AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tranopelta gilva
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Tranopelta
Mayr, 1866
Type species
Tranopelta gilva
2 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Tranopelta gilva casent0010793 profile 1.jpg

Tranopelta gilva

Tranopelta gilva casent0010793 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (2 species)

  (2 species)

Allomerus (8 species), Blepharidatta (4 species), Diaphoromyrma (1 species), Lachnomyrmex (16 species), Wasmannia (11 species)

Acanthognathus (7 species), Colobostruma (16 species), Daceton (2 species), Epopostruma (20 species), Lenomyrmex (7 species), Mesostruma (9 species), Microdaceton (4 species), Orectognathus (29 species),

Acromyrmex (55 species), Apterostigma (44 species), Atta (20 species), Cyatta (1 species), Cyphomyrmex (23 species), Kalathomyrmex (1 species), Mycetophylax (21 species), Mycetagroicus (4 species), Mycetarotes (4 species), Mycetosoritis (2 species), Mycocepurus (6 species), Myrmicocrypta (31 species), Sericomyrmex (11 species), Trachymyrmex (9 species), Xerolitor (1 species)

Basiceros (8 species), Cephalotes (123 species), Eurhopalothrix (53 species), Octostruma (34 species), Phalacromyrmex (1 species), Pheidole (1,294 species), Pilotrochus (1 species), Procryptocerus (44 species), Protalaridris (7 species), Rhopalothrix (16 species), Strumigenys (853 species), Talaridris (1 species)

Based on Ward et al. (2014), Blaimer et al. (2018) and Li et al. (2018).

Ground dwelling ants (soil, litter and downed wood) that have mostly been collected in litter samples. Little is known about the biology of the two species in this genus. Tranopelta gilva appears to be much more common than the rarely collected Tranopelta subterranea hence more is know about the former.


Fernández (2003) - Tranopelta shows a moderate type of polymorphism with “minor” and “major” workers that may differ in some characteristics, mainly in the head. Major worker with palps 4.3 (Ettershank 1966).

The following combination of characters distinguishes Tranopelta from any other ant genera: Antennae with 11 segments and a 3-segmented club, mandibles with 4 to 5 teeth, propodeum lacks teeth or angles, petiole with ventrally bifurcated carinae, postpetiole with anterior ventral process, and moderate polymorphism.

Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 100's (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: predator (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

 • Eyes: 2-10 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: NA • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent


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

  • TRANOPELTA [Myrmicinae: Solenopsidini]
    • Tranopelta Mayr, 1866a: 512. Type-species: Tranopelta gilva, by monotypy.


Fernández (2003):


[modified from Ettershank, 1966: 107): Worker. Length between 2 and nearly 6 mm. Slightly polymorphic, with simple continuous allometry leading to large-headed workers. Mandibles with four to five teeth. Canthellus of mandible just meeting the basal margin, trulleum distinct and closed. Labrum cleft, distal edge of lobes straight or rounded. Palpal formula 3.2: 4,3 in major workers of T. subterranea. Eyes poorly to moderately developed, with 3 to nearly 30 facets. Antennae 11-segmented with 3-segmented club. Head without antennal scrobes. Mesosoma with promesonotum and propodeum continuous in side view, only broken by clearly defined metanotal groove. Propodeum rounded, without spines, propodeal spiracles round, large, conspicuous. Bulla of metapleural gland bulging, with dorsal margin approaching propodeal spiracle. Propodeal spiracle ovoid to round, partly constricted in the larger workers. Petiole with differentiated peduncle and node. Petiolar spiracle situated midway between propodeal lobes and node. Petiole with dentiform ventral process, sometimes developed as a narrow spine. Posterior end of petiole with sides forming distinct carinae converging in middle of the posteroventral face. Postpetiole with distinct anterior ventral process: more or less broadly attached to gaster. Workers smooth to finely sculptured, sparsely to moderately hairy.


Larger than workers, around 12 mm in length. Antennal club scarcely differentiated. Palpal formula 4,3. Dorsal pilosity short and dense.


Size: about 7 mm in length. Mandibles with 3 teeth, touching when closed. Petiole with neither subpetiolar process nor bifurcated carinae in ventral view.


  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 383, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Stenammini)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 106, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Ochetomyrmecini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 9, 219, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 74, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae)
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Fedoseeva, E. B. 1988. Origin and early stages of evolution in ants. Pp. 70-144 in: Ponomarenko, A. G. (ed.) Cretaceous biocenotic crisis and insect evolution. Moskva: Nauka, 232 pp. (page 80, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Megalomyrmecini)
  • Emery, C. 1877b. Saggio di un ordinamento naturale dei Mirmicidei, e considerazioni sulla filogenesi delle formiche. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 9: 67-83 (page 81, Tranopelta in Myrmicidae, Pheidolidae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 770, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 41, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 192, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Ettershank, G. 1966. A generic revision of the world Myrmicinae related to Solenopsis and Pheidologeton (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Aust. J. Zool. 14: 73-171 (page 107, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Megalomyrmex genus group)
  • Fernández, F. 2003h. Myrmicine ants of the genera Ochetomyrmex and Tranopelta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 41: 633-661
  • Forel, A. 1893b. Sur la classification de la famille des Formicides, avec remarques synonymiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 161-167 (page 164, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Forel, A. 1899e. Formicidae. [part]. Biol. Cent.-Am. Hym. 3: 57-80 (page 79, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 243, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Jaffe, K. 1993. El mundo de las hormigas. Baruta, Venezuela: Equinoccio (Ediciones de la Universidad Simón Bolívar), 188 pp. (page 10, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Kempf, W. W. 1972b. Catálogo abreviado das formigas da regia~o Neotropical. Stud. Entomol. 15: 3-344 (page 255, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Mayr, G. 1866a. Myrmecologische Beiträge. Sitzungsber. Kais. Akad. Wiss. Wien Math.-Naturwiss. Cl. Abt. I 53: 484-517 (page 512, Tranopelta as genus)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 140, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 663, Tranopelta in Myrmicinae, Solenopsidini)