Tetraponera allaborans

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Tetraponera allaborans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Tetraponera
Species: T. allaborans
Binomial name
Tetraponera allaborans
(Walker, 1859)

Tetraponera allaborans casent0103239 profile 1.jpg

Tetraponera allaborans casent0103239 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Occupies a broad range of habitats including primary rainforest, secondary rainforest, montane rainforest, broad-leaved evergreen forest (in the Himalayan foothills), oak-pine forest, bamboo forest, tropical dry forest, riparian forest, mangrove, rubber plantation, roadside, and urban parkland. I have collected colonies in dead twigs of Citharexylum spinosum, Clerodendrum disparifolium, Delonix regia, Gliricidia sepium, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Mallotus sp., Passiflora sp., and Vitex pubescens. There are also records from dead twigs of Sonneratia and from leaf sheathes and twig internodes of Gigantochloa species. Some colonies in Gigantochloa leaf sheathes contain Coccoidea (A. Schellerich-Kaaden personal communication). Tetraponera allaborans undoubtedly utilises preformed cavities of a wide variety of other plant species. (Ward 2001)


A member of the Tetraponera allaborans species-group

Ward (2001) - Tetraponera allaborans workers can be recognised by the combination of (i) black or dark brownish-black body (appendages, petiole and postpetiole may be contrastingly lighter), (ii) small to medium size (see HW and LHT values), (iii) laterally marginate pronotum whose maximum width generally occurs below the margin, and (iv) relatively low, wide propodeum. In addition, the mesopropodeal impression lacks a metanotal plate. Other dark-bodied species in the allaborans-group differ in the shape of the propodeum, the margination of the pronotum and/or the structure of the mesopropodeal impression.

Tetraponera allaborans is a highly variable taxon and quite possibly (as treated here) composed of more than one species.

Keys including this Species


This is a wide-ranging species found from India and Sri Lanka east to mainland China and Taiwan, and south through Southeast Asia to northern Australia.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia.
Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Krakatau Islands, Malaysia, New Guinea, Philippines.
Oriental Region: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka (type locality), Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: Belgium, China.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb






The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • minuta. Eciton minutum Jerdon, 1851: 112 (w.) INDIA. Combination in Pseudomyrma: Smith, F. 1858b: 159; in Sima: Dalla Torre, 1893: 54; in Sima (Tetraponera): Emery, 1921f: 26; in Tetraponera: Chapman & Capco, 1951: 80. Junior synonym of allaborans (as nomen oblitum): Ward, 2001: 602. See also: Bingham, 1903: 116.
  • femoralis. Cerapachys femoralis Motschoulsky, 1863: 21 (w.) SRI LANKA. Junior synonym of compressa: Emery, 1892b: 167; Ward, 2001: 602.
  • rufipes. Eciton rufipes Jerdon, 1851: 112 (w.) INDIA. Combination in Pseudomyrma: Smith, F. 1858b: 159; in Sima: Dalla Torre, 1893: 55; in S. (Tetraponera): Emery, 1921f: 26; in Tetraponera: Chapman & Capco, 1951: 81. Junior synonym of allaborans: Forel, 1903a: 709; revived from synonymy: Emery, 1921f: 26; returned to synonymy of allaborans (as nomen oblitum): Ward, 2001: 602.
  • allaborans. Pseudomyrma allaborans Walker, 1859: 375 (w.q.m.) SRI LANKA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1956: 390 (l.); Hung, Imai & Kubota, 1972: 1024 (k.). Combination in Tetraponera: Smith, F. 1877b: 69; in Sima: Dalla Torre, 1893: 53; in Sima (Tetraponera): Viehmeyer, 1916a: 117; Karavaiev, 1933c: 260; in Tetraponera: Wheeler, W.M. 1921e: 110; Wheeler, W.M. 1930h: 61; Donisthorpe, 1948d: 592; Ward, 1990: 487. Senior synonym of compressa: Smith, F. 1877b: 69; of compressa (and its junior synonyms ceylonica, femoralis): Dalla Torre, 1893: 53; Bingham, 1903: 113; of subtilis: Dalla Torre, 1893: 53; Forel, 1903a: 709; Bingham, 1903: 113; of longinoda, minuta, rufipes, sumatrensis: Ward, 2001: 602. See also: Wheeler, W.M. & Bailey, 1920: 257.
  • ceylonica. Cerapachys ceylonica Motschoulsky, 1863: 22 (w.) SRI LANKA. Junior synonym of compressa: Emery, 1892b: 167.
  • compressa. Sima compressa Roger, 1863a: 179 (w.) SRI LANKA. Junior synonym of allaborans: Smith, F. 1877b: 69. Revived from synonymy and senior synonym of ceylonica, femoralis: Emery, 1892b: 167; of subtilis: Emery, 1895k: 464. Junior synonym of allaborans: Dalla Torre, 1893: 53; Forel, 1903a: 709; Bingham, 1903: 113; Ward, 2001: 602.
  • subtilis. Sima subtilis Emery, 1899b: 500, pl. 11, figs. 24, 25 (w.) MYANMAR. Junior synonym of compressa: Emery, 1895k: 464; of allaborans: Dalla Torre, 1893: 53; Forel, 1903a: 709; Bingham, 1903: 113; Ward, 2001: 602.
  • sumatrensis. Sima allaborans var. sumatrensis Emery, 1900d: 676, fig. 6 (w.q.) INDONESIA (Sumatra). Viehmeyer, 1916a: 117 (q.). Combination in S. (Tetraponera): Viehmeyer, 1916a: 117; in Tetraponera: Chapman & Capco, 1951: 78. Junior synonym of allaborans: Ward, 2001: 602.
  • longinoda. Sima allaborans var. longinoda Forel, 1909e: 395 (w.) SRI LANKA. Combination in S. (Tetraponera): Emery, 1921f: 25; in Tetraponera: Chapman & Capco, 1951: 78. Raised to species: Dlussky & Radchenko, 1990: 122. Junior synonym of allaborans: Ward, 2001: 602.

Type Material

  • Pseudomyrma allaborans: Syntype, 2 workers, 1 queen, Sri Lanka, The Natural History Museum; see Ward (2001) (original description also included male).

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



Ward (2001) - HW 0.62-0.93, HL 0.76-1.10, LHT 0.54-0.80, CI 0.75-0.92, FCI 0.08-0.13, REL 0.33-0.41, REL2 0.41-0.49, SI 0.57-0.65, SI3 1.21-1.53, FI 0.36-0.45, PLI 0.41-0.64, PWI 0.34-0.52, PDI 0.91-1.28, LHT/HW 0.78-0.95, CSC 0-3, MSC 0-6.

Small to medium-sized species (see ranges of HW, HL and LHT); median clypeal lobe narrow, usually well set off from the rest of the clypea1 margin, conspicuously protruding and adorned with 2-4 teeth, but sometimes reduced in size; eyes of moderate size (see REL and REL2 values); profemur relatively slender (FI usually <0.44); pronotum laterally marginate, varying from sharp-edged to blunt; in dorsal view pronotum typically, the sides weakly convex and converging posteriorly; maximum width of pronotum generally occurring below the pronotal margins; mesopropodeal impression with irregular longitudinal rugulae, and sometimes additionally with a transverse rugule, but lacking a raised metanotal plate; propodeum rather low and broad such that PDI 0.91-1.09; in an exceptional population from Sulawesi the propodeum large and inflated (PDI 1.09-1.28); petiole typically long and slender, but individuals with shorter, more robust petiolar nodes also occur. Integument moderately to strongly shiny, with scattered punctures on a background of fine reticulations and irregular lineations; most punctures on head about 0.008-0.015 mm in diameter, and separated by much more than their diameters; lower malar area longitudinally carinate; fine longitudinal carinulae may be present on mesopleuron, metapleuron and side of propodeum. Pilosity not common, long standing setae (>0.06 mm in length) present on gaster, apex of head, and as follows: one supraocular pair, 1-2 pairs (usually two) on pronotum, 1-2 pairs on petiole, and 1-2 pairs on postpetiole; much shorter appressed pubescence scattered sparsely over body, tending to become suberect on venter of head, petiole and postpetiole. Body black or dark brownish-black, the appendages frequently lighter in color (brown to yellowish-brown); petiole and postpetiole varying from concolorous with rest of body to contrastingly lighter.


  • n = 16 (Taiwan) (Hung et al., 1972).


  • Bharti, H. and Akbar, S.A. 2014. Tetraponera periyarensis, a new pseudomyrmecine ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from India. Asian Myrmecology. 6:43–48.
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 113, Senior synonym of compressa and its junior synonyms ceylonica and femoralis)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 53, Combination in Sima, senior synonym of compressa and its junior synonyms ceylonica and femoralis, senior synonym of subtilis)
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1948d. A third instalment of the Ross Collection of ants from New Guinea. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 11(14): 589-604 (page 592, Combination in Tetraponera)
  • Forel, A. 1903a. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part X. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 14: 679-715 (page 709, Senior synonym of subtilis)
  • Hung, A. C. F.; Imai, H. T.; Kubota, M. 1972. The chromosomes of nine ant species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Taiwan, Republic of China. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 6 65: 1023-1025 (page 1024, karyotype described)
  • Karavaiev, V. 1933c. Ameisen aus dem Indo-Australischen Gebiet, VII. (Schluss). Konowia 12: 260-271 (page 260, Combination in Sima (Tetraponera))
  • Smith, F. 1877b. Descriptions of new species of the genera Pseudomyrma and Tetraponera, belonging to the family Myrmicidae. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1877: 57-72 (page 69, Combination in Tetraponera, Senior synonym of compressa)
  • Viehmeyer, H. 1916a [1915]. Ameisen von Singapore. Beobachtet und gesammelt von H. Overbeck. Arch. Naturgesch. (A) 81(8): 108-168 (page 117, Combination in Sima (Tetraponera))
  • Walker, F. 1859. Characters of some apparently undescribed Ceylon insects. [part]. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 3(4): 370-376 (page 375, worker, queen, male described)
  • Ward, P. S. 1990. The ant subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): generic revision and relationship to other formicids. Syst. Entomol. 15: 449-489 (page 487, Combination in Tetraponera)
  • Ward, P. S. 2001. Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of the ant genus Tetraponera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Oriental and Australian regions. Invertebrate Taxonomy. 15:589-665. PDF (page 602, Senior synonym of longinoda, minuta, rufipes, sumatrensis)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1956. The ant larvae of the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 49: 374-398 (page 390, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1930k. A list of the known Chinese ants. Peking Nat. Hist. Bull. 5: 53-81 (page 61, Combination in Tetraponera)
  • Wheeler, W. M.; Bailey, I. W. 1920. The feeding habits of pseudomyrmine and other ants. Trans. Am. Philos. Soc. (2) 22: 235-279 (page 257, see also)