Gnamptogenys mordax

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Gnamptogenys mordax
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ectatomminae
Tribe: Ectatommini
Genus: Gnamptogenys
Species: G. mordax
Binomial name
Gnamptogenys mordax
(Smith, F., 1858)

Gnamptogenys mordax casent0178516 profile 1.jpg

Gnamptogenys mordax casent0178516 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


A common dweller of humid forests.


A member of the mordax subgroup (in the mordax species group). Size (HW 1.08-2.08; WL 1.66-2.92 mm) and sculpture patterns of this widespread and timid species is quite variable. Mandibles subtriangular; declivitous propodeal face transversely costulate; gastric tergum II can vary from smooth to longitudinally costulate or costulate-rugose. Body very dark, brown, almost black; legs dark brown. Smaller individuals can be confused with Gnamptogenys continua. (Lattke 1995)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica (type locality), Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Not much is known about the the biology of Gnamptogenys mordax. We can speculate that the biology of this species is similar to other species of the genus. Gnamptogenys are predatory ponerine ants that inhabit tropical and subtropical mesic forests. Nesting is typically at ground level in rotten wood or leaf litter. Some exceptions include species that are arboreal, a dry forest species and species that nests in sandy savannahs. Colony size tends to be, at most, in the hundreds. Queens are the reproductives in most species. Worker reproduction is known from a few species in Southeastern Asia. Generalist predation is the primary foraging/dietary strategy. Specialization on specific groups (millipedes, beetles, other ants) has developed in a few species.



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

  • nodosa. Formica nodosa Latreille, 1802c: 217, pl. 8, fig. 48 (w.) FRENCH GUIANA. Combination in Gnamptogenys: Mayr, 1866b: 892 (in text); in Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys): Dalla Torre, 1893: 25. Subspecies of mordax: Emery, 1896g: 50. Junior synonym of mordax: Brown, 1958g: 228.
  • mordax. Ponera mordax Smith, F. 1858b: 98 (w.q.) COSTA RICA. Borgmeier, 1937b: 220 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1952a: 134 (l.). Combination in Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys): Emery, 1894c: 145; in Gnamptogenys: Mann, 1922: 3. Senior synonym of nodosa, purensis, sebastiani: Brown, 1958g: 228. See also: Lattke, 1995: 176.
  • purensis. Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys) mordax var. purensis Forel, 1912c: 33 (w.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of mordax: Brown, 1958g: 228.
  • sebastiani. Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys) mordax subsp. sebastiani Borgmeier, 1937b: 220 (w.) BRAZIL. Junior synonym of mordax: Brown, 1958g: 228.

The following notes on F. Smith type specimens have been provided by Barry Bolton (details):

Ponera mordax

Three worker syntypes and one queen syntype in The Natural History Museum. Labelled “Rio,” and “57/63.” Acc. Reg.: “1857 no. 63 (June 22). Province of Rio. Presented by Rev. Hamlet Clark.”



  • Borgmeier, T. 1937b. Formigas novas ou pouco conhecidas da América do Sul e Central, principalmente do Brasil (Hym. Formicidae). Arch. Inst. Biol. Veg. (Rio J.) 3: 217-255 (page 220, male described)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958g. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 118: 173-362 (page 228, Senior synonym of nodosa, purensis and sebastiani)
  • Emery, C. 1894d. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. VI-XVI. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 26: 137-241 (page 145, Combination in Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys))
  • Lattke, J. E. 1995. Revision of the ant genus Gnamptogenys in the New World (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Hym. Res. 4: 137-193 (page 176, see also)
  • Mann, W. M. 1922. Ants from Honduras and Guatemala. Proc. U. S. Natl. Mus. 61: 1-54 (page 3, Combination in Gnamptogenys)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 98, worker, queen described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1952a. The ant larvae of the subfamily Ponerinae - Part I. Am. Midl. Nat. 48: 111-144 (page 134, larva described)