Prionopelta talos

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Prionopelta talos
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Tribe: Amblyoponini
Genus: Prionopelta
Species: P. talos
Binomial name
Prionopelta talos
Overson & Fisher, 2015

Prionopelta talos casent0009472 p 1 high.jpg

Prionopelta talos casent0009472 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This rare ant is known from a single locality in the Anjanaharibe-Sud Reserve in the province of Antsiranana. It is found in montane rainforest at an elevation of 1260 meters. (Overson and Fisher 2015)


Overson and Fisher (2015) - P. talos can be recognized by the following combination of characters: twelve antennal segments; large globular eye which appears as a half-sphere emerging from the surface of the head, composed of several asymmetrical subunits visible under high magnification; pronounced, tricolored body with a dark brown head, light brown body, and yellow/pale legs; known only from the Anjanaharibe-Sud Reserve in northeastern Madagascar.

P. talos is most likely to be confused with Prionopelta descarpentriesi as it has a similar arrangement of cephalic foveae to some individuals of P. descarpentriesi (morphotype A). However, P. talos has distinctly shaped and larger eyes and a striking color pattern that distinguishes it quite easily from all Malagasy congeners.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -14.75° to -14.75°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (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.






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

  • talos. Prionopelta talos Overson & Fisher, 2015: 141, figs. 4A, 4D, 10 (w.) MADAGASCAR.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 6 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Madagascar: Antsiranana, 9.2 km. WSW Befingotra, Rés. Anjanaharibe-Sud, 14.75°S, 49.46667°E, 1260 m., 11.xi.1994, BLF01217, CASENT0009472, montane rainforest, canopy moss and leaf litter (B.L. Fisher, et al.); paratypes with same data but CASENT0009473, -474, CASENT0191885, CASENT0339228, -229, -230.
    • Type-depository: CASC.
    • Distribution: Madagascar.

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



(N=9). HL 0.5–0.53 (0.52); HW 0.39–0.43 (0.41); SL 0.28–0.3 (0.28); WL 0.52–0.62 (0.56); PetL 0.14–0.16 (0.15); PetW 0.21–0.24 (0.23); T1W 0.35–0.38 (0.36); CI 77.07–81.19 (79.06); PI 143.95–163.83 (152.84); SI 67.23–72.59 (69.8).

In full-face view, cephalic foveae become denser medially, so that laterally, foveae are separated by more than the diameter of one fovea, and medially, many foveae are directly adjacent and tend to form longitudinal chains of connected foveae; areas between foveae dark brown and shining; median cephalic area devoid of foveae not swelling above the surface of the surrounding integument and characterized as being widest anteriorly, narrowing posteriorly; apical tooth relatively short in length; eyes largest of all Malagasy Prionopelta, uniformly globular in shape, and under very high magnification, appear to be composed of several subunits which form a conglomerate half-sphere; both large, shallow foveae and small punctures present on pronotum and mesonotum; propodeal surface possesses only large shallow foveae; strong metanotal groove in dorsal view; strong mesopropodeal suture; distinctly tricolored body with uniformly dark brown head, tan mesosoma and gaster, and pale yellow legs and antennae.

Type Material

Holotype, pinned worker, MADAGASCAR, Antsiranana, 9.2 km WSW Befingotra, Rés. Anjanaharibe-Sud, 14.75°S, 49.46667°E, 1260 m, montane rainforest, canopy moss and leaf litter, collection code BLF01217, 11.xi.1994 (B.L. Fisher et al.) (California Academy of Sciences: CASENT0009472).

Paratypes, six pinned workers with same data as holotype (CASC: CASENT0009473; CASENT0009474; CASENT0191885; CASENT0339228; CASENT0339229; CASENT0339230).


The rich brown color of the shiny integument of this taxon inspired the name “Talos”, after the living bronze statue that protected Europa from invaders in Greek mythology. The species epithet is an arbitrary combination of letters, and thus invariant.