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


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 18.883891° to -23.5333°.

Tropical South

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

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


Explore-icon.png Explore Overview of Gnamptogenys biology 
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 Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • mordax. Ponera mordax Smith, F. 1858b: 98 (w.q.) BRAZIL (Rio de Janeiro).
    • Type-material: 3 syntype workers, 1 syntype queen.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Rio (= Rio de Janeiro), “57/63” (H. Clark).
    • Type-depository: BMNH.
    • Borgmeier, 1937b: 220 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1952a: 134 (l.).
    • Combination in Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys): Emery, 1894c: 145;
    • combination in Gnamptogenys: Mann, 1922: 3; Brown, 1958g: 228, 319; Camacho, Franco, Branstetter, et al. 2022: 11.
    • Status as species: Mayr, 1863: 449; Mayr, 1886c: 358; Dalla Torre, 1893: 40; Emery, 1894c: 145; Forel, 1895b: 116, 140; Emery, 1896g: 49; Forel, 1899c: 9; Emery, 1906c: 113; Forel, 1908c: 340; Emery, 1911d: 45; Bruch, 1914: 213; Wheeler, W.M. 1916c: 2; Gallardo, 1918b: 43; Luederwaldt, 1918: 34; Mann, 1922: 3; Borgmeier, 1923: 60; Eidmann, 1936a: 33; Borgmeier, 1937b: 219; Brown, 1958g: 228, 319; Kempf, 1972a: 113; Kempf & Lenko, 1976: 51; Lattke, 1990b: 16; Bolton, 1995b: 209; Lattke, 1995: 176; Lattke, et al. 2004: 347; Lattke, et al. 2007: 260 (in key); Lattke, et al. 2008: 94; Feitosa, 2015c: 98; Guénard & Economo, 2015: 226; Feitosa & Prada-Achiardi, 2019: 672; Camacho, et al. 2020: 458 (in key); Marcineiro & Lattke, 2020: 4 (in key); Camacho, Franco, Branstetter, et al. 2022: 11.
    • Synonym of nodosa (nomen oblitum): Brown, 1958g: 228, 320; Kempf, 1972a: 113; Bolton, 1995b: 209; Lattke, 1995: 176.
    • Senior synonym of purensis: Brown, 1958g: 228, 320; Kempf, 1972a: 113; Bolton, 1995b: 209; Lattke, 1995: 176.
    • Senior synonym of sebastiani: Brown, 1958g: 228, 320; Kempf, 1972a: 113; Bolton, 1995b: 209; Lattke, 1995: 176.
    • Distribution: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad, Venezuela.
  • purensis. Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys) mordax var. purensis Forel, 1912c: 33 (w.) BRAZIL (Rio Grande do Sul).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, upper Purus (Huber).
    • Type-depositories: MHNG, NHMB.
    • Subspecies of mordax: Borgmeier, 1923: 61.
    • Junior synonym of mordax: Brown, 1958g: 228; Kempf, 1972a: 113; Bolton, 1995b: 210; Lattke, 1995: 176.
  • sebastiani. Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys) mordax subsp. sebastiani Borgmeier, 1937b: 220 (w.) BRAZIL (Goiás).
    • Type-material: 9 syntype workers.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Goyaz (= Goiás), Campinas, 6.v.1933 (S. Schwarzmaier).
    • Type-depository: IBVR (perhaps also in MZSP).
    • Junior synonym of mordax: Brown, 1958g: 228; Kempf, 1972a: 113; Bolton, 1995b: 210; Lattke, 1995: 176.

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.”



References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

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  • Borgmeier T. 1923. Catalogo systematico e synonymico das formigas do Brasil. 1 parte. Subfam. Dorylinae, Cerapachyinae, Ponerinae, Dolichoderinae. Archivos do Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro) 24: 33-103.
  • Bruch C. 1914. Catálogo sistemático de los formícidos argentinos. Revista del Museo de La Plata 19: 211-234.
  • Cuezzo, F. 1998. Formicidae. Chapter 42 in Morrone J.J., and S. Coscaron (dirs) Biodiversidad de artropodos argentinos: una perspectiva biotaxonomica Ediciones Sur, La Plata. Pages 452-462.
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  • Emery C. 1906. Studi sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. XXVI. Bullettino della Società Entomologica Italiana 37: 107-194.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Fernández F., and T. M. Arias-Penna. 2008. Las hormigas cazadoras en la región Neotropical. Pp. 3-39 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano, F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Forel A. 1908. Ameisen aus Sao Paulo (Brasilien), Paraguay etc. gesammelt von Prof. Herm. v. Ihering, Dr. Lutz, Dr. Fiebrig, etc. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 58: 340-418.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Gallardo A. 1918. Las hormigas de la República Argentina. Subfamilia Ponerinas. Anales del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Buenos Aires 30: 1-112.
  • Groc S., J. H. C. Delabie, F. Fernandez, M. Leponce, J. Orivel, R. Silvestre, Heraldo L. Vasconcelos, and A. Dejean. 2013. Leaf-litter ant communities (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a pristine Guianese rainforest: stable functional structure versus high species turnover. Myrmecological News 19: 43-51.
  • INBio Collection (via Gbif)
  • Kempf W. W. 1978. A preliminary zoogeographical analysis of a regional ant fauna in Latin America. 114. Studia Entomologica 20: 43-62.
  • Kempf W. W., and K. Lenko. 1976. Levantamento da formicifauna no litoral norte e ilhas adjacentes do Estado de São Paulo, Brasil. I. Subfamilias Dorylinae, Ponerinae e Pseudomyrmecinae (Hym., Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 19: 45-66.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Kusnezov N. 1978. Hormigas argentinas: clave para su identificación. Miscelánea. Instituto Miguel Lillo 61:1-147 + 28 pl.
  • Lattke J. E. 1995. Revision of the ant genus Gnamptogenys in the New World (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 4: 137-193
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  • Vittar, F. 2008. Hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de la Mesopotamia Argentina. INSUGEO Miscelania 17(2):447-466
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