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Echinopla melanarctos
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Echinopla
Smith, F., 1857
Type species
Echinopla melanarctos
39 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Echinopla melanarctos casent0178497 profile 1.jpg

Echinopla melanarctos

Echinopla melanarctos casent0178497 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (1 species)

  (1 species)

  (41 species)


  (117 species)

  (20 species)

  (2 species)

  (788 species)

  (1,486 species)

  (14 species)

  (39 species)

Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Zettel and Laciny (2015) - The species of Echinopla typically inhabit the canopy of tropical forests. For this reason records are scarce and often based on single or few individuals caught by chance. Recently, some material was successfully obtained by tree fogging. Echinopla is among the small genera of camponotine ants. Described species are distinguished by bizarre body structures and distributed from eastern India to Australia. Half of them (twelve species) live exclusively east of Weber’s Line (Moluccas, New Guinea, Australia) and eleven species are restricted to the area west of Weber’s Line (south-eastern Asia including north-eastern India and southern China, Nicobar Islands, Greater Sunda Islands, Philippines, and Sulawesi). A single polymorphic species, Echinopla striata is recorded from both sides in several subspecies, but it is possibly an assemblage of several similar species. Most species were described in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century by short verbal notes. One species was recently described by Bharti and Gul (2012) and eight described by Zettel and Laciny (2015).

Photo Gallery

  • Echinopla Shattuck 52814 Danum Valley Sabah-web.jpg
  • Echinopla Shattuck 52961 Danum Valley Sabah-web.jpg


Many structural characteristics are very variable among species of Echinopla, making identification simple compared to the related genera Camponotus and Polyrhachis, each containing many sibling or cryptic species. Echinopla species have been organized into five species groups, which are based on morphological characteristics (Echinopla species groups).

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Association with Other Organisms

All Associate Records for Genus

Explore Associate Data: All, Drilldown
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Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Echinopla melanarctos host fungus Ophiocordyceps unilaterialis pathogen Shrestha et al., 2017

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: ~100 (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: herbivore; omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging behaviour: cooperative (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: absent-gradual • Palp formula: 6,4 • Spur formula: 1 simple-pectinate, 1 simple-pectinate • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Scrobes: absent • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: absent • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present


Species Uncertain

  • Echinopla sp.1: n = 12, 2n = 24 (Malaysia) (Imai et al., 1983).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Echinopla 12 24 Malaysia Imai et al., 1983


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

  • ECHINOPLA [Formicinae: Camponotini]
    • Echinopla Smith, F. 1857a: 79. Type-species: Echinopla melanarctos, by subsequent designation of Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 162.
    • Echinopla senior synonym of Mesoxena: Bolton, 1994: 50.
  • MESOXENA [junior synonym of Echinopla]
    • Mesoxena Smith, F. 1860b: 106. Type-species: Mesoxena mistura, by monotypy.
    • Mesoxena junior synonym of Echinopla: Bolton, 1994: 50.