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Protanilla rafflesi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Leptanillinae
Tribe: Anomalomyrmini
Genus: Protanilla
Taylor, 1990
Type species
Protanilla rafflesi
13 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Protanilla rafflesi casent0102375 profile 1.jpg

Protanilla rafflesi

Protanilla rafflesi casent0102375 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Placement

  (1 species)

  (3 species)

  (13 species)

  (47 species)

  (2 species)

Based on Ward & Fisher, 2016. The genera Noonilla, Phaulomyrma and Scyphodon are excluded as they have yet to be studied in detail.

Protanilla usually occur in well-developed forests but can sometimes be found along forest edges. They nest in rotten wood fragments and in soil (Vietnam, Eguchi et al 2014). In Borneo colonies, complete with dealate queens, were found in very rotten wood (one log, one partially buried stump) which were in an advanced stage of decay, the bulk of the colony being in the soil-wood layer immediately above the underlying clay soil.


Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Man et al (2017) - Protanilla beijingensis represents the northernmost record of the genus Protanilla and is the first collection of the genus recorded in the Palaearctic of China.

Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


It is unclear if these ants are rare or woefully undersampled. The genus is one of those ant taxa that lives a subterranean existence and myrmecologists have yet to implement adaquate techniques to sample the world's underground ant fauna. The most recently discovery species, Protanilla beijingensis, was taken from a subterranean pitfall trap using a sampler that could prove useful for future surveys.



Worker Morphology

  • Antennal segment count: 12
  • Antennal club: absent
  • Palp formula: 4,1
  • Total dental count: 4-20
  • Spur formula: 0, 1 pectinate
  • Eyes: absent
  • Scrobes: absent
  • Sting: present

Male Morphology

 • Caste unknown


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

  • PROTANILLA [Leptanillinae: Anomalomyrmini]
    • Protanilla Taylor, in Bolton, 1990b: 279. Type-species: Protanilla rafflesi Taylor, in Bolton, 1990b: 279, by original designation.
    • Protanilla in Leptanillinae: Anomalomyrmini: Bolton, 1990b: 279; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990: 12; Kugler, C. 1992: 107; Bolton, 1994: 70; Bolton, 2003: 152.
    • Protanilla as genus: all authors.
    • Protanilla as senior synonym of Furcotanilla: Hsu, et al. 2017: 119, 128.
    • Protanilla catalogues: Bolton, 1995b: 369.
  • FURCOTANILLA [junior synonym of Protanilla]
    • Furcotanilla Xu, 2012c: 481. Type-species: Protanilla furcomandibula Xu & Zhang, 2002: 140, by original designation.
    • Furcotanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini: Xu, 2012c: 482.
    • Furcotanilla junior synonym of Protanilla: Hsu, et al. 2017: 119.


  • Aswaj, P., Anoop, K., Priyadarsanan, D.R. 2020. First record of the rarely collected ant Protanilla gengma Xu, 2012 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Leptanillinae) from the Indian subcontinent. Check List 16, 1621–1625 (doi:10.15560/16.6.1621).
  • Bharti, H. & Akbar, S.A. 2015. First record of genus Protanilla from India with description of a new species. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology 18: 573-576.
  • Billen, J., Bauweleers, E., Hashim, R.& Ito, F. 2013.Survey of the exocrine system in Protanilla wallacei (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Arthropod Structure & Development 42, 173-183.
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 70, Protanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini)
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 369, Protanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 152, Protanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini)
  • Borowiec, M.L., Schulz, A., Alpert, G.D. & Baňař, P. 2011. Discovery of the worker caste and description of two new species of Anomalomyrma with unique abdominal morphology. Zootaxa 2810: 1-14.
  • Eguchi, K., Bui, T.V. and Yamane, S. 2014. Generic Synopsis of the Formicidae of Vietnam (Insecta: Hymenoptera), Part II - Cerapachyinae, Aenictinae, Dorylinae, Leptanillinae, Amblyoponinae, Ponerinae, Ectatomminae and Ponerinae. Zootaxa. 3860:1–46.
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 12, Protanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini)
  • Hsu, P.-W., Hsu, F.-C., Hsiao, Y. & Lin, C.-C. 2017. Taxonomic notes on the genus Protanilla from Taiwan. Zootaxa 4268, 117-130 (DOI 10.11646/zootaxa.4268.1.7).
  • Kugler, C. 1992. Stings of ants of the Leptanillinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 99: 103-115 (page 107, Protanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini)
  • Man, P., Ran, H., Chen, Z. & Xu, Z. 2017. The northern-most record of Leptanillinae in China with description of Protanilla beijingensis. Asian Myrmecology 9: 12 pp. e009008. doi:10.20362/am.009008
  • Taylor, R. W. 1990b. [Untitled. Anomalomyrmini Taylor tribe n., Anomalomyrma Taylor gen. n., Protanilla Taylor gen. n.] Pp. 278-279 in: Bolton, B. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Leptanillinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 15 (page 279, Protanilla rafflesi as genus; Protanilla in Leptanillinae, Anomalomyrmini)
  • Xu, Z.-H. 2002a. A systematic study on the ant subfamily Leptanillinae of China (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Acta Zootaxon. Sin. 45: 115-120 (page 118, China species key)
  • Xu, Z.-H. 2012c. Furcotanilla, a new genus of the ant subfamily Leptanillinae from China with descriptions of two new species of Protanilla and P. rafflesi Taylor. Sociobiology 59: 477-491.
  • Xu, Z.-H.; Zhang, J.-L. 2002. Two new species of the ant subfamily Leptanillinae from Yunnan, China (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Acta Entomol. Sin. 27: 139-144 (page 140, China species key)