Plagiolepis pygmaea

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Plagiolepis pygmaea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Plagiolepis
Species: P. pygmaea
Binomial name
Plagiolepis pygmaea
(Latreille, 1798)

Plagiolepis pygmaea casent0173129 profile 1.jpg

Plagiolepis pygmaea casent0173129 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


A widespread south-European species, with some related forms occurring in the Mediterranean region (Rigato & Toni, 2011). Pashaei Rad et al. (2018) found this species in Iran on parkland ground in a moderate rainfall area.

At a Glance • Polygynous  


Photo Gallery

  • Plagiolepis pygmaea worker. Photo by Michal Kukla


Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, France (type locality), Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Iran, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Associations with other Organisms

Other Ants

This species is a host for the inquiline Plagiolepis grassei and the workerless inquiline Plagiolepis xene.

Other Insects

This ant has been associated with the butterflies Tomares ballus, Pseudophilotes abencerragus, Leptotes pirithous and a species that has recently been recognized as two species: Polyommatus icarus and Polyommatus celin (Obregon et al. 2015).


Guiliani et al. (2019) observed this species foraging on extrafloral nectaries of the invasive Reynoutria x bohemica (Polygonaceae) in Tuscany. The habitats examined were river banks and disturbed habitats.


This species is a host for the fungus Myrmicinosporidium durum (a pathogen) (Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).





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

  • pygmaea. Formica pygmaea Latreille, 1798: 45 (w.q.) FRANCE. Schenck, 1852: 69 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 135 (l.). Combination in Plagiolepis: Mayr, 1861: 43. Senior synonym of dufourii: Menozzi, 1925a: 19 (footnote); of obscuriscapus: Boer, 2008: 486. Current subspecies: nominal plus bulawayensis, mima, minu. See also: Stitz, 1939: 231; Kutter, 1977c: 185; Sharaf, Aldawood & Taylor, 2011: 207.
  • dufourii. Micromyrma dufourii Perris, 1878: 382 (w.) FRANCE. Junior synonym of Tapinoma erraticum: Dalla Torre, 1893: 165; Emery, 1913a: 40; Forel, 1915d: 43; of Plagiolepis pygmaea: Menozzi, 1925a: 19 (footnote).
  • obscuriscapus. Plagiolepis pygmaea var. obscuriscapus Santschi, 1923a: 137 (w.) ITALY. Stärcke, 1936: 278 (q.). Raised to species: Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 57. Junior synonym of pygmaea: Boer, 2008: 486.

Type Material

Sharaf et al. (2011) - France, Brive (Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle) [not examined]. Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Sharaf et al. (2011) - TL 1.49-1.92, HL 0.38-0.46, HW 0.35-0.42, SL 0.32-0.46, EL 0.08-0.12, SI 91-110, CI 97-91, PRW 0.24-0.28, ML 0.41-0.44 (N=3).

Body uniformly brown or blackish brown, legs yellow, mandibles, antennae and coxae yellowish brown. Smooth and shining. Head distinctly longer than broad with convex sides. Occiput distinctly concave with rounded corners. Eyes relatively large with 9-10 ommatidia in the longest row (EL 0.12) and (0.28 x HW). Clypeus with several relatively long hairs, that are not restricted to the anterior margin. Scape surpassing posterior margin of head by at least one and half times its thickness. Funicular segments 2-4 distinctly broader than long. Fifth funicular segment longer than broad. Pubescence whitish, appressed and abundant on antennae, head and gaster but less abundant on mesosoma and legs. Posterior margins of all gastral tergites with many relative long and stiff hairs.


  • n = 9, 2n = 18 (Croatia; Spain; Switzerland) (Hauschteck-Jungen & Jungen, 1983).
  • n = 9, 2n = 18, karyotype = 14M+2SM+2ST (Spain) (Palomeque et al., 1993a).