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Lepisiota capensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Lepisiota
Santschi, 1926
Type species
Plagiolepis rothneyi, now Lepisiota rothneyi
140 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Lepisiota capensis casent0146042 profile 1.jpg

Lepisiota capensis

Lepisiota capensis casent0146042 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (2 genera)

  (11 genera)

  (9 genera)

  (8 genera)

Gesomyrmex, Oecophylla


  (15 species)

  (18 species)

  (1 species)

  (1 species)

  (140 species)

  (41 species)

  (3 species)

Gigantiops, Myrmoteras, Santschiella

  (8 genera)

Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Hita Garcia, Wiesel and Fischer (2013) - The genus Lepisiota is distributed in the Old World and is of moderate size (Bolton, 2012). They nest in rotten wood, in the ground, or in standing trees, and can be considered as generalised foragers (Bolton, 1973a; Brown, 2000). They are especially abundant in less forested habitats, such as grasslands, savannahs or woodlands.

The taxonomy of this genus is in an awful condition. Forel (1892) provided a key to a few then known species but the usefulness of this key is limited since it covers only a minor fraction of the current diversity. Later, Wheeler (1922) and then Emery (1925b) published diagnoses and catalogues of the genus, although none of them attempted a full revision. No further taxonomic works have been published since then and a modern revision of Lepisiota would strongly improve the taxonomic understanding of this group.


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Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Association with Other Organisms

Species Uncertain

  • An unspecified species within this genus is a host for the eulophid wasp Pediobius marjoriae (a parasite) (Universal Chalcidoidea Database) (primary host).
  • Unknown species of Lepisiota are hosts for the diapriid wasps Adelioneiva rudebecki and Ferrieropria sp. in South Africa (www.diapriid.org).
  • An unknown species is a host for the eulophid wasp Pediobius marjorae (a parasitoid) (Quevillon, 2018) (multiple encounter modes; direct transmission; transmission outside nest).

All Associate Records for Genus

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Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Lepisiota host diapriid wasp Adelioneiva rudebecki parasite South Africa
Lepisiota host diapriid wasp Ferrieropria sp. parasite South Africa www.diapriid.org
Lepisiota host eulophid wasp Pediobius marjorae parasitoid Quevillon, 2018 multiple encounter modes; direct transmission; transmission outside nest
Lepisiota host eulophid wasp Pediobius marjoriae parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database primary host
Lepisiota capensis host cricket Myrmophilellus meneliki myrmecophile Ethiopia Reichensperger, 1913
Lepisiota capensis host encyrtid wasp Anagyrus lopezi parasite Universal Chalcidoidea Database associate
Lepisiota capensis prey syrphid fly Paramixogaster acantholepidis predator Quevillon, 2018

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: >200-300 workers (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: omnivore (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter; arboreal (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

• Antennal segment count: 11 • Antennal club: absent • Palp formula: 6,4 • Total dental count: 5-6 • Spur formula: 0,0 • Eyes: >100 ommatidia • Scrobes: absent • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: dentiform • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: monomorphic, a few species are size-variable to weakly polymorphic • Sting: absent • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present


Species Uncertain

  • Lepisiota sp.1: 2n = 18 (India) (Imai et al., 1984) (near to Lepisiota sericea).
  • Lepisiota sp.2: 2n = 18 (India) (Imai et al., 1984) (near to Lepisiota fergusoni).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

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Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Lepisiota 18 India Imai et al., 1984 near to ''Lepisiota sericea''
Lepisiota 18 India Imai et al., 1984 near to ''Lepisiota fergusoni''
Lepisiota capensis 18 India Imai et al., 1984 as ''Acantholepis lunaris''


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

  • LEPISIOTA [Formicinae: Plagiolepidini]
    • Lepisiota Santschi, 1926a: 15 [as subgenus of Acantholepis]. Type-species: Plagiolepis rothneyi, by original designation.
    • Lepisiota is first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr, 1861 [junior homonym of Acantholepis Kroyer, 1846: 98 (Pisces)], hence valid name of genus: Bolton, 1995b: 33.
    • Lepisiota senior synonym of Baroniurbania (unnecessary replacement name for Acantholepis): Bolton, 1994: 51.
    • [Lepisiota incorrectly as junior synonym of Acanthomyrmex: Brown, 1973b: 181; Snelling, R.R. 1981: 397. In both publications Acanthomyrmex is an error for Acantholepis.]
    • Subgenera of Lepisiota: nominal plus Baroniurbania: Dietrich, 2004: 324.
  • ACANTHOLEPIS [junior homonym, see Lepisiota]
    • Acantholepis Mayr, 1861: 42. Type-species: Hypoclinea frauenfeldi, by monotypy. [Junior homonym of Acantholepis Kroyer, 1846: 98 (Pisces)].
    • Lepisiota Santschi, 1926a: 15 [previously a subgenus of Acantholepis Mayr], first available replacement name for Acantholepis Mayr: Bolton, 1995b: 33.]
  • ACHANTILEPIS [unavailable name]
    • Achantilepis Santschi, 1935b: 274, incorrect subsequent spelling of Acantholepis.
  • PSEUDACANTHOLEPIS [unavailable name]
    • Pseudacantholepis Bernard, 1953b: 256, attributed to Santschi [as subgenus of Acantholepis]. Unavailable name. Proposed without designation of type-species. Species included by Bernard (1953b) are all referable to Lepisiota: Bolton, 1995b: 44.