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Temporal range: 42–23 Ma Bartonian, Middle to Late Oligocene
Prionomyrmex longiceps
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Tribe: Prionomyrmecini
Genus: Prionomyrmex
Mayr, 1868
Type species
Prionomyrmex longiceps
4 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

There are two species in this genus from the Baltic Amber (Eocene). This genus appears to be ancestral to the genus Myrmecia from Australia.


Worker. - First funicular joint of antennae about half as long as the second, the second the longest, and the succeeding joints gradually decreasing in length to the pentultimate, which is a little shorter than the last joint. Surface of body smooth, very finely shagreened, but not punctate or rugulose. Hairs moderately abundant, erect or suberect, short on the head, thorax, legs and scapes, somewhat longer on the abdomen. Pubescence indistinct, execept in one specimen (B 259), in which it seems to be abundant but glued to the body by a white film.


This taxon is known from Baltic amber (Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene), Bitterfeld amber (Bartonian, Middle to Late Eocene), Rott, Westphalia, Germany (Late Oligocene).


The long legs, strong claws and remarkable mandibles of the worker indicate that P. longiceps was predaceous, and in all probability, an arboreal ant.


Worker, Male, Queen


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

  • PRIONOMYRMEX [Myrmeciinae: Prionomyrmecini]
    • Prionomyrmex Mayr, 1868c: 77. Type-species: †Prionomyrmex longiceps, by monotypy.


  • Baroni Urbani, C. 2000. Rediscovery of the Baltic amber ant genus Prionomyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) and its taxonomic consequences. Eclogae Geol. Helv. 93: 471-480 (page 479, Prionomyrmex in Prionomyrmecinae)
  • Baroni Urbani, C. 2003a. The Baltic amber species of Prionomyrmex (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Mitt. Geol.-Paläontol. Inst. Univ. Hambg. 87: 141-146
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 73, Prionomyrmex in Myrmeciinae, Prionomyrmecini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 133, Prionomyrmex in Myrmeciinae, Prionomyrmecini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1954e. Remarks on the internal phylogeny and subfamily classification of the family Formicidae. Insectes Soc. 1: 21-31 (page 22, Prionomyrmex in Myrmeciinae, Prionomyrmecini)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 22, Prionomyrmex in Ponerinae)
  • Emery, C. 1877b. Saggio di un ordinamento naturale dei Mirmicidei, e considerazioni sulla filogenesi delle formiche. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 9: 67-83 (page 81, Prionomyrmex in Myrmicidae, Myrmeciidae)
  • Mayr, G. 1868c. Die Ameisen des baltischen Bernsteins. Beitr. Naturkd. Preuss. 1: 1-102 (page 77, Prionomyrmex in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Ward, P., and Brady, S. 2003. Phylogeny and biogeography of the ant subfamily Myrmeciinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Invertebrate Systematics 17(3): 361-386 (Prionomyrmex in Myrmeciinae, Prionomyrmecini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1915i [1914]. The ants of the Baltic Amber. Schr. Phys.-Ökon. Ges. Königsb. 55: 1-142 [1] (page 25, Prionomyrmex in Ponerinae, Prionomyrmecini)