Temnothorax cokendolpheri

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Temnothorax cokendolpheri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species group: sallei
Species: T. cokendolpheri
Binomial name
Temnothorax cokendolpheri
(Mackay, W.P., 2000)

Temnothorax cokendolpheri casent0103162 profile 1.jpg

Temnothorax cokendolpheri casent0103162 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

The type series was collected in a cave in New Mexico. A second collection, from mixed hardwood leaf litter, was made from Big Bend National Park, Texas.


Prebus 2017 - A member of the sallei clade.

Mackay (2000) - This species has a 12-segmented antenna and is a small, light brown or pale yellow species in which the dorsum of the head is nearly smooth and shining. The medial carina of the clypeus is well developed, as are several lateral carinae, which converge anteriorly. The sides of the head have frne striae, which pass to the dorsum, where they are weak. The eyes are small, with about 7 ommatidia in the maximum diameter, which is equal to or less than the minimum distance from the anterior border of the eye to the insertion of the mandibles. The mesosoma is punctate, with the sides of the pronotum having striae. The propodeal armature consists of simply small angles, which are poorly developed. The petiole and postpetiole are punctate, and the postpetiole is usually about 1.5 X the maximum diameter of the petiole, although there is a lot of variation. The dorsum of the gaster is polished and shining.

Temnothorax cokendolpheri is similar to Temnothorax punctithorax, and differs in that the post-petiole is noticeably broadened, the propodeal spines are smaller and the eyes are smaller. It is pale yellow in color whereas Temnothorax punctithorax is dark brown. The propodeal armature consists of simple angles, whereas the spines of Temnothorax punctithorax are small, but developed and acute. It appears to be closely related to Temnothorax carinatus, but can be separated as the eyes are smaller (7-8 ommatidia in maximum diameter vs. 8-9 in Temnothorax carinatus), the distance from the anterior margin to the insertion of the mandibles is equal to or greater than the maximum diameter of the eye (equal to or less than in Temnothorax carinatus) and the dorsum of the head is mostly smooth and shining (mostly striate or lightly punctate in Temnothorax carinatus). The females of Temnothorax cokendolpheri and Temnothorax carinatus are similar, but can be easily separated as the katepistemum is completely striate (at least partially smooth in Temnothorax carinatus) and the propodeal spines are well developed (less developed in Temnothorax carinatus). The width of the postpetiole ranges from 1.41 to 1.67 times as wide as the petiole in the type series workers, a single worker from Big Bend National Park appears to be identical to this species, but has a ratio of 1.36. It could be confused with Temnothorax mexicanus, but can be easily separated by the pale yellow color (Temnothorax mexicanus is dark brown), and the top of the postpetiole is completely punctate (top of postpetiole smooth and shining, but posterior surface punctate in Temnothorax mexicanus). Specimens with the dorsum of the head very smooth would key to Temnothorax bristoli. These specimens can be easily separated as the top of the pronotum is densely punctate, whereas the top of the pronotum of Temnothorax bristoli is mostly smooth and shining.

This species could be confused with other light colored species in the Chihuahuan Desert, including Temnothorax andersoni, Temnothorax bestelmeyeri, Temnothorax coleenae, and ´´Temnothorax liebi++. See the discussion of Temnothorax coleenae for hints as to how these species could be separated.

Keys including this Species


USA: New Mexico, known from the type locality in Eddy Co., and a collection from Texas: Brewster Co., Big Bend National Park.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 34.156971° to 29.812°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

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.


Temnothorax cokendolpheri likely inhabits woodlands. One collection was made from the leaf litter of a mixed hardwood forest. The type locality samples are collected from a cave but it has been noted (Cokendolpher and Polyak 2004) "The colony was from the entrance drop under a rock and we consider it an accidental" and that the area surrounding the cave entrance is "a mesic-xeric conifer/oak woodland."


Known only from the type collections.




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

  • cokendolpheri. Leptothorax (Myrafant) cokendolpheri Mackay, W.P., 2000: 332, figs. 30, 100, 101 (w.q.) U.S.A. Combination in Temnothorax: Bolton, 2003: 271.

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



Mandibles with 5 teeth: anterior border of clypeus convex, clypeal surface convex, with carinae (including middle carina) poorly defined; vertex concave: eyes small, with 7 or 8 ommatidia in greatest diameter, maximum diameter usually less than shortest distance to insertion of mandible; scape barely reaching occipital comer; mesosoma without sutures depressed below surrounding area: propodeal spines consisting of tiny angles: petiole with blunt node as seen in profile (Fig. 100), anterior petiolar face slightly concave, posterior face convex, subpeduncular process well formed, with blunt, rounded tip.

Erect hairs sparse, but present on most surfaces, short (most < 0.05): decumbent pubescence obvious only on head, and consisting of few scattered hairs.

Sculpture of head fine, dorsum nearly completely smooth and shining, butwith a few fine striae on sides, striae well defined anterior to eyes and near frontal carinae, mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole punctate, side of pronotum with striae, gaster smooth and shining.

Color: light yellow brown.

Measurements: 0.60-0.63. HW 0.47-0.48, SL 0.46-0.48, EL 0.12-0.13, WL 0.64-0.66, PW 0.16-0.17, PL 0.13-0.14, PPW 0.24-0.25, PPL 0.15-0.16. Indices: CI 76-78, SI 76-77, PI 114-131, PPI 156-160.


Similar to worker in most aspects, differing in that the eye is larger, diameter about 0.7 times minimum distance to insertion of mandibles; ocelli well developed: scape reaching occipital corner; vertex concave; mesosoma large; propodeal spines well developed, length about 0.8mm: subpeduncular process well developed, rounded tip: petiole similar to that of worker, except node narrower.

Hairs as in worker, blunt tipped, some weakly spatulate, those on gaster up to 0.10mm in length; decumbent pubescence nearly absent, few hairs on head and gaster.

Sculpture slightly more coarse than in worker, dorsum of head completely striate, surfaces lateral to and anterior to eye nearly rugose, scutum and scutellum finely striate, side of pronotum and mesopleuron finely striate, propodeum rugose and punctate in intrarugal spaces, petiole and postpetiole punctate, with rugae on anterior face of petiole, transversely across top of node, on side and across posterior half of postpetiole, gaster smooth and shining.

Color: yellow brown, slightly darker than workers.

Measurements: HL 0.74, HW 0.64, SL 0.56, EL 0.22, WL 1.13, PW 0.23, PL 0.16, PPW 0.38, PPL 0.19. Indices: CI 86, SI 76, PI 144, PPI 200.


No Males known for this species.

Type Material

USA: New Mexico, Eddy Co., Hidden Cave, 25-x-1992, J. Cokendolpher, #631. Holotype worker (Museum of Comparative Zoology), 21 paratype workers (American Museum of Natural History, California Academy of Sciences, William and Emma Mackay Collection, Field Museum of Natural History, EMAU, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa, MCZC, Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, National Museum of Natural History), 1 paratype female (MCZC).


Patronym. "Named in honor of my close friend, James Cokendolpher, who has send me hundreds of interesting ants over the years, including the type series of this new species."


  • Mackay, W. P. and E. Mackay. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 271, Combination in Temnothorax)
  • Cokendolpher, J. C. and V. J. Polyak. 2004. Macroscopic invertebrates of Hidden and Hidden Chimney caves, Eddy County, New Mexico. Texas Memorial Museum, Speleological Monographs. 6:175-198.
  • MacKay, W. P. 2000. A review of the New World ants of the subgenus Myrafant, (genus Leptothorax) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 36: 265-444 (page 332, figs. 30, 100, 101 worker, queen described)
  • Prebus, M. 2017. Insights into the evolution, biogeography and natural history of the acorn ants, genus Temnothorax Mayr (hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bmc Evolutionary Biology. 17:250. doi:10.1186/s12862-017-1095-8 (The doi link to the publication's journal webpage provides access to the 24 files that accompany this article).
  • Prebus, M.M. 2021. Taxonomic revision of the Temnothorax salvini clade (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a key to the clades of New World Temnothorax. PeerJ 9, e11514 (doi:10.7717/peerj.11514).

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Mackay W. P. 2000. A review of the New World ants of the subgenus Myrafant, (genus Leptothorax) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 36: 265-444.
  • Mackay W. P. and Mackay, E. E. 2002. The ants of New Mexico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 400 pp.