Prionopelta brocha

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Prionopelta brocha
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Tribe: Amblyoponini
Genus: Prionopelta
Species: P. brocha
Binomial name
Prionopelta brocha
Wilson, 1958

Prionopelta-brocha MCZL1906.jpg

Prionopelta-brocha MCZ D1907.jpg

Specimen Label

Workers have been found in leaf litter in a moss forest and in a dry, semi-deciduous native forest. Other than a few collection habitat notes, little is known about the biology or behavior of this species.


Shattuck (2008) - Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, each with a distinct, well developed tooth. Body size large, head width greater than 0.60mm.

This species is the only member of the genus known to occur in New Caledonia. It can be immediately recognised by the presence of a large, distinctive tooth near each mandibular insertion.

Wilson (1958) - Distinguished in the worker caste from all other known members of the genus by several apparently primitive characters, including exceptionally large size, strongly developed genal teeth, and Amblyopone-like head shape. Two features of head shape are considered to be more typical of Amblyopone than of Prionopelta - the head is broadest near its anterior end, and the lateral borders are relatively straight. Brocha is thus seen to be a species intermediate in position between the remainder of Prionopelta and the presumably more primitive Amblyopone. It has been placed in Prionopelta primarily because of its mandible form, which is typical for that genus.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -20.56666667° to -20.93333054°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: New Caledonia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.


A few specimens have been found in leaf litter of primary rainforests.



Prionopelta-brocha-Holotype-MCZ29838H.jpgPrionopelta-brocha-Holotype-MCZ29838L.jpgPrionopelta-brocha-Holotype-MCZ29838D.jpgPrionopelta-brocha Holotype MCZ 29838Label.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172299 head 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172299 profile 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172299 dorsal 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172299 label 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172265 head 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172265 profile 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172265 dorsal 1.jpgPrionopelta brocha casent0172265 label 1.jpg


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

  • brocha. Prionopelta brocha Wilson, 1958a: 147, fig. 7 (w.) NEW CALEDONIA.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: New Caledonia: Mt Mou, 180 m., 12.xii.1954, Berlese (E.O. Wilson).
    • Type-depository: MCZC.
    • Status as species: Brown, 1960a: 177; Taylor, 1987a: 64; Bolton, 1995b: 365; Shattuck, 2008b: 23 (redescription).
    • Distribution: New Caledonia.

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




Holotype. HW (exclusive of genal teeth) 0.64 mm, HL 0.79 mm, ML 0.16mm, SL 0.45 mm, CI 81, SI 70, PW 0.43 mm, alitrunk length (maximum) 1.05mm, dorsal petiole width 0.38 mm, petiolar node length (exclusive of ventral lobe) 0.42 mm, width of first gastric tergite 0.52 mm. Head as shown in Figure. Remainder of body similar to that of other Prionopelta, including the relatively large Prionopelta majuscula.

Dorsal surfaces of mandibles finely and longitudinally striolate, and shining. Central portion of clypeus smooth and shining. Remainder of head covered by coarse, contiguous punctures, its surface for the most part completely opaque. Body poterior to the head sparsely punctate, its surface almost entirely feebly shining.

Pilosity very similar to that of most other Prionopelta, including majuscula. Abundant standing hairs present on most body and appendage surfaces, nearly or completely absent from posterior propodeal face, anterior and ventral surfaces of petiolar node, and most of extensor surfaces of legs; everywhere grading into equally abundant, predominantly oblique underlying pubescence.

Body uniformly light ferruginous, appendages clear to very light reddish yellow.

Shattuck (2008) - (n=3). CI 81–86; HL 0.76–0.78; HW 0.62–0.67; ML 0.95–0.96; PetL 0.33; PetW 0.38–0.39; PI 113–120; SI 66–67; SL 0.41–0.44; T1W 0.51–0.54.

Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, each with a distinct, well developed tooth. Dorsal pronotal sculpturing small foveae which are only slightly more dense than on the mesonotum and propodeum. Foveae on dorsum of propodeum uniformly distributed across its width. Lateral mesosomal sculpturing consisting of small foveae on pronotum and anterior and ventral region of mesopleuron, dorsal region of mesopleuron and majority of propodeum smooth. Fenestra present within subpetiolar process. Colour pale yellow.

Type Material

NEW CALEDONIA: Mt. Mou, 180 m., December 12, 1954, a single worker (E.O.Wilson). This specimen was collected by means of a Berlese funnel from leaf litter on the floor of dry, semi-deciduous native forest.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1960. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. III. Tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 122: 143-230.
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Jennings J. T., L. Krogmann, and C. Burwell. 2013. Review of the hymenopteran fauna of New Caledonia with a checklist of species. Zootaxa 3736(1): 1-53.
  • Shattuck, S. O. 2008. Revision of the ant genus Prionopelta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Indo-Pacific region. Zootaxa 1846:21-34.
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.
  • Wilson E. O. 1958. Studies on the ant fauna of Melanesia. I. The tribe Leptogenyini. II. The tribes Amblyoponini and Platythyreini. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 118: 101-153.