Messor ponticus

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Messor ponticus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Messor
Species group: structor
Species: M. ponticus
Binomial name
Messor ponticus
Steiner, Csősz, Markó, Gamisch, Rinnhofer, Folterbauer, Hammerle, Stauffer, Arthofer & Schlick-Steiner, 2018

In Greece, Messor ponticus is a lowland species, nests were observed in pine forests, roadsides in pine forests, pastures, open ruderal habitats inside villages (Salata & Borowiec, 2019).


Steiner et al. (2018) - Worker and queen. Usually darker than Messor ibericus, Messor mcarthuri, and Messor structor. Generally, body more finely sculptured than in all other species, especially head. Discrimination from M. structor and Messor muticus by shorter 1st funicular segment, by base of scape without lobe. Discrimination from all other species by reduced number of standing setae on side of head and, in some individuals, by shallower clypeal notch. Mesopleuron more regularly rugose than in all other species. Microsculpture of 1st gastral tergite similar to M. structor and M. muticus but clearly less imbricate than in M. ibericus and M. mcarthuri.

Worker. Generally larger than M. ibericus, M. structor, and M. muticus, and similarly sized as M. mcarthuri. Discrimination from all other species by postocular region of head mostly lacking costae and costulae, almost smooth and shining in major worker. For individuals difficult to discriminate from M. structor or M. muticus using qualitative morphology, morphometrics-based linear discriminant functions are available.

Queen. Larger than M. ibericus, similar in size to all other species.


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Bulgaria (type locality), Romania, Turkey, Ukraine.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


mtDNA: Three haplotypes of COI (1375 bp) known; (GenBank).



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

  • ponticus. Messor ponticus Steiner, Csösz, et al. 2018: 399, figs. 2, 5ab, bb, cb, db, eb, fb (w.q.m.) BULGARIA, ROMANIA, TURKEY, UKRAINE.
    • Status as species: Salata & Borowiec, 2018c: 46; Salata & Borowiec, 2019a: 64.

Taxonomic Notes

Salata & Borowiec (2019) (misidentification):

  • As Messor muticus: Borowiec and Salata, 2012: 514 (part).
  • As Messor orientalis: Borowiec and Salata, 2012: 515 (part).

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


Worker and queen. Colour: Dark brown to black, gaster always blackish. Size: Large. Head: Usually finely sculptured with longitudinal, regular costae below eye level, but can be reduced in minor worker; postocular region can lack sculpture entirely, sometimes smooth and shining. Very sparse, short, erect setae on side of head and genae, sometimes lacking almost entirely. Scape: Base without lobe. Laterally directed, tooth-like processus in major worker, less distinct in minor worker. 1st funicular segment short and flattened, longer than 2nd segment, but shorter than 2nd and 3rd segment together. Clypeus: Median notch very shallow, often lacking entirely. Pronotum: Middle smooth and shining; laterally mostly regular, bended, fine costae, can be reduced to shallow microreticulation in minor worker. Mesonotum: Densely sculptured throughout; costae transverse, with punctuation amongst. Mesopleuron: Regular transverse costulae with slightly irregular, well-developed punctuation among them; costulae can be very fine even in major worker. Propodeum: Sometimes angulated even in minor worker, in major worker almost tooth-like, with bended costae. Surface of 1st gaster tergite: Base imbricate, middle smooth and shining with isolated snow-flakes-like structure. Covered with sparse, thick and long, whitish hairs, some of which decumbent or subdecumbent.

Queen: Metanotum: Densely sculptured throughout, costae transverse, punctuation amongst. Anepisternum and katepisternum: Middle smooth and shining, side with longitudinal costulae.

Male: Anepisternum: Microreticulate, but shining. Katepisternum: With longitudinal costulae; shining even if microsculpture among some costulae.

Type Material

Holotype. Bulgaria BG016 viz. Strouma valley SW Zemen; 06.10.2004 leg. T. Ljubomirov; “14759”; Holotypus ”Messor“ ”ponticus“ [on the reverse side: Top specimen design. Csősz 2016] (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna).

Paratypes: 11 workers labelled as holotype: Bulgaria BG016 viz. Strouma valley SW Zemen; 06.10.2004 leg. T. Ljubomirov (5 paratype workers: NHMW; 6 paratype workers: Hungarian Natural History Museum).


Named for its distribution area around the Black Sea (Lat.: Pontus Euxinus).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Salata S., and L. Borowiec. 2019. Preliminary contributions toward a revision of Greek Messor Forel, 1890 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Turkish Journal of Zoology 43: 52-67.
  • Steiner F. M., S. Csosz, B. Marko, A. Gamisch, L. Rinnhofer, C. Folterbauer, S. Hammerle, C. Stauffer, W. Arthofer, B. C. Schlick‐Steiner. 2018. Turning one into five: Integrative taxonomy uncovers complex evolution of cryptic species in the harvester ant Messor “structor”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution