Prionopelta robynmae

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Prionopelta robynmae
Prionopelta robynmae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Tribe: Amblyoponini
Genus: Prionopelta
Species: P. robynmae
Binomial name
Prionopelta robynmae
Shattuck, 2008

Prionopelta robynmae side view

Prionopelta robynmae top view

Specimen labels

This species is exceptionally widespread for a member of this genus, occurring from PNG in the north to Victoria and Western Australia in the south. It also shows considerable ecological variability with specimens being found in a range of forested habitats including rainforests, open forests, paperbark swamps and Picabean palm forests. Foraging workers occur in leaf litter while nests have been found in soil under objects, between rock slices and in rotten wood.


Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, rounded. Pronotal sculpturing consisting of small, closely spaced foveae which contrast markedly with the widely spaced foveae on mesonotum and propodeum, the foveae on the propodeum varying strongly in density across its width (weakest medially, stronger laterally). Body small, head width less than 0.48mm but petiole relatively broad, PetW greater than 0.22mm.

P. robynmae is most similar to P. kraepelini but differs in having small foveae on the pronotum rather than small punctures, stronger variation in the density of sculpturing across the width of the propodeum, in having a broader petiolar node (width greater than 0.22mm versus less than 0.21mm in P. kraepelini) and in having a relatively longer and narrower head (although the smallest P. robynmae workers are essentially identical to similarly sized P. kraepelini workers).

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -5.083330154° to -37.13334°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).
Indo-Australian Region: New Guinea.

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.

Elevation Range

Occurrence at collecting sites during elevational surveys of rainforest in the Eungella region, Queensland, Australia (Burwell et al., 2020).
Species Elevation (m asl)
200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Prionopelta robynmae 30-40
Shading indicates the bands of elevation where species was recorded.
Numbers are the percentage of total samples containing this species.




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

  • robynmae. Prionopelta robynmae Shattuck, 2008b: 30, figs. 6, 7, 17-19, 23 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia).
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 8 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Australia: Queensland, 1.5 km. EbyN Mt Sorrow, 16°05’S, 145°27’E, 25.iii.1984, litter sample, rainforest on stoney slope (A. Calder & T. Weir); paratypes with same data.
    • Type-depositories: ANIC (holotype); ANIC, BMNH, MCZC (paratypes).
    • Distribution: Australia.

Holotype worker from 1.5km EbyN Mt. Sorrow, 16°05’S 145°27’E, Queensland, A. Calder & T. Weir, 25 March 1984, litter sample, rainforest on stony slope (Australian National Insect Collection, ANIC 32-039009). Eight paratype workers, same data as holotype (Australian National Insect Collection, Museum of Comparative Zoology, The Natural History Museum, ANIC 32-031327).

The following notes are from Shattuck (2008):

Specimens here placed in P. robynmae were previously considered to belong to P. kraepelini and/or P. opaca. However, the above diagnosis will separate these specimens from others in the genus and suggest that they belong to a distinct species. This species shows only slight and minimal variation in overall colour (from light to dark yellow-brown) and sculpturing (in the density of punctations on the head and dorsal mesosoma). Additionally, no geographic pattern is apparent in this variation and it seems to be randomly distributed geographically. However, the species does show considerable variation in body size. For example, numerous workers from Mt. Bartle Frere, Queensland, are consistently larger than any other known specimens while specimens from Mt. Webb Nat. Pk, Queensland, are distinctly smaller. But while these specimens differ in size they are essentially identical in all other characters to more typical specimens placed in this taxon with no indication that they represent a separate species.

Type Material


Anterolateral corners of head, near mandibular insertions, rounded and lacking a tooth. Dorsal pronotal sculpturing consisting of small closely spaced foveae which contrast markedly with the widely spaced foveae on the mesonotum and propodeum. Foveae on dorsum of propodeum varying across its width (weakest medially, stronger laterally). Lateral mesosomal sculpturing consisting of small, widely spaced foveae on pronotum and anterior region of mesopleuron, ventral regions of mesopleuron and propodeum weakly striate, posterodorsal region of mesopleuron and majority of propodeum smooth. Fenestra present within subpetiolar process. Colour pale yellow to yellow-red, queens generally slightly darker.

Measurements. (n=19) CI 72–78; HL 0.46–0.63; HW 0.35–0.47; ML 0.56–0.73; PetL 0.15–0.19; PetW 0.22–0.28; PI 131–165; SI 64–73; SL 0.24–0.34; T1W 0.32–0.41.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Andersen A. N., M. Houadria, M. Berman, and M. van der Geest. Rainforest ants of the Tiwi Islands: a remarkable centr of endemism in Australia's monsoonal tropics. Insectes Sociaux 59: 433-441.
  • Burwell C.J., and A. Nakamura. 2011. Distribution of ant speces along an altitudinal transect in continuous rainforest in subtropical Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum -Nature 55(2): 391-411.
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Shattuck, S. O. 2008. Revision of the ant genus Prionopelta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Indo-Pacific region. Zootaxa 1846:21-34.