

The type collection of A. punctiscapus was taken from a nest of Pogonomyrmex desertorum at a depth of 70cm in an area of Larrea tridentata (creosotebush) Chihauhuan Desert scrub. A second collection was of two workers taken at a termite trap. Little else is known about this species or its biology.


A member of the brevicornis species complex. Workers this species are easily recognized by the densely punctate scapes and dorsal surfaces of the head (less so), mesosoma (more so), petiole and gaster (MacKay 1996). In other species these regions are smooth and with at most a very few scattered punctures.

Keys including this Species


United States: New Mexico (type collection) and Arizona (Pima Co., Tucson, foothills of Santa Catalina Mts., CASENT0173204). Mexico.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 34.156971° to 32.31722222°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).
Neotropical Region: Mexico.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Only known from desert habitat: the type locality (New Mexico) was reported as "Larrea tridentata (creosotebush) Chihauhuan Desert scrub" and while a collection in Arizona was "50' from wash in disturbed desert."


With only two collections of this subterranean species known it is difficult to assess its potential abundance. This ant may rare or rarely detected.


The type series was collected in a nest of Pogonomyrmex desertorum at a depth of 70 cm. Only part of the nest was collected and no queen was found.


Known only from the worker caste.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • punctiscapus. Acanthostichus punctiscapus Mackay, 1996: 160, figs. 12, 30, 31 (w.) U. S. A. (New Mexico).
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 38 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype U.S.A.: New Mexico, Doña Ana County, Jornada LTER Site, 45 km. NE Las Cruces, 1.6 km. W College Ranch Headquarters, ca 150 mi. S Jornada Playa, 17.vii.1985 (D. Lightfoot & S. Van Vactor); paratypes with same data.
    • Type-depositories: MCZC (holotype); AMNH, BMNH, CASC, EMAU, FMNH, IMLT, INPA, LACM, MACN, MCZC, MIZA, MSNG, MZSP, UATA, UNAM, USNM, WEMC (paratypes).
    • Status as species: Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 41.
    • Distribution: U.S.A.

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



Mandible with tooth on median masticatory border, with larger apical angle; sides of head parallel, occiput somewhat concave; femur somewhat incrassate, concave ventrally; petiole strongly narrowed anteriorly, with large, ventrally directed tooth. Most of ant with distinct, dense, small punctures, including mandibles, scapes, head, dorsum of mesosoma, petiole and gaster.

Measurements: HL 0.83-0.86, HW 0.70-0.74, SL 0.39-0.40, WL 1.18-1.24, PW 0.39-0.40, PL 0.44-0.48, SI 45-48, CI 83-86, PI 113-123.

Type Material

New Mexico, Dona Ana Co.: Jornada LTER [National Science Foundation Long Term Ecologicial Research] site, 45 Km NE Las Cruces, 1.6 Km W of College Ranch Headquarters, about 150 m south of Jornado Playa; 17 July 1985, D. Lightfoot and S. Van Vactor collectors. Holotype (MCZ) and 38 Paratypes (AMNH, BMNH, CACS, CWEM, EMAU, FMNH, FSCA, IMLA, INPA, LACM, MACN, MCSN, MCZ, MIZA, MZSP, UAIC, UNAM, USNM).


Morphology. The name is a reference to the densely punctate scapes.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Cover S. P., and R. A. Johnson. 20011. Checklist of Arizona Ants. Downloaded on January 7th at
  • Esteves F. A., C. R. F. Brandao, and L. P. Prado. 2011. The type specimens of Dorylomorph ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae: Aenictinae, Ecitoninae, Cerapachyinae, Leptanilloidinae) deposited in the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Papeis Avulsos de Zoologia 51(22): 341-397.
  • Johnson R. Personnal Database. Accessed on February 5th 2014 at
  • MacKay W. P. 1996. A revision of the ant genus Acanthostichus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 27: 129-179
  • Mackay W. P., and E. E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.