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Temporal range: 20.43–0 Ma Early Miocene – Recent
Discothyrea testacea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Proceratiinae
Tribe: Proceratiini
Genus: Discothyrea
Roger, 1863
Type species
Discothyrea testacea
49 species
2 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Discothyrea testacea casent0103847 profile 1.jpg

Discothyrea testacea

Discothyrea testacea casent0103847 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Discothyrea are all small, relatively cryptic ants with small colonies (10-20 workers) which are generally found in rotten wood, leaf litter, or under stones (Brown, 1958a; Bolton, 1973a). Brown (1958a) first mentioned the possibility that they could be specialised predators of arthropod eggs since the closely related genus Proceratium shows such a trophic specialisation, and was able to find evidence for his theory on the basis of observations of an Australian Discothyrea species (Brown, 1958b). Most studied species prefer spider eggs, although one species was found in the nests of other ants (Brown, 1980). Queens of one African species found their nests within spider egg sacs, which provide both food and lodging for the first generation of workers (Dejean and Dejean 1998).

At a Glance • Ergatoid queen  


Photo Gallery

  • Single worker of Discothyrea sauteri collected from Yeosu, Korea. Photo by Minsoo Dong.


Bharti et al. (2015) - This distinctive genus can be easily recognized with large terminal antennal segment, reduced frontal lobes, short antennal scapes, and strongly arched 2nd gastral segment. However, the genus may be confused with the closely related Proceratium from which it is differentiated by the single tooth at the tip of the mandibles, the overhanging anterior margin of the clypeus, and the configuration of the antennae [Sarnat, Economo, 2012].

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Fossils are known from: Dominican amber, Dominican Republic (Burdigalian, Early Miocene), Mexican amber, Chiapas, Mexico (Middle Miocene).



Brown (1958: p.251) described ergatoid queens in some species.



Species Uncertain

  • n = 15, 2n = 30 (Indonesia) (Imai et al., 1985; Mariano et al., 2015) (near D. bryanti).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

Explore Data: All, Drilldown
Click here to show/hide karyotype data.
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Discothyrea 15 30 Indonesia Imai et al., 1985; Mariano et al., 2015 near ''D. bryanti''


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

  • DISCOTHYREA [Proceratiinae: Proceratiini]
    • Discothyrea Roger, 1863a: 176. Type-species: Discothyrea testacea, by monotypy.
    • Discothyrea senior synonym of Prodiscothyrea, Pseudosysphincta: Brown, 1958g: 248.
  • PRODISCOTHYREA [junior synonym of Discothyrea]
    • Prodiscothyrea Wheeler, W.M. 1916i: 33. Type-species: Prodiscothyrea velutina, by monotypy.
    • Prodiscothyrea junior synonym of Discothyrea: Brown, 1958g: 248.
  • PSEUDOSYSPHINCTA [junior synonym of Discothyrea]
    • Pseudosysphincta Arnold, 1916: 161. Type-species: Pseudosysphincta poweri, by original designation.
    • Pseudosysphincta junior synonym of Discothyrea: Brown, 1958g: 248.
  • [Pseudosphincta Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 645, incorrect subsequent spelling.]


  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 382, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 164, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 179, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958j ("1957"). Predation of arthropod eggs by the ant genera Proceratium and Discothyrea. Psyche (Cambridge) 64:115. [1958-08-14]
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958g. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 118: 173-362 (page 248, Discothyrea senior synonym of Prodiscothyrea and Pseudosyphincta; and revision of genus; Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Chapman, J. W.; Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327 (page 76, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 18, Discothyrea in Ponerinae)
  • 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 78, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1943g. A list of the type-species of the genera and subgenera of the Formicidae. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(10): 617-688 (page 640, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 765, Discothyrea in Dorylinae, Proceratiini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 236, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Hita-Garcia, F., Lieberman, Z., Audisio, T.L., Liu, C., Economo, E.P. 2019. Revision of the highly specialized ant genus Discothyrea (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Afrotropics with x-ray microtomography and 3D cybertaxonomy. Insect Systematics and Diversity 3(6): 5; 1–84 (doi:10.1093/isd/ixz015).
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 10, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Jaffe, K. 1993. El mundo de las hormigas. Baruta, Venezuela: Equinoccio (Ediciones de la Universidad Simón Bolívar), 188 pp. (page 8, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 97, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Kusnezov, N. 1964 [1963]. Zoogeografía de las hormigas en Sudamérica. Acta Zool. Lilloana 19: 25-186 (page 51, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Lattke, J. E. 1994. Phylogenetic relationships and classification of ectatommine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomol. Scand. 25: 105-119 (page 112, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Mariano, C.S.F., Santos, I.S., Silva, J.G., Costa, M.A., Pompolo, S.G. 2015. Citogenética e evolução do cariótipo em formigas poneromorfas. In: Delabie, J.H.C., Feitosa, R.M., Serrao, J.E., Mariano, C.S.F., Majer, J.D. (eds) As formigas poneromorfas do Brasil, 1st edn. Ilhéus, Brasil, pp 102–125 (doi:10.7476/9788574554419.0010).
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 13, Discothyrea in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Roger, J. 1863a. Die neu aufgeführten Gattungen und Arten meines Formiciden-Verzeichnisses nebst Ergänzung einiger früher gegebenen Beschreibungen. Berl. Entomol. Z. 7: 131-214 (page 176, Discothyrea as genus)
  • Smith, D. R. 1979. Superfamily Formicoidea. Pp. 1323-1467 in: Krombein, K. V., Hurd, P. D., Smith, D. R., Burks, B. D. (eds.) Catalog of Hymenoptera in America north of Mexico. Volume 2. Apocrita (Aculeata). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Pr (page 1339, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Ectatommini)
  • Weber, N. A. 1939a. New ants of rare genera and a new genus of ponerine ants. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 32: 91-104 (page 99, Key to Neotropical species)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1985b. A simplified conspectus of the Formicidae. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 111: 255-264 (page 256, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 136, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)
  • 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 645, Discothyrea in Ponerinae, Proceratiini)