Leptanilla charonea

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Leptanilla charonea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Leptanillinae
Tribe: Leptanillini
Genus: Leptanilla
Species: L. charonea
Binomial name
Leptanilla charonea
Barandica, López, Martínez & Ortuno, 1994

Some of the type material was collected from a soil sample taken from a small slope of a seasonal water course.

At a Glance • Ergatoid queen  




Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Iberian Peninsula, Spain (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


López et al. (1994) - The sample from Mejorada del Campo containing a female was collected by direct excavation while digging a nest of Leptothorax fuentei. The excavation site was on the upper part of the slope of a small dry rivulet. The soil was very moist and covered with a layer of moss. A small ovoidal chamber (length: 6mm, diameter: 2mm) was found under a small root at a depth of 13cm, just 1.5cm under the lower limit of the Leptothorax nest. A small gallery departing from this chamber and directed downwards could be followed for 6mm. The physogastric female, isolated, was found 1 cm below.

Queen physogastry seems to indicate that this colony was collected just at the beginning of the 'egg-laying stage' (Masuko 1990).



Large size dimorphism between physogastric ergatoid queen and worker of L. charonea. From Lopez et al. 1994.


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

  • charonea. Leptanilla charonea Barandica, López, Martínez & Ortuno, 1994: 148, fig. 1 (l.) SPAIN. López, Martínez & Barandica, 1994: 187, figs. 5-7, 11 (w.q.).

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



(N = 33): CL = 0.21 - 0.26; CW = 0.14- 0.17; SL = 0.07- 0.10; PL = 0.07- 0.10; PW = 0.06- 0.09; PPL = 0.07- 0.09; PPW = 0.07- 0.09; TL = 1.07- 1.24; CI = 54.99- 77.78; SI = 137.50- 233.33; PI= 71.43 - 116.67; PPI = 100.00- 116.67; PPPI = 71.43- 116.67.

Colour pale yellow, clearer than Leptanilla zaballosi. Legs paler. Margins of alitrunk, petiole, and postpetiole brownish in dorsal and lateral view. Integument feebly striated on the anterior rnargins of pronotum and mesonotum, and ventrally on the alitrunk and petiolar node. Pilosity shorter and more scattered than in L. zaballosi. subdecumbent to decumbent in the antennae and tarsa, and erect to suberect on the rest of the body, more scarce on the alitrunk.

Head elongated, flattened above, wider than alitrunk, with sides rnore parallel than in L. zaballosi. Occiput straight. Tentorium with general morphology as in L. zaballosi but with the following differences: anterior arms U- or V-shaped, tooth-like protuberance less protruding, internal plates with a straight anterior margin. No spots on the head. Clypeus straight, neither notched nor protruding. Mandibles long and narrow, with 4 teeth: a long apical tooth, 2 grouped, not sharp-pointed basal teeth, and a minute, rounded median tooth placed on the inner part of the mandible, besides the basal teeth. Internal side of mandibles with 2 long setae. Morphology of antennae as in L. zaballosi, but with the following differences: scapes swollen, clearly shorter and wider, not reaching the middle of the head. Last funicular segment shorter (as long as the 2 preceding segments together) with a more rounded tip.

Alitrunk elongated, but clearly shorter and narrower than the gaster. Prothorax subovoidal, less long than in L. zaballosi, separated by a feebly promesonotal furrow from the rest of the alitrunk. In lateral view, dorsal margin of the pronotum not so convex as in L. zaballosi, with the same height as the mesepinotum. Prosternum and katepisternum less protuding than in L. zaballosi. Mesepinotum also subovoidal, but clearly longer than wide, with sides more convex than in L. zaballosi; its dorsal margin is straight in lateral view, without depression between the mesonotum and the propodeum. Hind dorsal margin of propodeum rounded far behind the propodeal spiracle. Morphology of legs (including the tibial spurs) as in L. zaballosi, but with the following differences: femora shorter, more stout; projection of the basitarsus of fore legs longer.

Morphology of petiolar nodes as in L. zaballosi, but with the following differences: in dorsal view, both petiolar and postpetiolar nodes wide posteriorly, but less clearly than in L. zaballosi In lateral view, dorsal anterior margin of the petiolar node acute and not directed downwards; petiolar tooth-like keel shorter, without posterior teeth behind it. Morphology of gaster as in L. zaballosi, but with more parallel sides and the sting bulb not as wide in comparison with the shaft.


(n = 1): CL = 0.29; CW = 0.19; SL = 0.09; PL = 0.12; PW = 0.13; PPL = 0 .14; PPW = 0.20; TL = 1.31; CI = 65.51; SI = 211.11; PI= 108.33; PPI = 142.86; PPPI = 65.00.

Ergatoid, dichthadiiform. In physogastric state. Colour, sculpture and pilosity similar to the worker, but with the following differences: integument margins not brownish-coloured, pilosity slightly more abundant, gastral hairs very long.

Head elongated, flattened above, not wider than the alitrunk, with sides more parallel than in the worker. Occiput straight. Tentorium as in the worker, but with roundish internal plates. No spots on the head. Clypeus with a small central roundish protuberance. It bears 3 long setae ( 1 central and 2 lateral) on its anterior margin, almost reaching the inner side of mandibles. Mandibles falcate, long and narrow, ending in a short masticatory margin without teeth (excluding an apical sharp-pointed tip that could be considered as an apical tooth). Internal side of mandibles with 5-6 long setae. Morphology of antennae as in the worker, but the last funicular segment with a sharp-pointed tip.

Alitrunk elongated, with sides more parallel and more flattened above than in the worker. Prothorax subquadrangular, almost as wide as long, separated by a strong promesonotal furrow from the rest of the alitrunk. Mesepinotum subovoidal, but clearly longer than wide. In lateral view, dorsal margins of pronotum and mesepinotum straight. Hind dorsal margin of propodeum acute. Morphology of legs as in the worker, with clearly swollen femora.

Petiole one-segmented. Petiolar node quadrangular, as long as wide, slightly emarginated posteriorly. In lateral view, dorsal margin straight; anterior part of the ventral margin with a small protuberance.

Gaster spherical (physogastric), with granulate surface, due to the ovarian development; far longer and wider than the rest of the body.

Tergite of the first gastral segment subquadrangular, clearly emarginated anteriorly, and widening posteriorly. The other gastral tergites have different shapes but are always more or less rectangular.

Type Material

Holotype. Worker from Mejorada del Campo, Madrid, Spain, UTM 301VK57, 3-VI-1988, J .M. Barandica leg. Gynetype. Female from the same sample as the holotype. Paratypes. (1) 32 workers from the same sample as the holotype. (2) 3 workers from Casa de Campo, Madrid, Spain, UTM 301VK37, altitude = 660m, 13-II-1987, L.G. Gomez and C.F. Herna?' leg. (3) 4 workers from La Higuera, Avila, Spain, UTM 30TUK25. altitude = 425m, 2 VI 1988, J.P. Zaballos leg.

The holotype, the gynetype and 34 paratypes are preserved in the Catedra de Entomologia collection, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. One paratype is preserved in each collection of the following institutions or persons: Naturistorisches Museum (Basel), Museo Civico di Historia Naturale (Genova), Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard), Dr. J . A. Tinaut (Universidad de Granada), Dr. X. Espadaler (Universidad Aut6noma de Barcelona).


The specific name charonea is derived from the latin term charon, charontis, name of the boatman that took the souls of the dead towards the inside of the kingdom of Hades.