Acropyga acutiventris

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Acropyga acutiventris
Acropyga acutiventris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Acropyga
Species: A. acutiventris
Binomial name
Acropyga acutiventris
Roger, 1862

Acropyga acutiventris side view

Acropyga acutiventris top view

Evolutionary Relationships

Acropyga ayanganna

Acropyga donisthorpei

Acropyga panamensis

Acropyga guianensis

Acropyga stenotes

Acropyga fuhrmanni

Acropyga smithii

Acropyga romeo

Acropyga hirsutula

Acropyga dubitata

Acropyga decedens, Acropyga goeldii

Acropyga epedana

Acropyga arnoldi

Acropyga silvestrii

Acropyga kinomurai

Acropyga lauta

Acropyga sauteri

Acropyga acutiventris

Acropyga myops

Acropyga butteli

Acropyga ambigua

Acropyga pallida

Based on Blaimer et al., 2016. Note only selected Acropyga species are included, and undescribed species are excluded.

A common wide-ranging species, A. acutiventris is known to occur in rainforest and, in Australia, savanna woodlands. Nests are located in rotten wood on the ground, under stones, and in the leaf litter. This species is a trophophoretic ant that has been found to be associated with two species of mealybugs (Xenococcus acropygae and X annandalei). Queens carry live mealbugs in their mandibles on their nuptual flights, with the mealybugs providing honeydew for her newly established nest.

Photo Gallery

  • A. acutiventris worker carrying a mealybug. From Sakaerat, Korat province, Thailand. (Image by Christian Peeters)
  • An Acropyga acutiventris worker ant pulls a cocoon to safety after the photographer disturbs her nest. Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia. (Image by Alex Wild.)
  • Acropyga acutiventris dealate queen with mealybug. Photo by Manoj Vembayam.


LaPolla (2004) - Worker: 11 segmented antennae; mandible with 5 teeth and distinct ridges that run along dorsal surface; many erect hairs on head, mesosoma and gaster giving ant a "spiky appearance"; eyes prominent. Queen: As in worker with modifications expected for caste. Male: 12 segmented antennae; parameres with dense covering of erect hairs and with dorsolateral expansions medially. Compare with Acropyga rubescens.

This species is fairly easy to recognize, with the only morphologically similar species being its close relative, Acropyga rubescens. A combination of large eyes (more than 20 facets), unique mesosomal shape, and 5-toothed mandibles with distinct striate sculpture on the dorsal surface, enable identification of A. acutiventris. Separating workers of this species from A. rubescens can be more difficult, though in general it is not as hairy as in A. rubescens, is slightly smaller in total length, and the striate sculpture extends approximately across the entire dorsal surface of the mandible. Males of A. acutiventris are also less hairy than in A. rubescens, but the most reliable means to identify them is by dissecting out the penis valves, which are distinct for each species. Given the large range and morphological variability of this species, it is not surprising that so many synonyms have been created. In the past, species have been based on variation in color, overall size, head shape differences and antennal segment shape differences. Here, they are all treated as being the same of a wide ranging, variable species. Dissection of males from across the range (penis valve dissections from Australia, India, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, and the Solomon Islands) of A. acutiventris revealed no discernable genitalic differences.


Within Australia this species can be separated from other members of the genus by the presence of long erect hairs on the antennal scapes and posterior margin of the head.

Keys including this Species


Acropyga acutiventris has a large range that occupies much of the Australasian, Indo-Australian, and Oriental regions. It can be found from India east to northern Australia. It is one of the most commonly encountered species in the genus.


Limited to the Top End and northern Queensland where it occurs primarily in rainforest with a few records from savanna woodlands.

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).
Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Krakatau Islands, Malaysia, New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands.
Oriental Region: India, Nicobar Island, Sri Lanka (type locality), Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: 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.

  • acutiventris. Acropyga acutiventris Roger, 1862a: 243 (w.q.) SRI LANKA. Imai, Brown, et al. 1984: 68 (k.). Senior synonym of flava: Forel, 1894c: 418; of australis: Taylor, 1992a: 58; of carinata, crassicornis, indosinensis, javana, moluccana, mysolensis, occipitalis, opaca, papuana, undecemus: LaPolla, 2004a: 31. See also: Terayama, Fellowes & Zhou, 2002: 23.
  • flava. Plagiolepis flava Mayr, 1862: 699 (q.m.) NICOBAR IS. Combination in Acropyga: Mayr, 1862: 769. Junior synonym of acutiventris: Forel, 1894c: 418.
  • moluccana. Acropyga moluccana Mayr, 1879: 658 (w.) INDONESIA (Seram I.). Karavaiev, 1933a: 310 (q.m.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 137 (l.). Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • crassicornis. Acropyga crassicornis Emery, 1900d: 698 (footnote), fig. 13 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • australis. Acropyga moluccana var. australis Forel, 1902h: 477 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1968: 209 (l.). Subspecies of acutiventris: Forel, 1911e: 286; of moluccana: Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 108. Junior synonym of acutiventris: Taylor, 1992a: 58; LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • mysolensis. Acropyga moluccana subsp. mysolensis Forel, 1911e: 285 (w.) INDONESIA (Misool I.). Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • opaca. Acropyga moluccana var. opaca Stitz, 1911a: 370 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Donisthorpe, 1948g: 139 (m.). Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • occipitalis. Acropyga moluccana var. occipitalis Stitz, 1912: 510, fig. 12 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • papuana. Acropyga (Acropyga) moluccana subsp. papuana Mann, 1919: 364 (w.) SOLOMON IS. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1953c: 136 (l.). Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • silvestrii. Acropyga (Rhizomyrma) silvestrii Wheeler, W.M. 1927h: 100, fig. 7 (w.) VIETNAM. [Junior primary homonym of silvestrii Emery, above.] Replacement name: indosinensis Wheeler, W.M. 1935c: 72.
  • carinata. Acropyga acutiventris var. carinata Karavaiev, 1933a: 310 (w.) INDONESIA (Sumatra). Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 32.
  • javana. Acropyga (Acropyga) acutiventris var. javana Karavaiev, 1933a: 308 (w.m.) INDONESIA (Java). Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 31.
  • indosinensis. Acropyga (Rhizomyrma) indosinensis Wheeler, W.M. 1935c: 72. Replacement name for Acropyga silvestrii Wheeler, W.M. 1927h: 100. [Junior primary homonym of Acropyga silvestrii Emery, 1915g: 21.] Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 32.
  • undecemus. Pseudolasius undecemus Donisthorpe, 1949c: 756 (w.) NEW GUINEA. Combination in Acropyga: Bolton, 1995b: 58. Junior synonym of acutiventris: LaPolla, 2004a: 32.

Type Material

The following notes on V.A. Karavaiev type specimens have been provided by Martynov & Radchenko (2016) based on material held in the Institute of Zoology, Ukrainian Academy of Science:

Acropyga acutiventris var. javana

Type locality(-ies): “Depok, W. Java, Djungeln, 22.XII.1912 (Nr. 2344), zahlreiche ww von 2,5-3 mm Länge. Kolonie im Boden zwischen den Wurzeln eines großen Baumes, in der Nachbarschaft einer Termitenkolonie.— Bujtenzorg, Java, Botan. Garten (Nr. 2370), zahlreiche ww von 3-3,5 mm Länge und mm. Koloniein der Erde”.

Original Karawajew label(-s): “Acrotyga (Acropyga) / acutiventris v. javana Kar. / Buitenzorg, 2370.”.

Material: SYNTYPES, 5 w (newly mounted, IN 314/6/1), 211 w (in alcohol, IN 314/BAMS1/Karaw61).

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



LaPolla (2004) - (n=l0): TL: 2.67-3.53; HW: 0.8-0.912; HL: 0.803-0.896; SL: 0.628-0.827; ML: 0.836-1.03; GL: 0.933-1.74; CI: 91.07-104.25; SI: 78.7-97.97.

Head: yellow to light brownish-yellow; head about as broad as long; posterior margin concave; covered in a thick layer of appressed hairs, with many scattered erect hairs, especially along posterior margin; eyes relatively large, placed at lower 1/4 of head; 11 segmented, incrassate antennae; scape reaches or surpasses posterior margin by about length of pedicel; clypeus broad, slightly convex medially with many erect hairs, the longest ones along anterior clypeal margin; mandible with 5 uneven teeth; 3rd and 5th tooth (from apical to basal) smaller than others; dorsal surface of mandible with distinct ridges across surface from about base of teeth toward insertion of mandibles; slight gap present between inner mandibular surface and anterior clypeal margin. Mesosoma: yellow to light brownish-yellow; pronotum in lateral view typically with short shelf before rising sharply toward mesonotum; mesonotum rounded with many erect and appressed hairs at apex; metanotal area distinct; propodeum below level of mesonotum, dorsum flat before steep declivity; propodeum with short erect and appressed hairs. Gaster: yellow to light brownish-yellow to reddish-yellow; petiole thick and erect reaching height of propodeum; yellow to light brownish-yellow; gaster covered in thick layer of appressed hairs with many scattered erect hairs throughout giving a "spiky" appearance.


LaPolla (2004) - (n=3): TL: 4.56-5.09; HW: 1.02-1.06; HL: 0.967-1.01; SL: 0.902-0.971; ML: 1.4-1.63; GL: 2.19-2.63; CI: 102.97-106; SI: 85.09-95.2. As in worker with modifications expected for caste.


LaPolla (2004) - (n=3): TL: 2.89-3.33; HW: 0.604-0.644; HL: 0.588-0.626; SL: 0.529-0.617; ML: 1.03-l. l6; GL: 1.27-1.56; CI: 102.72-103.09; SI: 87.58-95.81.

Head: yellow to light brownish-yellow, darker around three prominent ocelli; head about as broad as long; covered in layer of appressed hairs with scattered suberect to erect hairs; 12 segmented, slightly incrassate antennae; scape surpasses posterior margin by about length of first two funicular segments; clypeus broad, relatively flat, with scattered short erect hairs; mandible with 3-4 teeth; gap present between inner mandibular margin and anterior clypeal margin. Mesosoma: yellow to light brownish-yellow; pronotum short and collar-like; mesonotum large, rounded anteriorly; mesonotum flat dorsally, with layer of shorter appressed hairs and scattered longer erect hairs throughout; propodeum lower than mesonotum and scutellum; declivity not distinct from propodeum. Gaster: petiole thick and erect; gaster yellow to light brownish-yellow to reddish-yellow, darker dorsally; covered in dense layer of appressed hairs with scattered erect hairs throughout. Genitalia: in lateral view parameres thick, tapering to rounded apices; parameres with medial dorsolateral extensions; cuspi short, bent toward approximately middle of digiti, where cuspi meet digiti with short, peg-like teeth at apices; digiti long and erect; apex rounded; digiti with short-peg-like teeth where cuspi meet.


  • 2n = 28; 29 (Malaysia) (Imai et al., 1983) (suggested Robertsonian polymorphism).


  • Forel, A. 1894c. Les Formicides de l'Empire des Indes et de Ceylan. Part IV. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 8: 396-420 (page 418, senior synonym of flava)
  • Forel, A. (1902) Fourmis nouvelles d'Australie. Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 10: 405–548.
  • Forel, A. (1911) Die Ameisen des K. Zoologischen Museums in München. Sitzungsberichte der Mathematischen-Physikalischen Klasse der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München, 11: 249–303.
  • Imai, H. T.; Brown, W. L., Jr.; Kubota, M.; Yong, H.-S.; Tho, Y. P. 1984. Chromosome observations on tropical ants from western Malaysia. II. Annu. Rep. Natl. Inst. Genet. Jpn. 34: 66-69 (page 68, karyotype described)
  • LaPolla, J.S. 2004a. Acropyga of the world. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute. 33(3):1-130. (page 31, Senior synonym of flava, crassicornis, australis, mysolensis, opaca, occipitalis, papuana, javana, carinata, indosinensis, and undecemus)
  • Martynov, A.V., Radchenko, A.G. 2016. Karawajew's ant type specimens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the National Museum of Natural History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Zootaxa 4097 (2): 244–254.
  • Roger, J. (1862) Einige neue exotische Ameisen-Gattungen und Arten. Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift, 6: 233–254.(page 243, worker, queen described)
  • Taylor, R. W. 1992a. Nomenclature and distribution of some Australian and New Guinean ants of the subfamily Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Aust. Entomol. Soc. 31: 57-69 (page 58, senior synonym of australis)
  • Terayama, M.; Fellowes, J. R.; Zhou, S. 2002. The East Asian species of the ant genus Acropyga Roger, 1862 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Edaphologia 70: 21-32 (page 23, description and key)