Aenictus arabicus

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Aenictus arabicus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Aenictus
Species: A. arabicus
Binomial name
Aenictus arabicus
Sharaf & Aldawood, 2012

Aenictus arabicus casent0280972 p 1 high.jpg

Aenictus arabicus casent0280972 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species, the only Aenictus known from Saudi Arabia, has been collected only once.


Sharaf & Aldawood (2012) - Aenictus arabicus is similar to Aenictus rhodiensis from Greece; and Aenictus sagei and Aenictus wroughtonii from India. All the three species are members of the wroughtonii group as defined by Jaitrong et al. (2010) and sharing the following characters: head narrow, entirely smooth and shining; occipital margin lacking collar; antennae long, 10-segmented; anterior clypeal margin convex, rounded, with 5–10 denticles; mandibles subtriangular, with masticatory margin bearing 8–12 minute teeth in addition to a large apical tooth with a sharpe apex; mesosoma narrow and elongate; subpetiolar process weakly developed or almost absent; body clear yellow to yellowish brown.

Comparing A. arabicus with A. rhodiensis, both species have a similar general morphology, notably the shape of the mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole, a similar body pilosity; also both have a peculiar subpetiolar process which is somewhat wide and blunt anteriorly and the anterior clypeal margin is equipped with six small denticles. From the more accurate description in Aktaç et al. (2004), A. arabicus can be separated readily from A. rhodiensis. The former has a small relatively long, narrow head (HL 0.60-0.72, HW 0.42-0.55, CI 70-92) and long scapes, when laid back surpassing about two-thirds of the head length (SI 77-104) while the latter has a shorter head (HL 1.23, HW 1.02) and shorter scapes, which just surpass the midpoint of the head. Aenictus arabicus has a nearly straight posterior margin of the head whereas it is weakly concave in A. rhodiensis. The funicular segments 2-8 are at least twice as long as broad in the former, while they are as long as broad in the latter. Aenictus arabicus has an entirely yellow clypeus and reddish-brown mandibular teeth while the sides of the clypeus and mandibular teeth are reddish brown in A. rhodiensis. The gaster of A. arabicus is entirely yellow, whereas in A. rhodiensis, the middle of the third gastral tergite has two longitudinal brownish lines which diverge forward, sometimes reducing to small points. Aenictus dlusskyi, known only from the type series from Armenia, also resembles A. arabicus but is of a similar size to rhodiensis (Aktaç et al. 2004).

Comparing A. arabicus with the Asian species A. sagei (CASENT0281958) and A. wroughtonii (lectotype images are given in Jaitrong et al. 2010: 35), A. arabicus has the anterior clypeal margin bearing six small denticles; A. sagei has 9-10 denticles; whereas A. wroughtonii has 8-10 denticles. In addition, A. arabicus has the subpetiolar process well developed, triangular, with convex ventral margin and blunt anteriorly and body pilosity fewer and shorter; A. sagei has a weakly developed subpetiolar process, with its ventral outline nearly straight; its anteroventral corners obtusely angulate and body pilosity distinctly long and abundant (length of the longest pronotal hair 0.20–0.25 mm, Jaitrong et al. 2010); whereas A. wroughtonii has an undeveloped subpetiolar process, with its ventral outline feebly convex and without anterior angle and relatively sparse standing hairs which are shorter than in A. sagei.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Saudi Arabia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Sharaf et al. 2012. Figures 13. Type Locality.


Known only from the worker caste.

Sharaf et al. 2012. Figures 1-8.


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

  • arabicus. Aenictus arabicus Sharaf & Aldawood, in Sharaf, Aldawood & El Hawagry, 2012: 42, figs. 1-12 (w.) SAUDI ARABIA.

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



Holotype: TL 3.0, HL 0.65, HW 0.52, SL 0.50, PRW 0.35, ML 0.95, PL 0.22, PW 0.15, PPL 0.17, PPW 0.15. Indices: SI 96, CI 80.

Paratypes. TL 2.75-3.12, HL 0.60-0.72, HW 0.42-0.55, SL 0.40-0.52, PRW 0.20-0.35, ML 0.77-1.00, PL 0.22-0.27, PW 0.12-0.15, PPL 0.15-0.20, PPW 0.12-0.17. Indices: SI 77-104, CI 70-92. (n=11).

Head entirely smooth and shining. In full-face view head distinctly longer than broad, with convex sides and nearly straight posterior margin; occipital corners in lateral view rounded; anterior clypeal margin with six small denticles; masticatory margin of mandibles armed with a large apical tooth followed by five smaller subequal teeth and a relatively larger basal tooth; when laid back, antennal scapes surpassing about two thirds of head length; all funicular segments at least twice as long as broad; terminal funicular segment about 2.5 × as long as the proceeding segment; mandibles dull with longitudinal striations; whole head dorsum and antennae with stiff scattered long hairs. Mesosoma in dorsal view broader anteriorly than posteriorly; promesonotum in profile distinctly convex, bearing many pairs of hairs; metanotal groove distinct; mesopleuron faintly but distinctly imbricate; propodeum bare or in some individuals with very sparse decumbent pubescence; propodeal dorsum long, about 4× as long as declivity; propodeum in profile slightly lower than promesonotum and almost flat dorsally; propodeal junction rounded. Petiole longer than broad in dorsal view with node clearly convex in lateral view; subpetiolar process triangular with convex ventral margin and blunt anteriorly. Postpetiole distinctly smaller than petiole, its node roundly convex, and its anteroventral edge sharp and bearing many hairs; both petiole and postpetiole distinctly imbricate and equipped dorsally with several pairs of backward directed long hairs. Gaster smooth and shining with abundant pairs of hairs. Color uniformly yellow.

Type Material

The type locality is a small farm at the beginning of a narrow valley isolated between the mountains and the plain with a few native shrubs and trees at 1300 m. The farm is planted with Annona squamosa L. (Annonaceae), Prunus persica (L.), P. amigdalus (Mill.) (Rosaceae), Psidium guajava L. (Family: Myrtaceae), Zea mays ssp. mays L. (Family: Poaceae), in addition to banana, and mango. The species was found foraging on the ground under leaf litter and next to a tree of Psidium guajava L. The soil, at the time of collection was well saturated through irrigation and accumulation of organic matter.


This species is named after the type locality.


  • Sharaf, M.R., Aldawood, A.S. & El-Hawagry, M.S. 2012. First record of the ant subfamily Aenictinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) from Saudi Arabia, with the description of a new species. ZooKeys 228: 39–49 (doi: 10.3897/zookeys.228.3559)