Prionopelta kraepelini

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Prionopelta kraepelini
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Tribe: Amblyoponini
Genus: Prionopelta
Species: P. kraepelini
Binomial name
Prionopelta kraepelini
Forel, 1905

Prionopelta kraepelini casent0102524 profile 1.jpg

Prionopelta kraepelini casent0102524 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Most specimens have been collected from leaf litter samples in forested areas (mainly rainforests but including parkland on volcanic soil).

At a Glance • Larval Hemolymph Feeding  • Limited invasive  



Shattuck (2008) - Sculpturing on dorsum of pronotum consisting of fine punctations which contrast markedly with widely spaced foveae on mesonotum and propodeum, the foveae on the propodeum varying in density across its width (weakest medially, stronger laterally). Head width less than 0.48mm. Petiole relatively narrow, PetW less than 0.21.

Brown (1960) confused this species with Prionopelta opaca and didn’t recognize the specimens here placed in Prionopelta robynmae as belonging to a separate species. In fact, all three of these species, while morphologically similar, can be separated as follows. In true kraepelini the sculpturing on the pronotum consists of small, fine punctures which contrast strongly with the widely spaced foveae on the mesonotum and propodeum. In opaca the pronotal sculpturing is composed of widely spaced foveae which are only slightly more dense than those on the mesonotum and propodeum. And in robynmae the sculpturing consists of small foveae on the pronotum which contrasts markedly with the widely spaced foveae on mesonotum and propodeum. In addition, the density of the sculpturing across the width of the propodeum is variable (weakest medially, stronger laterally) in kraepelini and robynmae and uniform in opaca. The shape of the petiolar node also differs across these species. It is narrowest and shortest in kraepelini, relatively longer and broader in opaca and long but narrow in robynmae. Essentially all presently known material can be unambiguously sorted into three sets representing these three taxa based on these character systems. In all other respects the material of these taxa is essentially identical or the differences are slight and random and show no obvious patterns. While kraepelini is allopatric to the others, opaca and robynmae have been collected together (from the same litter sample) in PNG.

The only apparent exception to this pattern is a single collection from Palolo, Palu, C. Celebes, Indonesia. In these specimens, the punctations on the propodeal dorsum are somewhat intermediate between kraepelini and opaca, although they are more similar to typical kraepelini than typical opaca. This is consistent with other material from Sulawesi which is typical of kraepelini. A reexamination of Brown’s Micronesian material has failed to uncover his “intergradient” forms as all could be placed with confidence into kraepelini, opaca or robynmae.

Keys including this Species


Shattuck (2008) - This is one of the most widely distributed species in the genus, being found from Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia east through the Philippines and Micronesia to Samoa.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 32.4635° to -6.75°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Fiji, Indonesia (type locality), Krakatau Islands, Malaysia, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore.
Oriental Region: India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan.

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.







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

  • kraepelini. Prionopelta kraepelini Forel, 1905c: 3 (w.q.) INDONESIA (Java).
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens (numbers not stated).
    • Type-locality: Indonesia: Java, Buitenzorg (= Bogor), iii.1944 (K. Kraepelin).
    • Type-depository: MHNG.
    • Bharti & Wachkoo, 2012c: 818 (m.).
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 33; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 26; Brown, 1960a: 177, 220; Wilson & Taylor, 1967: 19; Terayama, 1989b: 343; Dlussky, 1994: 53; Bolton, 1995b: 365; Lin & Wu, 2003: 67; Wetterer & Vargo, 2003: 416; Clouse, 2007b: 259; Shattuck, 2008b: 23 (redescription); Terayama, 2009: 95; Zhou & Ran, 2010: 102; Pfeiffer, et al. 2011: 32 Bharti & Wachkoo, 2012c: 816 (redescription); Sarnat & Economo, 2012: 23; Bharti, Guénard, et al. 2016: 18.
    • Distribution: Australia, Fiji Is, India, Indonesia (Java, Sulawesi), Malaysia (Peninsula, Sabah, Sarawak), Micronesia, Philippines (Luzon, Negros, Quezon), Samoa, Taiwan.

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



Shattuck (2008) - Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, rounded and lacking a tooth. Dorsal pronotal sculpturing consisting of fine punctations which contrast markedly with widely spaced foveae on mesonotum and propodeum. Foveae on dorsum of propodeum varying across its width (weakest medially, stronger laterally). 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 generally present but sometimes weakly developed within subpetiolar process. Colour pale yellow to yellow-red.

Type Material


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Abe T., S. Yamane, and K. Onoyama. Ants collected on the Krakatau Islands 100 years after the great eruptions. Biogeography 14: 65-75.
  • Anh L. N., K. Ogata, and S. Hosoichi. 2010. Ants of agricultural fields in Vietnam (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Inst. Trop. Agr., Kyushu Univ. 33: 1-11.
  • Bharti H., and A. A. Wachkoo. 2012. First record of Prionopelta kraepelini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from India, with description of male caste. Sociobiology 59: 815-821.
  • 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
  • Chapman, J. W., and Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327
  • Chapman, J.W. and S.R. Capco. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monographs of the Institute of Science and Technology (Manila) 1: 1- 327
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Forel A. 1905. Ameisen aus Java. Gesammelt von Prof. Karl Kraepelin 1904. Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hambg. 22: 1-26.
  • Guénard B., and R. R. Dunn. 2012. A checklist of the ants of China. Zootaxa 3558: 1-77.
  • Hashimoto Y., and M. Mohamed. 2011. Ground-dwelling ant diversity in Maliau Basin, Borneo: evaluation of hand-sorting methods to estimate ant diversity. Tropics 19(2): 85-92.
  • Ito, F.; Yamane, S.; Eguchi, K.; Noerdjito, W. A.; Kahono, S.; Tsuji, K.; Ohkawara, K.; Yamauchi, K.; Nishida, T.; Nakamura, K. 2001. Ant species diversity in the Bogor Botanic Garden, West Java, Indonesia, with descriptions of two new species of the genus Leptanilla (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Tropics 10:379-404.
  • Karavaiev V. 1926. Ameisen aus dem Indo-Australischen Gebiet. Treubia 8: 413-445.
  • Li Z.h. 2006. List of Chinese Insects. Volume 4. Sun Yat-sen University Press
  • Ngoc Anh L., K. Ogata, and S. Hosoishi. 2010. Ants of agricultural fields in Vietnam (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bull. Inst. Trop. Agr. Kyushu Univ. 33: 1-11.
  • Pfeiffer M., and D. Mezger. 2012. Biodiversity Assessment in Incomplete Inventories: Leaf Litter Ant Communities in Several Types of Bornean Rain Forest. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40729. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040901
  • Pfeiffer M.; Mezger, D.; Hosoishi, S.; Bakhtiar, E. Y.; Kohout, R. J. 2011. The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list. Asian Myrmecology 4:9-58
  • Shattuck, S. O. 2008. Revision of the ant genus Prionopelta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Indo-Pacific region. Zootaxa 1846:21-34.
  • Terayama M. 1989. The ant tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Taiwan with description of a new species. Japanese Journal of Entomology 57:343-346.
  • Terayama M. 2009. A synopsis of the family Formicidae of Taiwan (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Research Bulletin of Kanto Gakuen University. Liberal Arts 17:81-266.
  • Terayama Mamoru. 2009. A synopsis of the family Formicidae of Taiwan (Insecta, Hymenoptera). The Research Bulletin of Kanto Gakuen University 17: 81-266.
  • Wilson, Edward O. and Hunt, George L. Jr. 1967. Ant Fauna of Futuna and Wallis Islands, Stepping Stones to Polynesia. Pacific Insects. 9(4):563-584
  • Woodcock P., D. P. Edwards, R. J. Newton, C. Vun Khen, S. H. Bottrell, and K. C. Hamer. 2013. Impacts of Intensive Logging on the Trophic Organisation of Ant Communities in a Biodiversity Hotspot. PLoS ONE 8(4): e60756. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060756
  • Woodcock P., D. P. Edwards, T. M. Fayle, R. J. Newton, C. Vun Khen, S. H. Bottrell, and K. C. Hamer. 2011. The conservation value of South East Asia's highly degraded forests: evidence from leaf-litter ants. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 366: 3256-3264.
  • Yamane S. 2013. A Review of the ant fauna of the Krakatau Islands, Indonesia. Bull. Kitakyushu Mus. Nat. Hist. Hum. Hist. Ser: A, 11: 1-66