Octostruma ascrobicula

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Octostruma ascrobicula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Octostruma
Species: O. ascrobicula
Binomial name
Octostruma ascrobicula
Longino, 2013

Octostruma ascrobicula P mcz-ent00511413.jpg

Octostruma ascrobicula D mcz-ent00511413.jpg

Specimen Label

Nothing is known about the biology of Octostruma ascrobicula.


Longino (2013) - Antennal scrobe very shallow, not distinctly margined; face with arcuate carina; frontal carinae extending back and joining termini of facial arc (in Octostruma convallis, Octostruma convallisur, and Octostruma limbifrons, frontal carinae and facial arc do not join, the termini of the facial arc extend laterally beyond the termini of the frontal carinae); facial arc weak, semicircular, frontal carinae short, joining facial arc at level of compound eye (facial arc strong, less semicircular, frontal carinae longer, joining facial arc posterior to compound eye in Octostruma ascrobis); mesonotal foveolation extending onto dorsal pronotum, weakening anteriorly (mesonotum foveolate, pronotum contrastingly smooth and shining with sparse puncta in O. ascrobis); HW 0.42 (0.46–0.51 in O. ascrobis).

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Ecuador (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Longino (2013) - Brown and Kempf (1960) summarized the biology of basicerotines as follows: The basicerotines all come from tropical or subtropical areas, and predominantly from mesic habitats, particularly rain forest, where they live primarily in the upper layers of the soil and in the soil cover, including large and small pieces of rotten wood. They are fairly common in soil cover berlesates. Nests have been found in snail shells, and in the peaty masses gathered about epiphytic ferns above the ground level. So far as is known, colonies are small, consisting of one or more dealate—or rarely ergatoid—females, and a few workers. Judging from the structure of the workers and females, one would suppose that they were predaceous on small arthropods...

Besides this summary, the behavior of three basicerotine species has been studied. Wilson (1956) observed a small captive colony of Eurhopalothrix biroi, a New Guinea species. Workers moved slowly and captured a variety of small, soft-bodied prey, including spiders, symphylans, entomobryid Collembola, campodeids, and hemipteran nymphs. Wilson and Brown (1984) observed a captive colony of Eurhopalothrix heliscata, a species from Singapore. The colony contained over 400 workers, multiple alate and dealate queens, several adult males, and brood. Foraging workers acted "rather like miniature ferrets," readily wedging themselves into small crevices. They foraged solitarily, attacking a variety of prey but mostly termites. They used their sharply-toothed mandibles to abruptly snap onto appendages of prey, maintaining purchase and slowly reaching around with the gaster to sting the prey. The strongly sclerotized labrum was also employed to press against the clamped appendage. The behavioral repertoire was limited. There did not appear to be trophallaxis, as workers and larvae fed directly from prey in the brood chambers. Nor did there appear to be any form of alarm communication. While there was generally an increase in the number of foragers when clusters of prey were presented, there was no evidence of any pheromone-based recruitment. Workers were non-aggressive and responded to disturbance by tucking the appendages and becoming immobile, often for minutes at a time. Wilson and Hölldobler (1986) studied captive colonies of Basiceros manni from Costa Rica and observed behavior not substantially different from E. heliscata. Foraging workers of many basicerotines are often encrusted with a firmly bonded layer of soil, which is thought to function as camouflage, enhancing crypsis (Hölldobler & Wilson, 1986).

Knowledge of the basic natural history of these ants has hardly progressed since the observations of Wilson, Brown, and Hölldobler. More specimens are now available for examination due to quantitative litter sampling, enhancing knowledge of basicerotine diversity and distribution, but discovering nests remains exceedingly difficult. Quantitative samples of 1 m2 litter plots reveals that small basicerotines can be very frequent, occurring in over 50% of samples in some cases, but never in large numbers. Individual samples usually contain fewer than ten workers, and workers are often accompanied by dealate queens. These results suggest that colonies, at least among New World species, are usually small, with tens of workers.

Less than half of the species of Octostruma have their queens described. Ergatoid queens are known from some species. Males are known from collections for some species but none have been described. The mating biology of these ants and how common ergatoid queens are across the genus and within colonies is not known.



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

  • ascrobicula. Octostruma ascrobicula Longino, 2013: 17, figs. 6F, 16, 45 (w.) ECUADOR.

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



HW 0.42, HL 0.41, WL 0.42, CI 103 (n=1). Differing from Octostruma ascrobis in the characters of the Diagnosis (see the identification section of this webpage); similar to O. ascrobis in most other respects (see complete description of A. ascrobis).

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype worker: ECUADOR, Manabí: 78 km NE Chone [-0.363 -79.739 ±10km], 450 m, 9 Jun 1976, forest, ex sifted leaf litter (S. & J. Peck, B345) Museum of Comparative Zoology, unique specimen identifier MCZ-ENT00511413.


The name refers to being a small version of Octostruma ascrobis. It is a noun in apposition and thus invariant.


  • Longino, J.T. 2013. A revision of the ant genus Octostruma Forel 1912 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa 3699, 1-61. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3699.1.1