Leptomyrmex puberulus

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Leptomyrmex puberulus
Leptomyrmex puberulus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Tribe: Leptomyrmecini
Genus: Leptomyrmex
Species: L. puberulus
Binomial name
Leptomyrmex puberulus
Wheeler, W.M., 1934

Leptomyrmex puberulus side view

Leptomyrmex puberulus top view

Specimen labels

L. puberulus has been recorded in secondary and primary rainforest. Nests occur in soil and in logs.

At a Glance • Replete Workers  


Leptomyrmex puberulus is distinctive among all the New Guinea species for having short standing hairs on the eyes.This species most closely resembles Leptomyrmex flavitarsus, the other species in New Guinea with dense pubescence on the body. Generally, L. puberulus is uniformly pale yellow, but some forms are darker yellow, approaching brown. L. flavitarsus is very dark brown, approaching black. A stouter head and shorter appendages (HW 1.02–1.20 mm; SI 2.77–3.64; HTL 3.33–3.86) distinguishes L. puberulus from the similarly pale Leptomyrmex fragilis, which is more gracile, with longer appendages (HW 0.94–1.05 mm; SI 3.92–4.73; HTL 4.41–5.02). (Lucky and Ward 2010)

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -3.089444444° to -8.297778°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea (type locality).

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 Leptomyrmex biology 
These conspicuous ants are most often encountered individually or as small groups of 2 or 3 foragers on the surface of the ground any time of the day or night. Because of their long legs and thin bodies, they superficially resemble spiders. This is especially true when they are disturbed, as they extend their legs, raise their gasters, and run quickly to escape danger. This has led to their being given the common name "spider ants."

Nests are found in soil or in dead wood, either standing or on the ground, and are often at the base of trees. Colony sizes average a few hundred workers and a single queen. In all but a handful of species, the queen is wingless and worker-like, differing from workers only in being slightly larger and with an enlarged mesosoma. In a few species the queens are fully winged, as they are in most other ants.

When a large source of food is found, workers of Leptomyrmex will return to their nest and recruit additional workers to help utilise the newly found resource. They also use workers as "living storage vessels". These special workers, called repletes, accept liquids from returning foragers who transfer their liquid foods to these selected workers. These special workers continue to accept liquids until their gasters become greatly enlarged and extended. When enlarged, repletes cannot escape the nest and remain inside suspended from the ceiling. They can retain these fluids for extended periods and dispense it on demand when food is in short supply. ‎



Images from AntWeb

Leptomyrmex puberulus casent0127025 head 1.jpgLeptomyrmex puberulus casent0127025 head 2.jpgLeptomyrmex puberulus casent0127025 profile 1.jpgLeptomyrmex puberulus casent0127025 dorsal 1.jpgLeptomyrmex puberulus casent0127025 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0127025. Photographer Andrea Lucky, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by PSWC, Philip S. Ward Collection.



Leptomyrmex neotropicus (fossil only)

Leptomyrmex relictus


Leptomyrmex burwelli

Leptomyrmex dolichoscapus


Leptomyrmex mjobergi

Leptomyrmex varians

Leptomyrmex unicolor

Leptomyrmex flavitarsus

Leptomyrmex puberulus

Leptomyrmex darlingtoni

Leptomyrmex fragilis

Leptomyrmex niger

Leptomyrmex erythrocephalus

Leptomyrmex wiburdi

Leptomyrmex cnemidatus

Leptomyrmex nigriventris

Leptomyrmex tibialis

Leptomyrmex geniculatus

Leptomyrmex nigriceps

Leptomyrmex pallens

Leptomyrmex rufithorax

Leptomyrmex rufipes

Leptomyrmex rothneyi

Leptomyrmex ruficeps

Based on Barden et al., 2017. Note only selected Leptomyrmex species are included.


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

  • puberulus. Leptomyrmex puberulus Wheeler, W.M. 1934c: 112, fig. 14 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Lucky & Ward, 2010: 46 (m.).

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



Lucky and Ward (2010) - measurements (n = 10) HL 1.63–1.83, HW 1.02–1.20, MFC 0.21–0.26, IOD 0.58–0.68, SL 3.08–3.75, EL 0.33–0.42, WL 2.99–3.29, PW 0.84–0.95, DPW 0.30–0.37, HTL 3.33–3.86, HTWmin 0.10–0.16, HTWmax 0.14–0.18, CI 0.61–0.66, SI 2.77–3.64, OI 0.12–0.16, HTC 0.63–0.96.

Smaller species (HW 1.02–1.20 mm; WL 2.99–3.29 mm) with head less than twice as long as broad, excluding mandibles (CI 0.61–0.66). Head widest at eyes, sides of head slightly convex, genae feebly concave anteriorly. Behind the eyes, sides of head gently rounding to flat postocular margin. Masticatory margin of mandible with approximately 15 teeth and denticles. Anterior clypeal margin weakly convex. Eyes positioned at midline of head, small and nearly circular, convex and distinctly hairy, reaching margins of head. Antennal scapes long and slender.

Dorsal face of propodeum with transverse impression at anterior end. Dorsal face slightly longer than convex declivitous face. Dorsal and declivitous faces meeting at rounded angle. Petiole triangular in profile, with rounded dorsum bearing deep longitudinal impression; ventral surface flat. Gaster narrow. Legs long and slender, slightly compressed (HTC 0.63–0.96 mm).

Surface very finely and superficially shagreened, less shining. Pubescence grey, long and abundant on all parts of the body and appendages, especially on the head, pronotum and gaster. Erect hairs present on the clypeus, venter and gaster. Body ranging from pale yellow to dark yellowish-brown. Tarsi nearly white. Some individuals with gaster darker than the rest of the body.


Lucky and Ward (2010) – measurements (n = 2) HL 1.51, HW 0.76–0.77, SL 0.77–0.81, EL 0.46–0.50, HTL 4.48–4.55, CI 0.50–0.51, SI 1.01–1.05, SI2 0.49.

Type Material

Lucky and Ward (2010) - Type material examined: Syntypes, 5 workers, Papua New Guinea: ‘Morobe District’ (Stevens) Museum of Comparative Zoology


  • Lucky, A. 2011. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the spider ants, genus Leptomyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 281-292. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.004
  • Lucky, A. & Ward, P.S. 2010. Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Leptomyrmex Mayr. Zootaxa 2688: 1-67. PDF
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1934c. A second revision of the ants of the genus Leptomyrmex Mayr. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 77: 69-118 (page 112, fig. 14 worker described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • CSIRO Collection
  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on http://www.newguineants.org/. Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Janda M., and M. Konecna. 2011. Canopy assembalges of ants in a New Guinea rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 27: 83-91.
  • Lucky A., and P. S. Ward. 2010. Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Leptomyrmex Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 2688: 1-67.
  • Shattuck S. O. 1994. Taxonomic catalog of the ant subfamilies Aneuretinae and Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). University of California Publications in Entomology 112: i-xix, 1-241.
  • Snelling R. R. 2000. Ants of the Wapoga river area, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. In Mack, Andrew L. and Leeanne E. Alonso (eds.). 2000. A Biological Assessment of the Wapoga River Area of Northwestern Irian Jaya, Indonesia. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 14, Conservation International, Washington, DC.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1934. A second revision of the ants of the genus Leptomyrmex Mayr. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 77: 69-118.