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Emeryopone buttelreepeni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Ponera genus group
Genus: Emeryopone
Forel, 1912
Type species
Emeryopone buttelreepeni
5 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Emeryopone buttelreepeni, worker, side,I GA1439.jpg

Emeryopone buttelreepeni

Emeryopone buttelreepeni, worker, top,I GA1450.jpg

Specimen Label

A small genus that ranges from Israel to Indonesia. Almost nothing is known about its habits, but its unusual mandibles suggest a specialized diet.


Varghese (2006) - Small to medium size, mandibles long with 5-6 tooth, apical tooth unusually long, and broadly curved. Antennae 12 segmented with 3 segmented club. Eyes formed from one to ten ommatidia. Frontal lobes present. Alitrunk with well developed sutures. Petiole squamose with a well formed subpetiolar process. Hind tibia with a single pectinate spur. Body generally sculptured.

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Emeryopone workers are easily separated from most other ponerines by their long curved mandibles, which have five long teeth, the apical tooth greatly attenuated. The only genus with similar mandibles is Belonopelta, and to a much lesser extent Thaumatomyrmex. Emeryopone and Belonopelta can be separated by their frontal lobes (which are medium sized and separated anteriorly by a posterior extension of the clypeus in Emeryopone, and very small and closely approximated in Belonopelta) and body sculpturing and pilosity (foveolate with abundant short pilosity and variable pubescence in Emeryopone, and pruinose without upright pilosity in Belonopelta). Thaumatomyrmex has much longer mandibular teeth than Emeryopone, much more widely spaced frontal lobes, and larger eyes, among other differences.

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Emeryopone has an unusual distribution, with collections known from Israel, India, Nepal, southern China, Indonesia, and Malaysia (Baroni Urbani, 1975; Xu, 1998; Varghese, 2006; pers. obs.). Collections are rare and probably underestimate the true range of Emeryopone (Baroni Urbani, 1975).

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Basically nothing definite is known about the habits of Emeryopone. Based on their morphological characteristics and on collection data they are almost certainly cryptobiotic, and the rarity with which they are collected (Baroni Urbani, 1975; Xu, 1998; Varghese, 2006) suggests a low population density, though this may be an artifact of inadequate collection methods, as apparently has been the case with Thaumatomyrmex (see under that genus). The extremely similar mandibular structure of Emeryopone and Belonopelta suggests a similar diet preference, and though the feeding habits of Emeryopone have not been reported, some Belonopelta feed to a large degree on diplurans. Emeryopone may have a similar diet specialization. The downcurved gaster of Emeryopone implies that it hunts in tight spaces.

Hosoishi et al. (2015) collected workers of Emeryopone sp. by Winkler extraction in a dry forest in Phnom Bokor National Park, Kampot Province, Cambodia.



Worker Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 12 • Antennal club gradual • Palp formula 3,3 • Spur formula 1 simple, 1 pectinate • Sting present

Male Morphology

 • Caste unknown


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

  • EMERYOPONE [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Emeryopone Forel, 1912m: 761. Type-species: Emeryopone buttelreepeni, by monotypy.
    • [Emeryopone also described as new by Forel, 1913k: 14.]
    • Emeryopone junior synonym of Belonopelta: Baroni Urbani 1975b: 296; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990: 10.
    • Emeryopone revived status as genus: Brown, in Bolton, 1994: 164; Bolton, 1995b: 187.

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


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014):


Small (TL 3.2–4.9 mm) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles long, narrow, with five teeth, the apical tooth greatly attenuated. Mandibles without a basal groove. Anterior clypeal margin convexly triangular. Frontal lobes small to moderate in size. Eyes small to very small, located far anterior of head midline. Metanotal groove absent or a vestigial suture. Propodeum broad dorsally. Propodeal spiracles round. Metatibial spur formula (1p). Petiole nodiform, the node rounded and wider than long. Subpetiolar process usually with a small lateral fovea near the anterior end. Gaster with a moderate girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4. Tergite of A4 moderately arched, the gaster mildly recurved. Head and body foveolate, with very light striations on the sides of the mesosoma and with abundant short pilosity and abundant to absent pubescence. Color ferruginous to black.


Described only for Emeryopone melaina: Similar to worker but slightly larger and alate, with three ocelli, larger eyes, and the modifications of the thoracic sclerites typical for winged ponerine queens (Xu, 1998).


  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1975b. Contributo alla conoscenza dei generi Belonopelta Mayr e Leiopelta gen. n. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 48: 295-310 (page 296, Emeryopone junior synonym of Belonopelta; page 298, Key to species)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 164, Emeryopone as genus)
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 187, Emeryopone as genus)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 162, Emeryopone as genus in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Forel, A. 1912n. Descriptions provisoires de genres, sous-genres, et espèces de Formicides des Indes orientales. Rev. Suisse Zool. 20: 761-774 (page 761, Emeryopone as genus)
  • Forel, A. 1913l. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse einer Forschungsreise nach Ostindien ausgeführt im Auftrage der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin von H. v. Buttel-Reepen. II. Ameisen aus Sumatra, Java, Malacca und Ceylon. Gesammelt von Her (page 14, Emeryopone also described as new)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 238, Emeryopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 10, Emeryopone junior synonym of Belonopelta)
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1).
  • Varghese, T. 2006b. Description of a new species of the ponerine ant genus Emeryopone from Karnataka, India. Biospectra 1: 98-92.