Plectroctena minor

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Plectroctena minor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Plectroctena
Species: P. minor
Binomial name
Plectroctena minor
Emery, 1892

Plectroctena minor casent0003067 profile 1.jpg

Plectroctena minor casent0003067 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Plectroctena minor is a semi-specialist predator on millipedes. Workers will always select millipedes, their essential prey, while alternative prey acceptance varies according to the taxa and the situation (Schatz et al., 2001).


Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Angola, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast (type locality), Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

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Schatz et al (2001): Prey selection by Plectroctena minor workers is two-fold. During cafeteria experiments, the workers always selected millipedes, their essential prey, while alternative prey acceptance varied according to the taxa and the situation. Millipedes were seized by the anterior part of their body, stung, and retrieved by single workers that transported them between their legs. They were rarely snapped at, and never abandoned. When P. minor workers were confronted with alternative prey they behaved like generalist species: prey acceptance was inversely correlated to prey size. This was not the case vis-à-vis millipedes that they selected and captured although larger than compared alternative prey. The semi-specialised diet of P. minor permits the colonies to be easily provisioned by a few foraging workers as millipedes are rarely hunted by other predatory arthropods, while alternative prey abound, resulting in low competition pressure in both cases. Different traits characteristic of an adaptation to hunting millipedes were noted and compared with the capture of alternative prey. We also noted the parsimony of the behavioural phases during their capture compared to the capture of alternative prey.



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

  • minor. Plectroctena minor Emery, 1892d: 556, pl. 15, figs. 1, 2 (q.) IVORY COAST. Emery, 1902c: 32 (w.); Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 88 (m.). Senior synonym of insularis, liberiana, perusta: Bolton, 1974c: 324; of gabonensis: Bolton & Brown, 2002: 12.
  • gabonensis. Plectroctena gabonensis Santschi, 1919a: 336 (w.) GABON. [Also described as new by Santschi, 1919h: 90.] Bolton, 1974c: 323 (q.). Combination in Myopias: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 785; in Plectroctena: Santschi, 1924a: 170. Subspecies of subterranea: Santschi, 1919h: 90. Revived status as species: Santschi, 1924a: 170; Bolton, 1974c: 323. Junior synonym of minor: Bolton & Brown, 2002: 12.
  • insularis. Plectroctena minor var. insularis Santschi, 1924a: 169, fig. 3 (w.) EQUATORIAL GUINEA (Bioko I.). Junior synonym of minor: Bolton, 1974c: 324.
  • liberiana. Plectroctena minor var. liberiana Santschi, 1924a: 169, fig. 2 (w.) LIBERIA. Junior synonym of minor: Bolton, 1974c: 324.
  • perusta. Plectroctena minor var. perusta Santschi, 1924a: 168, fig. 2 (w.) CAMEROUN. Junior synonym of minor: Bolton, 1974c: 324.



  • Bolton, B. 1974c. A revision of the ponerine ant genus Plectroctena F. Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 30: 309-338 (page 324, Senior synonym of insularis, liberiana and perusta)
  • Bolton, B.; Brown, W. L., Jr.. 2002. Loboponera gen. n. and a review of the Afrotropical Plectroctena genus group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Nat. Hist. Mus. Entomol. Ser. 71: 1-18 (page 12, Senior synonym of gabonensis)
  • Emery, C. 1892f [1891]. Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud dans le territoire d'Assinie (Afrique occidentale) en juillet et août 1886. Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 60: 553-574 (page 556, pl. 15, figs. 1, 2 queen described)
  • Emery, C. 1902c. Note mirmecologiche. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (n.s.) 6: 22-34 (page 32, worker described)
  • Schatz, B., Suzzoni, J.-P., Corbara, B., Dejean, A. 2001. Selection and capture of prey in the African ponerine ant Plectroctena minor (Hymenoptera Formicidae). Acta Oecologica 22, 55−60.
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922b. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. II. The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 39-269 (page 88, male described)