Ooceraea alii

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Ooceraea alii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Ooceraea
Species: O. alii
Binomial name
Ooceraea alii
(Bharti & Akbar, 2013)

Bharti & Akbar 2013-9Fig11.jpg

Bharti & Akbar 2013-9Fig12.jpg

This subterranean species seems to be of rare occurrence as it was encountered only once during the extensive surveys in the region. The specimens were collected from a leaf litter sample taken from Salim Ali bird Sanctuary. A low-land evergreen forest area, located between the branches of Periyar river. The region is considered as the richest bird habitat on peninsular India. Now also know from Sri Lanka, specimens were collected in soil and leaf litter samples from a coconut plantation.


Bharti & Akbar (2013) - With its 9 segmented antennae O. alii can be easily separated from other species known from India. Only eight other known species of Cerapachys are reported to have 9 segmented antennae. These eight species are placed in the typhlus group and include; Ooceraea biroi Forel, 1907; Ooceraea crypta Mann, 1921; Ooceraea australis Forel, 1900; Ooceraea fuscior Mann, 1921; Ooceraea papuana Emery, 1897; Ooceraea pawa Mann, 1919; Ooceraea pusilla Emery, 1897 and Syscia typhla Roger, 1861. The new species can be easily separated from all of them. O. crypta and O. fuscior are larger species (HW > 0.70 mm) while O. alii is a smaller species (HW < 0.40 mm). S. typhla has the postpetiole more than half as long as the succeeding gastric segment while in O. alii it is less than half as long as the succeeding gastric segment. O. papuana, O. pawa and O. pusilla have the anterolateral shoulders of the first gastric segment abruptly rounded, accentuating the medium concavity that receives the postpetiole while in O. alii the anterolateral shoulders of the first gastric segments as seen from above broadly rounded and gradually widening caudad. O. biroi and O. australis]] predominantly have punctuate body sculpture while O. alii has predominantly foveate body sculpture. O. alii can also be confused with Ooceraea fragosa Roger, 1862 and Ooceraea coeca Mayr, 1897 which has similar prominent foveate body sculpture, however these two species are characterized by 11 segmented antennae while as O. alii has 9 segmented antennae.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Oriental Region: India (type locality), Sri Lanka.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Known only from the worker caste.


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

  • alii. Cerapachys alii Bharti & Akbar, 2013: 86, figs. 2B, 11, 12, 13, Table 1 (w.) INDIA.
    • Combination in Ooceraea: Borowiec, M.L. 2016: 198.
    • Status as species: Brown, 1975: 22; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 24; Bolton, 1995b: 142.

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



Measurements (holotype in brackets): HL 0.46–0.51(0.48); HW 0.37–0.39(0.38); WL 0.47–0.49(0.49); MH 0.28–0.31(0.31); PrW 0.25–0.29(0.25); PL1 0.16–0.20(0.17); PW1 0.16–0.19(0.18); IIIAL 0.20–0.22(0.22); IIIAW 0.22–0.27(0.23); SL 0.21–0.22(0.22); IVAL 0.43–0.49(0.49); IVAW 0.39–0.41(0.41). Indices: CI 76–80(79); SI 56–57(57); PI 95–105(105) (n=5).

Head. Rectangular, longer than broad, sides converge anteriorly; vertexal margin concave, posterior lateral corners rounded. Parafrontal ridges prominent, raised. Eyes absent. Mandibles dentate; narrow, with strongly incurved apical tooth; anterior clypeal margin entire and projects forward as a low rounded transparent lobe or apron. Lateroclypeal teeth reduced. Antennae 9 segmented; scapes short, clavate, each falling short of posterior margin of head by 1/3rd of its length.

Mesosoma. Stout, wider anteriorly; dorsal surface slightly convex, almost flat, the dorsal surface gently rounded along sides without any distinct margin. Declivous face of propodeum with cariniform margins across the top and along lateral margins.

Metasoma. Petiole as long as broad, without overhanging dorsolateral margins. Anterior face transverse and posterior face shallowly convex. Subpetiolar process prominent, acute, posteriorly directed; no fenestra present. Postpetiole slightly longer than broad, lateral angles uniformly rounded. Gaster elongate; base of cinctus of first gastral tergite with cross ribs; sting exerted.

Sculpture. Mandibles punctured. Head strongly foveate. Mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole with similar prominent foveate sculpture.

Vestiture. Body with reduced white pilosity; moderate, decumbent or subdecumbent hairs distributed evenly throughout. Apical funicular segments and legs with small standing hairs.

Colour. Dark red with mandibles, antennae and legs castaneous.


The species is named in honor of Dr. Salim Ali, renowned Indian Ornithologist.

Type Material

Holotype and 6 paratypes (worker): India, Kerala, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, 10°45'N, 76°44'E, 118m a.s.l., 10.x.2011, Winkler method (coll. Shahid A. Akbar); Holotype in Punjabi University Ant Collection and paratype in The Natural History Museum.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Dad J. M., S. A. Akbar, H. Bharti, and A. A. Wachkoo. 2019. Community structure and ant species diversity across select sites ofWestern Ghats, India. Acta Ecologica Sinica 39: 219–228.