Strumigenys kempfi

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Strumigenys kempfi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Strumigenys
Species: S. kempfi
Binomial name
Strumigenys kempfi
(Taylor & Brown, 1978)

Strumigenys kempfi casent0280712 p 1 high.jpg

Strumigenys kempfi casent0280712 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Known from the type, obtained from a rainforest litter-sample.


Bolton (2000) - The only member of the Strumigenys kempfi-group. Perhaps the most spectacular species of Pyramica in the region, and certainly one of the oddest in the world, kempfi does not have any obvious close relatives. At first glance the gross structure of the mandibles and clypeus suggests a relationship with the capitata-group, but these features are almost certainly plesiomorphic. The unique specialisations of kempfi, and there are so many of them, render the species immediately recognisable, but make an assessment of its relationships extremely difficult. On the body the most obvious features in the recognition of this species are the massively hypertrophied spongiform lobes of the waist segments, and the presence of large amounts of spongiform tissue on the alitrunk. With only one species currently in the group it should be born in mind that close species, if discovered, may not share this character as it may be an autapomorphy of kempfi.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Strumigenys were once thought to be rare. The development and increased use of litter sampling methods has led to the discovery of a tremendous diversity of species. Many species are specialized predators (e.g. see Strumigenys membranifera and Strumigenys louisianae). Collembola (springtails) and other tiny soil arthropods are typically favored prey. Species with long linear mandibles employ trap-jaws to sieze their stalked prey (see Dacetine trap-jaws). Larvae feed directly on insect prey brought to them by workers. Trophallaxis is rarely practiced. Most species live in the soil, leaf litter, decaying wood or opportunistically move into inhabitable cavities on or under the soil. Colonies are small, typically less than 100 individuals but in some species many hundreds. Moist warm habitats and micro-habitats are preferred. A few better known tramp and otherwise widely ranging species tolerate drier conditions. Foraging is often in the leaf litter and humus. Workers of many species rarely venture above ground or into exposed, open areas. Individuals are typically small, slow moving and cryptic in coloration. When disturbed individuals freeze and remain motionless. Males are not known for a large majority of species.



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

  • kempfi. Smithistruma kempfi Taylor & Brown, 1978: 35, figs. 1-6 (w.q.) BORNEO. Combination in Pyramica: Bolton, 1999: 1673; in Strumigenys: Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2007: 122. See also: Bolton, 2000: 425.

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



Bolton (2000) - TL 1.9-2.1, HL 0.47-0.54, HW 0.37-0.40, CI 75-79, ML 0.09-0.11, MI 18-23, SL 0.30-0.31, SI 75-81, AL 0.56-0.60 (4 measured).

Type Material

Bolton (2000) - Holotype worker, paratype workers and queens, MALAYSIA: Sarawak, Semengoh Forest Reserve, ca 18 km. SW Kuching,, rain forest litter berlesate (R. W. Taylor); paratype worker, same data but 2-3.vii.1968 (R. W. Taylor) (Australian National Insect Collection, Museum of Comparative Zoology) [examined].

  • Smithistruma kempfi Taylor & Brown, 1978: Holotype, worker, Semengoh Forest Reserve, 11mi. SW Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Taylor,R.W., ANIC32-001195, Australian National Insect Collection.


  • Baroni Urbani, C. and de Andrade, M.L. 2007. The ant tribe Dacetini: limits and constituent genera, with descriptions of new species. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale “G. Doria”. 99:1-191.
  • Bolton, B. 1999. Ant genera of the tribe Dacetonini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Nat. Hist. 3 33: 1639-1689 (page 1673, combination in Pyramica)
  • Bolton, B. 2000. The ant tribe Dacetini. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute. 65:1-1028. (page 425, figs. 256, 284 redescription of worker)
  • Taylor, R. W.; Brown, W. L., Jr. 1978. Smithistruma kempfi species nov. Pilot Regist. Zool. Card No. 35. (page 35, figs. 1-6 worker, queen described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton, B. 2000. The Ant Tribe Dacetini. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 65
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Pfeiffer M.; Mezger, D.; Hosoishi, S.; Bakhtiar, E. Y.; Kohout, R. J. 2011. The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list. Asian Myrmecology 4:9-58
  • Philpott S.M., P. Bichier, R.A. Rice, and R. Greenberg. 2008. Biodiversity conservation, yield, and alternative products in coffee agroecosystems in Sumatra, Indonesia. Biodivers. Conserv. 17: 1805-1820. Data obtained from Stacy Philpott
  • Taylor R. W., and W. L., Jr., Brown. 1978. Smithistruma kempfi species nov. Pilot Regist. Zool. Card No. 35.