Zatania cisipa

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Zatania cisipa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Lasiini
Genus: Zatania
Species: Z. cisipa
Binomial name
Zatania cisipa
(Smith, D.R. & Lavigne, 1973)

The yellow coloration in this species is probably an adaptation, reflecting the fact that workers are nocturnal foragers (J.S. LaPolla, personal observation). At El Verde Field Station in Puerto Rico, during the day no workers were ever seen foraging, but at night it was one of the most commonly encountered ant species, often observed in large foraging trails with hundreds of individual workers moving on the forest floor. This appears to be a tree hollow-nesting species, as nests were observed by both Smith & Lavigne (1973) and J.S. LaPolla in living tree hollows at a height of about 1–1.5 m from the ground. (LaPolla et al. 2012)


This is the only yellow species known in the genus, and is therefore easy to identify.

Smith, D.R. & Lavigne (1973) - The long antenna of Z. cisipa resembles that of Paratrechina longicornis but has 6-toothed mandibles and suberect hairs on the antennal scapes and tibiae. It is separated from other species of Nylanderia by the long antenna, suberect hairs on all surfaces of the antennal scapes and tibiae, presence of 2 pairs of macrochetae on the pronotum, and the pale yellow coloration.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 18.45° to 18.321°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico (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.


Smith, D.R. & Lavigne (1973) - The type colony was established inside a hollow in the trunk of a living tree (Roystonea borinqueiia O. F. Cook) at a height of 4 feet. The hollow was partly filled with sawdust and/or frass, and the workers had constructed tunnels within. The colony was composed of several hundred workers, probably exceeding a thousand.



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

  • cisipa. Paratrechina (Nylanderia) cisipa Smith, D.R. & Lavigne, 1973: 184, figs. 7-12 (w.q.m.) PUERTO RICO. Combination in Nylanderia: LaPolla, Brady & Shattuck, 2010a: 127; in Zatania: LaPolla, Kallal & Brady, 2012: 206.

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



Holotype: Length, 3.3 mm; head width, 0.6 mm; head length, 0.7 mm; length of antennal scape, 1.1 mm; eye length, 0.19 mm. Head, thorax and legs pale yellow, head slightly darker; gaster pale gray, darker than head and thorax. Shining, with dilute, whitish, appressed pubescence; antennal scape with suberect, whitish hairs on all surfaces, not bristlelike as other erect hairs of head and body; macrochetae of head mostly on clypeus, frons and vertex; pronotum with 2 pairs of macrochetae, mesonotum with 2 pairs of macrochetae; each femur with few macrochetae, mostly on inner surfaces; each tibia with fine, suberect hairs on all surfaces, similar to those of antenna! scapes; macrochetae on gaster rather evenly distributed on segments.

Antenna 12-segmented; scape long, surpassing posterior margin of head by nearly ½ its own length. Eye with about 11 facets in greatest diameter, 8 facets in shortest diameter; separated from mandibular insertion by distance of about 1 1/4 its greatest diameter. Clypeal border entire, not emarginated; each mandible with 6 teeth; maxillary palpus long, 6-segmented; ocelli distinct. Thorax in profile with mesonotum and pronotum evenly curved; meso-epinotal depression distinct. Petiolar node distinct, inclined.

LaPolla et al. 2012 - (n = 6): TL 2.50–2.70 mm; HW 0.6–0.63 mm; HL 0.76–0.78 mm; EL 0.24–0.26 mm; SL 1.00–1.20 mm; PW 0.46–0.50 mm; WL 1.10–1.33 mm; PrFL 0.83–0.88 mm; PrFW 0.16–0.18 mm; GL 1.22–1.40 mm. Indices: CI 78–81; REL 30–33; SI 154–176. Overall brownish yellow, with darker gaster; head with layer of pubescence and distinctly convex eyes; scapes with dense layer of short, slender, decumbent setae; mesosoma with scattered erect setae on pronotum and mesonotum; dorsal face of propodeum gently rounded; gaster with dense layer of pubescence.


Paratype: Length, 5.7 mm; head width, 0.8 mm; head length, 0.7 mm; length of antennal scape, 1.1 mm; eye length, 0.31 mm; eye width, 0.21 mm; forewing length, 5.5 mm. Mostly pale, dirty yellow to orange with gaster a little darker than head and thorax and antenna and legs nearly whitish. Faintly shining, somewhat dulled by appressed whitish pubescence. Bristlelike macrochetae absent. Suberect hairs present on all surfaces of each antennal scape and tibia; longer erect hairs moderately abundant on head, thorax and gaster and a few on inner surface of each femur.

Antenna 12-segmented; scape long, surpassing posterior margin of head by nearly 1/2 its own length. Distance between mandibular insertion and eye slightly less than greatest eye length. Forewing with a radial and a cubital cell; no discoidal cell. Most other features as for worker.


Paratype: Length, 2.6 mm; head width, 0.5 mm; head length, 0.5 mm; length of antennal scape, 0.9 mm; eye length, 0.21 mm; eye width, 1.8 mm; forewing length, 2.8 mm. Pale yellow with head and gaster a little darker than thorax. Moderately shining, somewhat dulled by whitish appressed pubescence. Suberect hairs on all surfaces of each antennal scape and tibia. Macrochetae short, mostly confined to clypeus, frons, vertex of head, dorsum of thorax, posterior margin of each segment of gaster, each coxa, and few on inner surface of each femur.

Antenna 13-segmented; scape long, surpassing posterior margin of head by 1/2 its own length; funicular segments each longer than broad; scape equal to length of first 5 to 6 funicular segments combined. Anterior border of clypeus entire; each mandible narrow and curved, pointed at apex, without teeth. No Mayrian furrows. Forewing with radial and cubital cell; no discoidal cell. Petiolar node present, inclined; base of gaster with impression for reception of petiole. No cerci. Genitalia rather prominent; parameres fused, apically slender, digitform; with hairs; volsella with 2 digitform processes; penis valve oblong, with serrated ventral margin.

Type Material

Holotype: Worker, Luquillo Experimental Forest, El Verde Field Station (PRNC), Puerto Rico, 1500' alt., 1 July 1970 ( R. J. Lavigne), Type No. 72175 in National Museum of Natural History. Paratypes: All from same nest sample as holotype, 415 workers, 9 females, 5 males, including male and female described above. In USNM, University of Wyoming, and University of Puerto Rico, San Juan.


The species name is an arbitrary combination of letters and is to be treated as a noun.

Type Material

LaPolla et al. 2012 - Holotype worker, Puerto Rico: Luquillo Experimental Forest, El Verde Field Station, 1500 ft, 1 July 1970 (R.J. Lavigne) (National Museum of Natural History) [examined].


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Brandao, C.R.F. 1991. Adendos ao catalogo abreviado das formigas da regiao neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Rev. Bras. Entomol. 35: 319-412.
  • LaPolla J. S., R. J. Kallal, S. G. Brady. 2012. A new ant genus from the Greater Antilles and Central America, Zatania (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), exemplifies the utility of male and molecular character systems. Systematic Entomology 37: 200-214.
  • Smith D. R and R.J. Lavigne. 1973. Two new species of ants of the genera Tapinoma Foerster and Paratrechina Motschoulsky from Puerto Rico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 75: 181-187.
  • Smith D.R and R.J. Lavigne. 1973. Two new species of ants of the genera Tapinoma Foerster and Paratrechina Motschoulsky from Puerto Rico (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 75: 181-187.
  • Torres, Juan A. and Roy R. Snelling. 1997. Biogeography of Puerto Rican ants: a non-equilibrium case?. Biodiversity and Conservation 6:1103-1121.