Centromyrmex feae

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Centromyrmex feae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Centromyrmex
Species: C. feae
Binomial name
Centromyrmex feae
(Emery, 1889)

Centromyrmex feae casent0102120 profile 1.jpg

Centromyrmex feae casent0102120 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Centromyrmex feae is a subterranean species occurring in forest habitats. Workers are often collected from rotting logs and termite mounds, suggesting C. feae is termitophagous. (Eguchi 2014)

Photo Gallery

  • Centromyrmex feae from Kerala, India. Photo by Kalesh Sadasivan.‎
  • Worker from Kerala, India. Photo by Kalesh Sadasivan.


A member of the feae species group / Key to Centromyrmex species groups


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Philippines.
Oriental Region: Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar (type locality), Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


All of the species in the genus appear to be termitophagous and all are superbly adapted to this specialised predatory life style. Observations of some species have found them to be rather helpless when placed in an exposed, open situation. Weber described what happened when he found a worker “just beneath the soil surface under a thin cover of dead leaves”. The ant was “completely helpless when exposed to the daylight and writhed about when placed on the ground or in my palm. It made no attempt to run away, curling and uncurling without stinging, though it had a long, stout sting”. In other words, it seemed unable to walk when removed from its specialised habitat and placed on a surface where it could not use its specialised legs. If not discovered within a termite nest, individuals are occasionally found in the top soil or the root-mat below the leaf litter layer, where their short, powerful, spiny legs facilitate their movement. (Weber 1949, Bolton and Fisher 2008).



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

  • feae. Spalacomyrmex feae Emery, 1889b: 491, pl. 10, figs. 11-15 (w.) MYANMAR. Forel, 1900d: 303 (q.m.); Wheeler, W.M. 1936d: 207 (m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1952c: 604 (l.); Imai, et al. 1984: 5 (k.). Combination in Centromyrmex: Emery, 1890b: 40 (footnote). Senior synonym of donisthorpei: Brown, 1955f: 103. Current subspecies: nominal plus ceylonicus, greeni.
  • donisthorpei. Centromyrmex donisthorpei Menozzi, 1925c: 443, fig. 4 (q.) PHILIPPINES. Junior synonym of feae: Brown, 1955f: 103.

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


Rufo-testacea, nitida, haud pubescens, pilis setiformibus, curvatis hirsuta. Caput subquadratum, punctis foveiformibus, magnis, piligeris sparse impressum (infra postice sine punctis), linea frontali profunda, postice abbreviata, genis longitudinaliter rugulosis. Mandibulae laeves, sparse, subtilissime punctatae, mat'gine masticatorio circiter 12-denticulato, basi sulco obliquo in margine externo evanescente (fere ut in Ponera sulcata et affinibus). Clypeus lateribus subtiliter rugoso-punctatus, impressione media laevi. Antennarum flagelli articulus 1 longitudine duorum sequentium, 2-7 breviores quam crassiores, ultimus longitudine duorum praecedentium. Thorax pronoti disco curvatim rugoso, mesonoti dorso planato, grosse punctato, metanoto fere sine punctis magnis, sed subtilissime reticulato, subopaco, superficie declivi convexa, nitida, sublaevi. Pedunculus et abdomen nitida, punctis piligeris subtilioribus. Pedes nitidi, punctis piligeris. Long. 4 1/2-5 mm.

type Specimen Labels


  • 2n = 44, karyotype = 14M+30A (India) (Imai et al., 1984).


  • Bolton, B. and B. L. Fisher. 2008c. Afrotropical ants of the ponerine genera Centromyrmex Mayr, Promyopias Santschi gen. rev. and Feroponera gen. n., with a revised key to genera of African Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1929: 1-37. PDF
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1955f. The ant Centromyrmex donisthorpei Menozzi, a synonym. Psyche (Camb.) 62: 103 (page 103, Senior synonym of donisthorpei)
  • Emery, C. 1889c. Formiche di Birmania e del Tenasserim raccolte da Leonardo Fea (1885-87). [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 27[=(2)(7): 485-512 (page 491, pl. 10, figs. 11-15 worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1890c. Studii sulle formiche della fauna neotropica. Bull. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 22: 38-80 (page 40, (footnote) Combination in Centromyrmex)
  • Forel, A. 1900f. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part VII. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 13: 303-332 (page 303, queen, male described)
  • Eguchi, K., Bui, T.V. and Yamane, S. 2014. Generic Synopsis of the Formicidae of Vietnam (Insecta: Hymenoptera), Part II - Cerapachyinae, Aenictinae, Dorylinae, Leptanillinae, Amblyoponinae, Ponerinae, Ectatomminae and Ponerinae. Zootaxa. 3860:1–46.
  • Imai, H. T.; Baroni Urbani, C.; Kubota, M.; Sharma, G. P.; Narasimhanna, M. H.; Das, B. C.; 1984. Karyological survey of Indian ants. Jpn. J. Genet. 59: 1-32 (page 5, karyotype described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1952c. The ant larvae of the subfamily Ponerinae - Part II. Am. Midl. Nat. 48: 604-672 (page 604, larva described)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1936e. Ecological relations of ponerine and other ants to termites. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 71: 159-243 (page 207, male described)