Key to Old World Basicerotini

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online

This worker key is based on Taylor, R. W. 1990. New Asian ants of the tribe Basicerotini, with an on-line computer interactive key to the twenty-six known Indo-Australian species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae). Invertebrate Taxonomy. 4:397-425.

The known queens of Asian Eurhopalothrix species run through the key consistently with their workers. They represent Eurhopalothrix dubia, Eurhopalothrix heliscata, Eurhopalothrix jennya, Eurhopalothrix omnivaga and Eurhopalothrix procera.


  • Mandibles linear, their insertions remote, so that the masticatory borders cross or engage only near their apices (genus Rhopalothrix) . . . . . 2
  • Mandibles triangular, their whole serially dentate masticatory borders engaging directly at full closure (genus Eurhopalothrix) . . . . . 3


return to couplet #1

  • Specialised large hairs on cephalic dorsum numbering 16, with 8 in anterior row (supernumerary hairs may occur; Taylor 1970); hairs on disc of first gastral tergite of one size class; mesosomal dorsum with a distinct transverse metanotal impression, the propodeal dorsum a transverse tumosity behind it; propodeal teeth well developed, forming angles of about 90° in side view (E. Australia-S.E. Queensland, N.E. New South Wales) . . . . . Rhopalothrix orbis
Head of Rhopalothrix orbis worker
Profile of Rhopalothrix orbis worker
  • 18 specialised hairs on cephalic dorsum, with 10 in anterior row; hairs of first gastral tergite of 2 size classes; metanotal impression feeble; propodeal dorsum sloping back abruptly towards declivity; propodeal teeth only obtuse vestiges (N.E. New Guinea) . . . . . Rhopalothrix diadema


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  • S.E. Asian and Philippines species found to the west of New Guinea . . . . . 4


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  • Sides of mesosoma behind pronotum smooth and shining, essentially unsculptured (widespread in Indo-Pacific area) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix procera
Head of Eurhopalothrix procera worker
Profile of Eurhopalothrix procera worker
  • Sides of mesosoma behind pronotum dull, distinctly sculptured, usually with large shallow pit-like 'thimble punctures' separated by about 0.5-1 x their average diameter; alternatively (in 1 Philippines species) these surfaces are densely and moderately coarsely punctate-shagreened . . . . . 5


return to couplet #4

  • Punctures of frons and most dorsal body surfaces each filled by a flat-surfaced, feather-edged, metallic silvery hair; this exceptional ground pilosity often largely contiguous, especially on the frons; eyes relatively large, with about 16-20 facets, maximum diameter close to that of a funicular club (E. platisquama group) . . . . . 6
  • Hairs of ground pilosity not as above, usually very reduced, sparse, or both, never squamous or silvery-metallic; eyes either absent or much smaller, usually with fewer than 10 facets . . . . . 8


return to couplet #5

  • Four erect, narrowly clavate hairs, separated by about their average length, clustered in a square array on the frons, at the midline near the occipital border. (Other similar hairs may be present elsewhere on the head) . . . . . 7
  • A single pair of laterally adjacent hairs in the position described, with another hair close to the occipital border on each side, about midway between the median pair and the posterior occipital angle (Sarawak) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix seguensis


return to couplet #6

  • Frons with a single erect hair on each side about mid-way between the posteromedian cluster and the ipsilateral eye (Sabah) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix dubia
Head of Eurhopalothrix dubia worker
Profile of Eurhopalothrix dubia worker
  • Frons lacking erect hairs apart from those of the posteromedian cluster (W. Malaysia, Sumatra) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix platisquama
Profile of Eurhopalothrix platisquama worker


return to couplet #5

  • Frons with 6 or more erect, clavate, or ornately specialised large hairs . . . . . 9
  • Frons with only a single pair of large erect, simple, clavate hairs, situated on its posteromedian sector . . . . . 10


return to couplet #8

  • Enlarged hairs of frons globular, prominent and strikingly creamy-white; 16 in number in 3 transverse rows; the anterior, transocular, row with 8 hairs, the others each with 4; ground pilosity of first gastral tergite prominent, its hairs virtual miniature versions of the enlarged globular hairs which accompany them (Sarawak, Sabah, Sumatra) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix coronata
Profile of Eurhopalothrix coronata worker
  • Enlarged cephalic hairs erect, slender, only slightly clavate and relatively inconspicuous, golden-brown in colour; 6 in number, 4 apparently the remnants of a transocular row, and 2 behind them placed near the median occipital border. Ground pilosity of gaster fine and inconspicuous (Sarawak) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix jennya
Head of Eurhopalothrix jennya worker
Profile of Eurhopalothrix jennya worker


return to couplet #8

  • Posterior occipital angles obsolete, occipital border broadly arched between the lateral occipital angles, which form the lateral extremities of the cranium (Philippines) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix philippina
Profile of Eurhopalothrix philippina worker
  • Posterior occipital angles well developed, though sometimes very obtuse, the occipital border between them broadly concave . . . . . 11


return to couplet #10

  • Larger species (HW across lateral occipital angles> 1.0 mm) (E. heliscata group) . . . . . 12


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  • Petiolar node in dorsal view distinctly longer than broad; a relatively coarsely sculptured species with prominent ground pilosity on frons, promesonotal dorsum, petiole and postpetiole; pro- and mesonotal sections of promesonotum separated by a more-or-less distinct transverse trough (W. Malaysia) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix heliscata
Profile of Eurhopalothrix heliscata worker
  • Petiolar node in dorsal view approximately square, its length and breadth subequal; overall less heavily sculptured, with scattered, diffuse, sparse ground pilosity of small fine hairs, not concentrated as described above (Luzon, Philippines) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix chapmani
Profile of Eurhopalothrix chapmani worker


return to couplet #11

  • Outer borders of mandibles distinctly concave, basal borders oblique, framing a n arrowly transverse triangular gap against the anterior clypeal border when the jaws are closed; larger species (HW>0.63 mm) (widespread: Perak to Sumatra, Sarawak, Sabah and Sulawesi) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix omnivaga
Profile of Eurhopalothrix omnivaga worker
  • Outer borders of mandibles more-or-less evenly convex; posterior borders closing tightly against clypeus, without an intervening gap; smaller species (HW < 0.59 mm) (northern Borneo) . . . . . 14


return to couplet #13


return to couplet #3

  • Mandibles with a broad, low basal tooth, approximately twice as wide at base as the succeeding teeth; erect clavate hairs (except those on gastral apex) restricted to a single pair on verticocciput; HW 0.72-0.89 mm . . . . . 16
  • Mandibular teeth conical, subsequal in size throughout; erect clavate hairs usually not distributed as above; size frequently different . . . . . 17


return to couplet #15

  • Propodeal teeth well developed, supporting broad infra-dental lamellae, a triangular area of propodeal dorsum anterior to their bases distinctly concave and more-or-less clearly set off from the remaining dorsum; colour medium-dark reddish brown (Solomon Is., Ysabel and Vella Lavella) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix isabellae
Profile of Eurhopalothrix isabellae worker
  • Propodeal teeth vestigial, surmounting very narrow infra-dental lamellae; propodeal dorsum almost entirely convex, with at most only slight traces of a posteromedian concavity; colour bright golden chestnut-brown (Manus Island) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix cinnamea
Profile of Eurhopalothrix cinnamea worker


return to couplet #15


return to couplet #17

  • Posterior third of head covered thickly with conspicuous, white, orbicular squamiform hairs (including the specialised hairs, which are only weakly differentiated in this species); pilosity of anterior two-thirds of head abruptly reduced to fine, minute vestiges, this area appearing naked by contrast (N.E. New Guinea) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix biroi
Head of Eurhopalothrix biroi worker
Profile of Eurhopalothrix biroi worker
  • Pilosity of head otherwise; either reduced throughout or without an abrupt difference between anterior and posterior sections; specialised larger hairs, when present on dorsum of head, strongly differentiated and more-or-less clavate . . . . . 19


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Profile of Eurhopalothrix punctata worker
  • Specialised erect hairs of head, when complement is complete, numbering 16-18, arranged in 3 transverse rows . . . . . 20


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  • Larger species (WL>0.65 mm); dorsal face of propodeum with an angular impression or ‘step’ at its midlength (New Caledonia) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix caledonica
Profile of Eurhopalothrix caledonica worker
  • Smaller species (WL < 0.65 mm); dorsal face of propodeum forming an evenly concave slope . . . . . 21


return to couplet #20

  • Very small species (WL<0'52 mm); clypeus divided by a transversely arched carina; head with 16 large erect hairs, with 8 in the anterior row (New Guinea, New Britain, Guadalcanal) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix brevicornis
Profile of Eurhopalothrix brevicornis worker
  • Slightly larger species (WL>0'52 mm); head with 18 or more large erect hairs, with 10 in the anterior row (apparently anomalous specimens have been reported with 11 or 12 hairs in the anterior row; Taylor 1970) (eastern Queensland and New South Wales, S. at least to lat. 30°) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix australis
Profile of Eurhopalothrix australis worker


return to couplet #17

  • Mandibles broadly triangular, their posterior borders closing directly against the clypeal border, outer borders usually convex, feebly concave in 1 species . . . . . 23
  • Mandibles narrowed, posterior borders oblique, so that a large semicircular space is left between them and the anterior clypeal border at full closure, outer borders distinctly concave (N. New Guinea) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix szentivanyi
Profile of Eurhopalothrix szentivanyi worker


return to couplet #22

  • Posterior angles of occipital lobes in full-face view very distinctly acute; head, mesosoma and nodes coarsely rugose; posterior sides of mesosoma covered with coarse diagonal costation; first gastral tergite, except for a narrow median strip, uniformly covered with conspicuous, subreclinate, squamiform hairs (larger hairs differentiated in queens, but not in workers); HW> 1.33 mm (Fiji Is) . . . . . 24
  • Posterior occipital angles slightly obtuse or at most very feebly acute; body variously sculptured, but never so extensively rugose; posterior sides of mesosoma nearly smooth, at most feebly punctate or shagreened, and usually more-or-less shining; first gastral tergite with ground pilosity minute, sparsely and unevenly distributed, or obsolete, 1 or more pairs of erect clavate hairs often present on its disc; HW only rarely exceeding 1.30 mm . . . . . 25


return to couplet #23

  • Frons rugose, the individual rugae more-or-less straight, transverse posteriorly, and longitudinal above the eyes, but diverging on each side posteriorly, to form a triangular figure around the centre of the head; a strong transverse series of rugae on and behind the nuchal collar . . . . . Eurhopalothrix emeryi
Head of Eurhopalothrix emeryi worker
Profile of Eurhopalothrix emeryi worker
  • Frons coarsely rugo-reticulate; virtually no straight rugae either on head or nuchal collar; the frontal rugae so dense and strong that the spaces between them are pit-like . . . . . Eurhopalothrix insidiatrix
Profile of Eurhopalothrix insidiatrix worker


return to couplet #23

  • CI of holotype 102; specialised erect hairs lacking except on the leading edges of scapes and at gastral apex; mesosomal profile a more-or-less evenly convex arc . . . . . Eurhopalothrix hoplites
  • CI 106-114; a pair of erect specialised hairs at least on the verticocciput and pronotum; mesosomal profile biconvex . . . . . 26


return to couplet #25

  • Ventral profile of petiole finely serrate; first gastral tergite with up to 8 erect clavate hairs arranged in 2 longitudinal rows; head and promesonotum with similarly intense sculpturing (widespread, ranging from Asia to Samoa and N. Queensland) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix procera
Head of Eurhopalothrix procera worker
Profile of Eurhopalothrix procera worker
  • Ventral profile of petiole without serrations; first gastral tergite without erect clavate hairs; head smooth, with scattered medium punctures, contrasting strongly with the coarsely rugo-reticulate promesonotum (Guadalcanal, Solomon Is) . . . . . Eurhopalothrix greensladei