Rasopone lunaris

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Rasopone lunaris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Rasopone
Species: R. lunaris
Binomial name
Rasopone lunaris
(Emery, 1896)

Pachycondyla lunaris casent0178179 profile 1.jpg

Pachycondyla lunaris casent0178179 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

From Mackay and Mackay (2010): Most specimens have been collected from extractions of leaf litter or from a laminate fungus. Specimens have also been collected in pitfall traps. Dealate females were collected in June (Costa Rica).


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): Rasopone lunaris is nearly identical to Rasopone ferruginea. It differs in having a rectangular-shaped petiole (as seen from the side) with the anterior and posterior faces being nearly parallel (the petiole of the worker and female of R. ferruginea is narrowed towards the apex).

Pachycondyla lunaris is similar to Rasopone rupinicola, differing in being smaller (total length of R. rupinicola is about 7 mm) and in having a shorter scape (the scape of R. rupinicola extends significantly past the posterior lateral corner of the head). The color and the circular shaped propodeal spiracle would separate R. lunaris from all of the others in the genus.

Rasopone lunaris could be confused with Mayaponera longidentata. The form of the mandible can easily separate it, the dorsum of which is striate (smooth in M. longidentata) and the apical mandibular tooth is only slightly longer than the subapical tooth (apical tooth much longer in M. longidentata). Additionally the eye of R. lunaris is relatively large (> 0.1 mm maximum diameter) as compared to the tiny eye of M. longidentata; and the subpetiolar process has a posteriorly directed flange or lobe (absent in M. longidentata).

Keys including this Species


Widespread in tropical South America.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 9.115° to -29.65°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay (type locality), Trinidad and Tobago.

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.


Rasopone lunaris occurs in lowland rain forest, primary wet forest, second growth rain forest, a clearing in a secondary forest, cloud forest, ridge forest and oak forest; between 40 and 1850 meters elevation. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)





Rasopone cubitalis

Rasopone politognatha

Rasopone cryptergates

Rasopone pluviselva

Rasopone guatemalensis

Rasopone minuta

Rasopone minuta

Rasopone panamensis

Rasopone lunaris

Rasopone costaricensis

Rasopone ferruginea

Rasopone mesoamericana

Rasopone subcubitalis

Relationships among selected species of Rasopone by Longino & Branstetter (2020). Undescribed species included by Longino & Branstetter have been excluded here.


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

  • lunaris. Ponera lunaris Emery, 1896g: 55, pl. 1, fig. 12 (w.) PARAGUAY.
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Paraguay: (no further data) (Balzan).
    • Type-depository: Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa.
    • Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 445 (q.).
    • Combination in Pachycondyla (Pachycondyla): Emery, 1901a: 45;
    • combination in Euponera (Trachymesopus): Emery, 1911d: 85;
    • combination in Trachymesopus: Kempf, 1960f: 424;
    • combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 307;
    • combination in Rasopone: Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, 2014: 210.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 85; Kempf, 1960f: 427; Kempf, 1961b: 496; Kempf, 1972a: 251; Kempf & Lenko, 1976: 55; Bolton, 1995b: 307; Wild, 2002: 10; Wild, 2007b: 40; Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 444 (redescription); Branstetter & Sáenz, 2012: 263; Feitosa, 2015c: 99; Fernández & Guerrero, 2019: 544; Longino & Branstetter, 2020: 23.
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela.

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



From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The worker is small (total length 4 - 5.5 mm) dark reddish brown with reddish brown appendages. The mandibles are finely striate and shiny, the remainder of the ant is dull. The head length is 1.3 mm; the head width 1.1 mm. The anterior border of the clypeus is broadly convex with the medial part being straight or even slightly concave. The eyes are relatively small (maximum diameter 0.15 mm) and are located less then one maximum diameter from the anterior edge of the head (side view) and contain approximately 40 ommatidia. The scapes are relatively short and fail to reach the posterior lateral corner of the head by at least one maximum diameter of the scape. The posterior border of the head is broadly concave. The mesosoma is short and robust, the pronotal shoulder lacks any sign of a carina, the mesosoma is weakly depressed at the metanotal suture, which is poorly marked dorsally and the propodeal spiracle is circular. The petiole is rectangular-shaped with the anterior and posterior faces being nearly parallel, forming a rounded blunt apex. The gaster is angulate anteriorly with the anterior face and the posterior face of the postpetiole meeting at nearly a right angle. The stridulatory file is absent on the second pretergite, as are the arolia between the tarsal claws.

Erect hairs are sparse with a few present on the clypeus and shaft of the scape, very few are present on the dorsum of the head or posterior margin, a few are present on the dorsum of the mesosoma, dorsum of the petiole, on the subpetiolar process and all surfaces of the gaster. Very few erect and suberect hairs are present on the legs. Fine golden appressed pubescence is present on nearly all surfaces, but is only obvious on the dorsum and sides of the head, dorsum of the mesosoma and all surfaces of the gaster.

The mandibles are dull and completely striate, a furrow is present near the base, the head is punctate, the mesosoma, front of the petiole and sides are punctate and dull, the posterior face is somewhat shining, the gaster is finely punctate and glossy.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): The female (undescribed) is approximately the same size as the worker and differs in having three ocelli and a larger eye, which is separated from the anterior edge of the head (side view) by less then one half of the maximum diameter and contains over 100 ommatidia. The mesosoma is also robust and short and contains vestiges of the wings, the propodeal spiracle is circular in shape. The anterior and posterior faces of the petiole are nearly parallel and the apex is formed into a blunt rounded surface. The remainder is as in the worker.


From Mackay and Mackay (2010): Males are not known for this species.


The name of this species is from the Latin word luna and refers to the moon-shaped petiole as seen from above. (Mackay and Mackay 2010)


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Branstetter M. G. and L. Sáenz. 2012. Las hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) de Guatemala. Pp. 221-268 in: Cano E. B. and J. C. Schuster. (eds.) 2012. Biodiversidad de Guatemala. Volumen 2. Guatemala: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, iv + 328 pp
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Fernández F., and T. M. Arias-Penna. 2008. Las hormigas cazadoras en la región Neotropical. Pp. 3-39 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano, F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp.
  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Franco W., N. Ladino, J. H. C. Delabie, A. Dejean, J. Orivel, M. Fichaux, S. Groc, M. Leponce, and R. M. Feitosa. 2019. First checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of French Guiana. Zootaxa 4674(5): 509-543.
  • Groc S., J. H. C. Delabie, F. Fernandez, F. Petitclerc, B. Corbara, M. Leponce, R. Cereghino, and A. Dejean. 2017. Litter-dwelling ants as bioindicators to gauge the sustainability of small arboreal monocultures embedded in the Amazonian rainforest. Ecological Indicators 82: 43-49.
  • Kempf W. W. 1960. Miscellaneous studies on Neotropical ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Studia Entomologica (n.s.)3: 417-466.
  • Kempf W. W. 1961. A survey of the ants of the soil fauna in Surinam (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 4: 481-524.
  • Kempf W. W., and K. Lenko. 1976. Levantamento da formicifauna no litoral norte e ilhas adjacentes do Estado de São Paulo, Brasil. I. Subfamilias Dorylinae, Ponerinae e Pseudomyrmecinae (Hym., Formicidae). Studia Entomologica 19: 45-66.
  • Kempf, W.W. 1972. Catalago abreviado das formigas da regiao Neotropical (Hym. Formicidae) Studia Entomologica 15(1-4).
  • Mackay, W.P. and E.E. MacKay. 2010. The systematics and biology of the New World ants of the genus Pachycondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press Lewiston, NY
  • Rosa da Silva R. 1999. Formigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) do oeste de Santa Catarina: historico das coletas e lista atualizada das especies do Estado de Santa Catarina. Biotemas 12(2): 75-100.
  • Silvestre R., M. F. Demetrio, and J. H. C. Delabie. 2012. Community Structure of Leaf-Litter Ants in a Neotropical Dry Forest: A Biogeographic Approach to Explain Betadiversity. Psyche doi:10.1155/2012/306925
  • Ulyssea M.A., C. E. Cereto, F. B. Rosumek, R. R. Silva, and B. C. Lopes. 2011. Updated list of ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) recorded in Santa Catarina State, southern Brazil, with a discussion of research advances and priorities. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 55(4): 603-–611.
  • Wild, A. L. "A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)." Zootaxa 1622 (2007): 1-55.