Brachyponera obscurans

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Brachyponera obscurans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Brachyponera
Species: B. obscurans
Binomial name
Brachyponera obscurans
(Walker, 1859)

Pachycondyla obscurans casent0056032 profile 1.jpg

Pachycondyla obscurans casent0056032 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

A nest of B. obscurans from a secondary forest in Macau contained about 400 individuals. The nest was covered by abundant rotten wood-litter and leaf-litter in an area with very moist soil. This ant nest was adjacent to a termite colony (Macrotermes barneyi) found nesting in wood laying on the ground surface. (Leong 2017)

At a Glance • Limited invasive  


Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 30.75° to -19.01543334°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore.
Malagasy Region: Mauritius.
Oriental Region: India, Sri Lanka (type locality).
Palaearctic Region: China.

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.


  • Mean colony size: 400, n=1 (Leong, 2017)
  • Nest site: litter (Leong, 2017)



Brachyponera-obscurans hef6 3.jpgBrachyponera-obscurans hal3 2.jpgBrachyponera-obscurans had2.jpgBrachyponera-obscurans lbs.jpg
. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.


Images from AntWeb

Pachycondyla obscurans casent0059666 head 1.jpgPachycondyla obscurans casent0059666 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla obscurans casent0059666 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla obscurans casent0059666 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0059666. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


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

  • obscurans. Formica obscurans Walker, 1859: 372 (q.) SRI LANKA.
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • [Note: number of specimens as cited by Donisthorpe, 1932b: 575.]
    • Type-locality: Sri Lanka (“Ceylon”): (no further data) (F. Walker).
    • Type-depository: BMNH.
    • Combination in Tapinoma?: Motschoulsky, 1863: 14;
    • combination in Ponera: Donisthorpe, 1932b: 575;
    • combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 308;
    • combination in Brachyponera: Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, 2014: 80.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1863: 418; Smith, F. 1871a: 309; Dalla Torre, 1893: 202; Donisthorpe, 1932b: 575; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 200; Bolton, 1995b: 308; Pfeiffer, et al. 2011: 57; Guénard & Dunn, 2012: 61; Bharti, Guénard, et al. 2016: 49; Dias, R.K.S. et al. 2020: 105; Wang, W.Y., Soh, et al. 2022: 116.
    • Distribution: China, India, Malaysia (Sabah), Singapore, Sri Lanka.



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Chapman, J. W., and Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327
  • Dias R. K. S. 2002. Current knowledge on ants of Sri Lanka. ANeT Newsletter 4: 17- 21.
  • Guénard B., and R. R. Dunn. 2012. A checklist of the ants of China. Zootaxa 3558: 1-77.
  • Imai H. T., C. Baroni Urbani, M. Kubota, G. P. Sharma, M. H. Narasimhanna, B. C. Das, A. K. Sharma, A. Sharma, G. B. Deodikar, V. G. Vaidya, and M. R. Rajasekarasetty. 1984. Karyological survey of Indian ants. Japanese Journal of Genetics 59: 1-32.
  • Leong C. M., S. F. Shiao, and B. Guenard. 2017. Ants in the city, a preliminary checklist of Formicidae (Hymenoptera) in Macau, one of the most heavily urbanized regions of the world. Asian Myrmecology 9: e009014.
  • Li Z.h. 2006. List of Chinese Insects. Volume 4. Sun Yat-sen University Press
  • Pfeiffer M.; Mezger, D.; Hosoishi, S.; Bakhtiar, E. Y.; Kohout, R. J. 2011. The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list. Asian Myrmecology 4:9-58
  • Sagata, K., A.L. Mack, D.D. Wright and P.J. Lester. 2010. The influence of nest avaiability on the abundance and diversity of twig-dwelling ants in a Papua New Guinea forest. Insectes Sociaux 57:333-341
  • Tawatao N., N. E. Harper, M. Mohamed, C. V. Khen, J. B. Searle, and J. K. Hill. 2011. Impacts of forest fragmentation on the genetic diversity and population structure of Pachycondyla obscurans in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Asian Myrmecology 4:59-68.