Pristomyrmex nitidissimus

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Pristomyrmex nitidissimus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Pristomyrmex
Species: P. nitidissimus
Binomial name
Pristomyrmex nitidissimus
Donisthorpe, 1949

Pristomyrmex nitidissimus castype06993 profile 1.jpg

Pristomyrmex nitidissimus castype06993 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Pristomyrmex nitidissimus.


Wang (2003) - Worker. Pronotum armed with a pair of teeth; dorsal surfaces of head and alitrunk with numerous scattered foveolate punctures; ventral surface of clypeus with a coarse transverse carina; larger size (HL 1.10-1.16, HW 1.22-1.24, and EL 0.24-0.25).

At first glance, P. nitidissimus appears to resemble Pristomyrmex quadridens, but after being compared in detail, the workers of the two species are separable as follows: P. nitidissimus - Ventral surface of clypeus with a coarse transverse ruga, lacking a toothlike prominence. Larger species, with HW 1.22-1.24, HL 1.10-1.16, EL 0.24-0.25. Basal margin of mandible with a central, broadly curved lobe. Four to five pairs of short hairs present on the dorsums of both petiole node and postpetiole. P. quadridens - Ventral center of clypeus with a toothlike prominence. Smaller species, with HW 0.82-1.02, HL 0.82-1.02, EL 0.14-0.20. Basal margin of mandible almost straight, without a distinctly convex lobe. Usually one to two pairs of hairs present on the dorsums of both petiole node and postpetiole.

A member of the Quadridens species group

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

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

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


The biology of most Pristomyrmex species is poorly known. From Wang (2003): Most species of Pristomyrmex dwell in the rainforest, foraging as predators or scavengers. An Asian species, Pristomyrmex punctatus, however, occurs in open and disturbed habitats (e.g., bare hills, agricultural areas, and beaches). These ants prefer to nest in soil, litter, or rotten wood; in rotten parts of living trees; in dead standing trees; or around plant roots.

Pristomyrmex is of great interest because it exhibits several unusual biological and evolutionary phenomena. The absence of morphologically normal queens and reproduction primarily by unmated workers in P. punctatus {=P. pungens) is a highly unusual life history in the Formicidae. Ergatoid queens, a special wingless female caste morphologically intermediate between the queen and the worker, are present in at least four species: Pristomyrmex punctatus, Pristomyrmex africanus, Pristomyrmex wheeleri, and Pristomyrmex mandibularis; two of them (P. africanus and P. wheeleri) possess both queen and ergatoid queen castes.

Simulating death, slowness of movement, and nocturnal foraging has been recorded in Pristomyrmex (Donisthorpe, 1946; Taylor, 1965; Weber, 1941). Colony size varies greatly among species, ranging from about a dozen to several thousand workers (Donisthorpe, 1946; Itow et al, 1984; Mann, 1919; Taylor, 1965, 1968).


Queen and Male are unknown.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • nitidissimus. Pristomyrmex nitidissimus Donisthorpe, 1949g: 411 (w.) NEW GUINEA. See also: Wang, M. 2003: 453.

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



Wang (2003) - TL 4.58, 4.69; HL 1.10, 1.16; HW 1.22, 1.24; CI 107, 111; SL 1.14, 1.16; SI 93, 94; EL 0.24, 0.25; PW 0.75, 0.78; AL 1.20, 1.30 (n = 2).

Mandibles with a few longitudinal rugae. Dentition of the masticatory margin of mandible: the strongest apical + the second strongest preapical + a short diastema + a broad basal tooth showing two minute points (which is formed by the fusion of two basal denticles). Basal margin of mandible with a central, broadly curved lobe . Clypeus with a median longitudinal carina. Anterior clypeal margin with a median denticle and two others on each side. Ventral surface of clypeus with a transverse ridge. Frontal carinae extending to the level of the posterior margins of eyes. Antennal scrobe indistinct, but a smooth area present below the frontal carina. Frontal lobes very weak so that the antennal articulations are almost entirely exposed. Antennal scapes, laid on the dorsal head, slightly surpassing the occipital margin of head. Eyes large. Pronotum armed with a pair of teeth. Propodeum with a pair of subtriangular short spines that are slightly longer than the pronotal teeth. Metapleural lobes each with a subtriangular apex. Petiole node with a fairly long anterior peduncle, in dorsal view longer than broad. Postpetiole in profile rounded dorsally, in dorsal view slightly longer than broad. Dorsum of head with numerous rather large, scattered foveolate punctures; space between foveolae usually smooth. Similar foveolate punctures pre sent on the dorsal surface of alitrunk, but promesonotum with a smooth, unsculptured median strip. Petiole, postpetiole, and gaster smooth and shining. Dorsal surfaces of head, alitrunk, petiole node, and postpetiole with numerous erect or suberect hairs. First gastral tergite lacking erect or suberect hairs. A few pairs of forward-projecting hairs present near the anterior clypeal margin. Scapes and tibiae with some erect to suberect short hairs. Color blackish-brown.

Type Material

Holotype worker, New Guinea: Maffin Bay, ix.1944 (E. S. Ross) (California Academy of Sciences) [examined].


  • Donisthorpe, H. 1949h. A seventh instalment of the Ross Collection of ants from New Guinea. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 12(2): 401-422 (page 411, worker described)
  • Wang, M. 2003. A Monographic Revision of the Ant Genus Pristomyrmex (Hymenoptera:Formicidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 157(6): 383-542 (page 453, see also)