Rhytidoponera purpurea

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Rhytidoponera purpurea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ectatomminae
Tribe: Ectatommini
Genus: Rhytidoponera
Species: R. purpurea
Binomial name
Rhytidoponera purpurea
(Emery, 1887)

Rhytidoponera purpurea casent0217495 p 1 high.jpg

Rhytidoponera purpurea casent0217495 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels




Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -5.333° to -28.80694°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).
Indo-Australian Region: Indonesia (type locality), 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.


This is the only species in the genus where gamergates (mated reproductive workers) do not occur (Ward 1981b), unlike the closely related Rhytidoponera confusa (Molet et al. 2008)

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: monogynous (Ward, 1983; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)
  • Worker-produced males: present (Haskins and Wheldon, 1965; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



Images from AntWeb

Rhytidoponera purpurea casent0281240 h 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0281240 p 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0281240 d 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0281240 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0281240. Photographer Estella Ortega, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by PSWC, Philip S. Ward Collection.
Rhytidoponera purpurea casent0903823 h 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0903823 p 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0903823 d 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0903823 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Ectatomma impressum purpureumWorker. Specimen code casent0903823. Photographer Z. Lieberman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MSNG, Genoa, Italy.
Rhytidoponera purpurea casent0907156 h 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0907156 p 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0907156 d 1 high.jpgRhytidoponera purpurea casent0907156 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Ectatomma impressum splendidumWorker. Specimen code casent0907156. Photographer Z. Lieberman, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MHNG, Geneva, Switzerland.


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

  • purpurea. Ectatomma impressum var. purpureum Emery, 1887b: 444 (w.q.) NEW GUINEA (Indonesia).
    • Type-material: syntype workers, syntype queens (numbers not stated).
    • Type-locality: Indonesia: Irian Jaya, Hatam (O. Beccari).
    • Type-depository: MSNG.
    • Imai, Crozier & Taylor, 1977: 347 (k.).
    • Combination in Ectatomma (Rhytidoponera): Emery, in Dalla Torre, 1893: 24;
    • combination in Rhytidoponera (Chalcoponera): Emery, 1897d: 549.
    • Subspecies of impressa: Dalla Torre, 1893: 24; Emery, 1895g: 348; Emery, 1897d: 549; Emery, 1911d: 39; Viehmeyer, 1914c: 515; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 26.
    • Status as species: Brown, 1954g: 7; Wilson, 1958d: 315; Brown, 1958g: 204; Ward, 1980: 491 (redescription); Taylor & Brown, 1985: 46; Taylor, 1987a: 70; Bolton, 1995b: 380.
    • Senior synonym of splendidum: Brown, 1954g: 7; Ward, 1980: 491; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 47; Taylor, 1987a: 70; Bolton, 1995b: 380.
    • Distribution: Australia, Indonesia (Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea.
  • splendidum. Ectatomma (Rhytidoponera) impressum var. splendidum Forel, 1910b: 12 (w.) AUSTRALIA (Queensland).
    • Type-material: syntype workers (number not stated).
    • Type-localities: Australia: Queensland, Kuranda, and Cairns (R. Turner).
    • Type-depositories: MHNG, MSNG.
    • [Unresolved junior primary homonym of Ectatomma (Gnamptogenys) rimulosum var. splendidum Pergande, 1896: 871 (Bolton, 1995b: 380).]
    • Combination in Rhytidoponera (Chalcoponera): Emery, 1911d: 39.
    • Subspecies of impressa: Emery, 1911d: 39.
    • Junior synonym of purpurea: Brown, 1954g: 7; Ward, 1980: 491; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 47; Taylor, 1987a: 70; Bolton, 1995b: 381.

Type Material



  • n = 19, 2n = 38, karyotype = 14M+ 24A (Australia) (Imai et al., 1977; Mariano et al., 2015).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1954. Systematic and other notes on some of the smaller species of the ant genus Rhytidoponera Mayr. Breviora 33: 1-11.
  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1958. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 118: 173-362.
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Chapman, J. W., and Capco, S. R. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monogr. Inst. Sci. Technol. Manila 1: 1-327
  • Chapman, J.W. and S.R. Capco. 1951. Check list of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Asia. Monographs of the Institute of Science and Technology (Manila) 1: 1- 327
  • Emery C. 1887. Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia (continuazione e fine). [concl.]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 25(5): 427-473.
  • Emery C. 1895. Descriptions de quelques fourmis nouvelles d'Australie. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 39:345-358.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Emery, C. "Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte terza. Formiche della regione Indo-Malese e dell'Australia (continuazione e fine)." Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria (Genova) (2) 5, no. 25 (1887): 427-473.
  • 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 http://www.newguineants.org/. Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.
  • Taylor R. W., and D. R. Brown. 1985. Formicoidea. Zoological Catalogue of Australia 2: 1-149. 
  • Viehmeyer H. 1912. Ameisen aus Deutsch Neuguinea gesammelt von Dr. O. Schlaginhaufen. Nebst einem Verzeichnisse der papuanischen Arten. Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königlichen Zoologischen und Anthropologische-Ethnographischen Museums zu Dresden 14: 1-26.
  • Viehmeyer H. 1914. Papuanische Ameisen. Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift 1914: 515-535.
  • Ward P. S. 1980. A systematic revision of the Rhytidoponera impressa group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Australia and New Guinea. Aust. J. Zool. 28: 475-498.
  • Wilson E. O. 1958. Studies on the ant fauna of Melanesia III. Rhytidoponera in western Melanesia and the Moluccas. IV. The tribe Ponerini. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 119: 303-371.
  • Wilson E.O. 1959. Adaptive shift and dispersal in a tropical ant fauna. Evolution 13(1): 122-144.
  • Wilson Edward O. 1959. Adaptive Shift and Dispersal in a Tropical Ant Fauna. Evolution 13(1): 122-144