AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Solenopsidini
Genus: Chelaner
Emery, 1914
Type species
Monomorium forcipatum, now Chelaner forcipatus
53 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Monomorium forcipatum casent0904568 p 1 high.jpg

Monomorium forcipatum casent0904568 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Small to medium ants 2–7 mm in length, commonly monomorphic but with size variation in some species. Clypeus bicarinate with a median clypeal seta, carinae subparallel, converging or diverging, frontal margin overhanging mandibles, with or without a pair of clypeal teeth, clypeal margin may be rounded or deeply concave. Antennae 12-segmented or 10-segmented (Chelaner decuria) with a 3-segmented club. Palpal formula 2,3 or 2,2, mandibular tooth count 3–7. Eyes well developed, small to large, circular or oval.

Promesonotal suture not extending on to dorsal surface, rarely complete dorsally. Metanotal groove moderately to deeply impressed or very shallow. Propodeum rounded to slightly concave on the dorsal and posterior surfaces, which may be distinctly carinate or with barely raised, rounded ridges, propodeum less commonly dentate (variably so in Chelaner insolescens) or spinose (Chelaner sculpturatus and Chelaner sublamellatus). Metapleural gland and lobes well developed.

Petiole pedunculate, node large, quadrate and parallel-sided or more triangular with a rounded apex. Post-petiole node present, high and rounded with distinct anterior and posterior surfaces or, less commonly, low with a gently sloping anterior surface (Chelaner crinitus, Chelaner kiliani, Chelaner petiolatus, Chelaner tambourinensis).

Colour ranges from pale yellow to dark amber, red and black. Sculpture highly variable from smooth and glossy to punctures restricted to mesopleuron, to head, mesosoma and waist entirely punctate, reticulate or striate.

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Keys including this Genus



Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 0 52 2 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2839 1735 3036 932 834 4378 1708 2836


Association with Other Organisms

All Associate Records for Genus

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Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Chelaner antarcticus host helosciomyzid fly Heliosciomyza subalpina parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 encounter mode independent; direct transmission; transmission outside nest



Species Uncertain

  • Chelaner sp. ANIC-1: 2n = 32 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).
  • Chelaner sp. ANIC-2: 2n = 22 (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Chelaner 22 Australia Imai et al., 1977
Chelaner 32 Australia Imai et al., 1977
Chelaner whitei 24 Australia Imai et al., 1977


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

  • CHELANER [Myrmicinae: Solenopsidini]
    • Chelaner Emery, 1914f: 410 [as subgenus of Monomorium]. Type-species: Monomorium (Chelaner) forcipatum, by subsequent designation of Emery, 1922e: 168.

Taxonomic History

  • Chelaner in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini: Forel, 1917: 242 [subtribe Monomoriini]; Emery, 1922e: 168; in Monomorium genus group: Ettershank, 1966: 81; in Monomoriini: Dlussky & Fedoseeva, 1988: 80.
  • Chelaner as subgenus of Monomorium: Emery, 1914f: 410; Emery, 1915i: 190; Forel, 1917: 242; Emery, 1922e: 168; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 676.
  • Chelaner senior synonym of Notomyrmex, Protholcomyrmex, Schizopelta: Ettershank, 1966: 93.
  • Chelaner (and its junior synonyms Notomyrmex, Protholcomyrmex, Schizopelta) as junior synonym of Monomorium: Bolton, 1987: 300; Heterick, 2001: 354.
  • Chelaner as genus: Ettershank, 1966: 93; Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 55; Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1985: 257; Dlussky & Fedoseeva, 1988: 80 (anachronism); Sparks et al., 2019: 232.

Taxonomic Notes

Sparks et al. (2019): Ettershank (1966) refers to the propodeal spiracle opening into a vestibule as a character that separates species of Chelaner from Monomorium. The first author has examined a large number of Chelaner species and, although the propodeal spiracle is obviously vestibulate for several species, it is not evident for many of them. This is largely due to them having a very dark or heavily sclerotised cuticle that obscures anything below the surface. Similarly, for those species that remain in Monomorium, none were observed to have a vestibulate spiracle, but it is often difficult to see through the cuticle to determine whether it is vestibulate or not. Bolton (1987) reviewed the characters Ettershank (1966) had used to raise Chelaner to genus level, referring to the palpal formula and vestibulate nature of the spiracle as the only diagnostic characters separating Chelaner from Monomorium, while all the others occurred in both genera (these included the number of antennal segments, the structure of the clypeus and the pedunculate petiole). Further evidence that this character is not particularly useful is Ettershank’s (1966) observation that Monomorium rothsteini, a species that clearly belongs to the Monomorium clade, has a vestibulate propodeal spiracle.

Although the molecular data presented above support two distinct clades, the morphological diagnoses for these two genera remain problematic in that some specimens are difficult to identify, and a more thorough examination of their morphology that scrutinises additional characters will be required in future. In this respect, male genitalia and structure of the sting apparatus (see Kugler 1978) are likely character systems worth exploring.


  • Bolton, B. 1987. A review of the Solenopsis genus-group and revision of Afrotropical Monomorium Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 54: 263-452 (page 300, Chelaner (and its junior synonyms Notomyrmex, Protholcomyrmex, Schizopelta) as junior synonym of Monomorium)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 212, Chelaner (and its junior synonyms Notomyrmex, Protholcomyrmex, Schizopelta) as junior synonym of Monomorium)
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Fedoseeva, E. B. 1988. Origin and early stages of evolution in ants. Pp. 70-144 in: Ponomarenko, A. G. (ed.) Cretaceous biocenotic crisis and insect evolution. Moskva: Nauka, 232 pp. (page 80, Chelaner in Myrmicinae, Monomoriini; Chelaner as genus (anachronism))
  • Emery, C. 1914f. Les fourmis de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et des îles Loyalty. Nova Caled. A Zool. 1: 393-437 (page 410, Chelaner as subgenus of Monomorium)
  • Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 168, Chelaner in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini; as subgenus of Monomorium; Type-species Monomorium (Chelaner) forcipatum; by subsequent designation)
  • Ettershank, G. 1966. A generic revision of the world Myrmicinae related to Solenopsis and Pheidologeton (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Aust. J. Zool. 14: 73-171 (page 81, 93, Chelaner in Myrmicinae, Monomorium genus group; Chelaner as genus)
  • Ettershank, G. 1966. A generic revision of the world Myrmicinae related to Solenopsis and Pheidologeton (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Aust. J. Zool. 14: 73-171 (page 93, Chelaner senior synonym of Notomyrmex, Protholcomyrmex, Schizopelta)
  • Fernandez, F., Guerrero, R.J., Sánchez-Restrepo, A.F. 2021. Sistemática y diversidad de las hormigas neotropicales. Revista Colombiana de Entomología 47, 1–20 (doi:10.25100/socolen.v47i1.11082).
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 242, Chelaner in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini [subtribe Monomoriini]; as subgenus of Monomorium)
  • Heterick, B. E. 2001. Revision of the Australian ants of the genus Monomorium (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebr. Taxon. 15: 353-459 (page 354, Chelaner (and its junior synonyms Notomyrmex, Protholcomyrmex, Schizopelta) as junior synonym of Monomorium)
  • Sparks, K.S., Andersen, A.N., Austin, A.D. 2019. A multi-gene phylogeny of Australian Monomorium Mayr (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) results in reinterpretation of the genus and resurrection of Chelaner Emery. Invertebrate Systematics 33: 225–236 (doi:10.1071/IS16080).
  • Taylor, R. W.; Brown, D. R. 1985. Formicoidea. Zool. Cat. Aust. 2:1- 149: 1-149, 30 (page 55, Chelaner as genus)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1985b. A simplified conspectus of the Formicidae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 111: 255-264 (page 257, Chelaner as genus)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 676, Chelaner as subgenus of Monomorium)