AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Temporal range: 100–98 Ma Late Albian to Early Cenomanian, Cretaceous to Early Cenomanian, Late Cretaceous
Gerontoformica cretacica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Sphecomyrminae
Tribe: Sphecomyrmini
Genus: Gerontoformica
Nel & Perrault, 2004
Type species
Gerontoformica cretacica
13 fossil species
(Species Checklist)

Sphecomyrmodes Engel & Grimaldi, 2005

Photo Gallery

  • Gerontoformica, (1).jpg
  • Gerontoformica, (2).jpg
  • Gerontoformica, (5).jpg
  • Gerontoformica, (3).jpg
  • Gerontoformica, (4).jpg
  • Chaul (2023), Fig. 2. Masticatory margin of mandible in Gerontoformica and Zigrasimecia. A, Gerontoformica sp. (ANTWEB1032629); B, Z. ferox (ANTWEB1008126); C, Z. chuyangsui (ANTWEB1032660); D, Z. tonsora (ANTWEB11008098). Black triangles indicate incision between apical and basal teeth (or basal lamella). Image of Z. tonsora by Philip Barden and image of Z. ferox by Vincent Perrichot, courtesy of
  • Chaul (2023), Fig. 3. Comparison between Gerontoformica and Zigrasimecia cephalic and mandibular morphology (see genus diagnosis above for detailed explanation). A and C, schematic drawing of full-face view of Gerontoformica and Zigrasimecia, respectively. B and D, lateral view of anterior head of Gerontoformica (ANTWEB1032649) and Zigrasimecia (ANTWEB1032623), respectively. Abbreviations: cl, clypeus; cllb, clypeal lobe; dsm, dorsal surface of mandible; fcr, frontal carina; plstf, pleurostomal fossa; tl, torulus. In D, white line indicates plane (as seen laterally) of labrum; gray line is the plane (as seen laterally) of the apical half surface of the mandible; and black line shows the strong mandible curvature.
  • Chaul (2023), Fig. 4. Ventral view of the head of Gerontoformica (A) and Zigrasimecia (B). Abbreviations: cllb, clypeal lobe; dsm, dorsal surface of mandible; lb, labrum; oc, occipital carina; pgs, postgenal suture; plstf, pleurostomal fossa.
  • Chaul (2023), Fig. 5. Types of mesosoma in fossil and extant ants. A, Gerontoformica; B, Protozigrasimecia; C, Zigrasimecia; D, Brownimecia; E, Brachyponera and F, Discothyrea. Among extant ants, Discothyrea presents a degree of mesosomal compaction similar to that of Zigrasimecia. Abbreviations: Lmspl, lower mesopleuron; Lmtpl, lower metapleuron; mgo, metapleural gland opening; Msn, mesonotum; Mspl, mesopleuron; Mssct, mesoscutum; Mssctl, mesoscutellum; Mtn, metanotum; Ppd, propodeum; Prn, pronotum; Prpl, propleuron, sp, spiracle; Umspl, upper mesopleuron; Umtpl, upper metapleuron.



This taxon is known from Burmese amber, Kachin State, Myanmar (Early Cenomanian, Late Cretaceous) and Charentese amber, Aquitaine Basin, France (Late Albian to Early Cenomanian, Cretaceous).



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

  • GERONTOFORMICA [†Sphecomyrminae: †Sphecomyrmini]]
    • Gerontoformica Nel & Perrault, in Nel, Perrault, Perrichot & Néraudeau, 2004: 24. Type-species: †Gerontoformica cretacica, by original designation.
  • Taxonomic history
    • Gerontoformica incertae sedis in Formicidae: Nel, et al. 2004: 24.
    • Gerontoformica in †Sphecomyrminae: Perrichot, 2014: 168 (in text).
    • Gerontoformica in †Sphecomyrminae, †Sphecomyrmini: Borysenko, 2017: 15
    • Gerontoformica as senior synonym of †Sphecomyrmodes: Barden & Grimaldi, 2016: 4, and in supplemental information (not paginated).
  • SPHECOMYRMODES [junior synonym of †Gerontoformica]
    • Sphecomyrmodes Engel & Grimaldi, 2005: 5. Type-species: †Sphecomyrmodes orientalis, by original designation.
  • Taxonomic history
    • Sphecomyrmodes in †Sphecomyrminae: Engel & Grimaldi, 2005: 5.
    • Sphecomyrmodes as genus: Barden & Grimaldi, 2014: 18.
    • Sphecomyrmodes as junior synonym of †Gerontoformica: Barden & Grimaldi, 2016: 4, and in supplemental information (not paginated).
    • Sphecomyrmodes references: Barden & Grimaldi, 2014: 18 (diagnosis, all species key).