Acropyga nipponensis

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Acropyga nipponensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Acropyga
Species group: butteli
Species: A. nipponensis
Binomial name
Acropyga nipponensis
Terayama, 1985

Acropyga nipponensis side (

Acropyga nipponensis top (

Specimen labels


Common Name
Language: Japanese

A. nipponensis can survive in a wide range of habitats, occurring in both rainforests and temperate forests. It has been collected along creek beds and in soil under stones or rotting wood. This species has been found in trophobiotic association with the mealybug Eumyrmococcus nipponensis in Japan, with the mealybug living in the ants' nests and the ants feeding on the mealybugs' honeydew (Terayama, 1985, 1986; LaPolla, 2004).


LaPolla (2004) - A member of the Acropyga butteli species group. Worker: 11 segmented antennae; mandible broad, with 5 teeth, basal tooth enlarged and rectangular, apically truncated; HW: < 0.5 mm. Queen: As in worker with modifications expected for caste. Male: 12 segmented antennae; parameres extremely thin and long; mandible with 4 teeth; basal tooth as in worker though less pronounced. Compare with Acropyga butteli and Acropyga inezae.

The primary means of separating workers of A. nipponensis from Acropyga butteli is by differences in head width < 0.5 mm in the former, > 0.5 mm in the latter). Examination reveals distinct morphometric differences between the two species. Queen morphology also suggests that the two species are not conspecific. An A. nipponensis queen measured had a total length of 2.85 mm versus an A. butteli queen with a total length of 4.02 mm.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 30.359° to 1.633333325°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines.
Oriental Region: Taiwan.
Palaearctic Region: China, Japan (type locality).

From LaPolla (2004): This species has been recorded as far north as temperate regions of Japan, south and west to China and Indonesia.

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.




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

  • nipponensis. Acropyga (Atopodon) nipponensis Terayama, 1985b: 287, figs. 14-18 (w.) JAPAN.
    • LaPolla, 2004a: 39 (q.m.).
    • Status as species: Morisita, et al. 1991: 15; Bolton, 1995b: 57; Terayama, Fellowes & Zhou, 2002: 30 (redescription); Imai, et al. 2003: 83; LaPolla, 2004a: 39 (redescription); Pfeiffer, et al. 2011: 36; Ran & Zhou, 2011: 66; Guénard & Dunn, 2012: 27.
    • Senior synonym of jiangxiensis: LaPolla, 2004a: 39.
  • jiangxiensis. Acropyga (Atopodon) jiangxiensis Wang, C. & Wu, 1992a: 226, figs. 1-4 (w.m.) CHINA (Jiangxi).
    • Status as species: Wu, J. & Wang, 1995: 128; Bolton, 1995b: 57; Terayama, Fellowes & Zhou, 2002: 29 (redescription).
    • Junior synonym of nipponensis: LaPolla, 2004a: 39.

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

LaPolla (2004) - The male described in this study as A. nipponensis is associated with workers of the species originally described as A. jiangxiensis, a species now treated as a junior synonym. This male is clearly different from A. butteli and Acropyga inezae males. The paratype worker of A. jiangxiensis examined cannot be separated from workers of A. nipponensis and they are therefore considered to be conspecific. The two characters cited by Terayama et al. (2002) as separating A. nipponensis and A. jiangxiensis are suspect, for both are difficult to interpret with such a small sample size. Slight shape changes in the posterior margin and the dorsum of the propodeum were used to warrant recognition of two species, but here I treat those morphological differences as simply intraspecific variation. As male specimens are collected from across the range of A. nipponensis the status of this species should be reexamined.



LaPolla (2004) - (n=5): TL: 1.97-2.05; HW: 0.457-0.487; HL: 0.576-0.597; SL: 0.391-0.417; ML: 0.436-0.532; GL: 0.878-0.944; CI: 76.55-83.97; SI: 80.29-89.72.

Head: light brownish-yellow; covered in a dense layer of short, appressed hairs; head longer than broad; posterior margin entire to slightly concave medially; 11 segmented, incrassate antennae; scape fails to reach posterior margin by about half the length of pedicel; clypeus broad, with appressed to erect hairs on surface; anterior clypeal margin uneven coming to three points, a medial and 2 lateral points; mandible broad, with 5 teeth; basal tooth enlarged and rectangular, apically truncated; anterior clypeal margin and inner mandibular margin nearly parallel. Mesosoma: light brownish-yellow; in lateral view, with short shelf before rising sharply toward mesonotum; pronotum with appressed hairs, long erect hairs posteriorly; mesonotum slightly higher than propodeum, covered in a layer of appressed to erect hairs; metanotal area distinct; propodeum gently rounded, with appressed hairs dorsally; declivity steep. Gaster: petiole thick and erect, reaching height of anterior portion of propodeal spiracle; gaster light brownish-yellow with dense layer of appressed hairs, with scattered erect hairs throughout.


LaPolla (2004) - (n=1): TL: 2.85; HW: 0.604; HL: 0.688; SL: 0.528; ML: 0.882; GL: 1.3; CI: 90.42; SI: 87.42. As in worker with modifications expected for caste.


LaPolla (2004) - Head: brownish-yellow, darker toward apex around 3 prominent ocelli; head longer than broad; covered in a thick layer of appressed hairs; eyes large, breaking outline of head in full frontal view; 12 segmented, incrassate antennae; scape surpasses posterior margin by about length of the pedicel; clypeus broad, slightly convex medially, with scattered erect hairs; mandible with 4 teeth, the basal as in worker, though less distinct; inner mandibular margin and anterior clypeal margin nearly parallel. Mesosoma: unfortunately the mesosoma of the single examined male specimen was too badly distorted to be described properly. Gaster: brownish-yellow; covered in a thick layer of appressed hairs with scattered erect hairs throughout. Genitalia: in lateral view, parameres long and very thin, each tapering to a pointed apex; cuspi bent slightly toward digiti; cuspi apices with short, peg-like teeth; digiti straight and long, about 2 times as long as cuspi; digiti with apices rounded, each with short peg-like teeth midlength where cuspi bends toward them.

Measurements: not completed as specimen was too badly distorted to be measured properly.

Type Material

Acropyga nipponensis Terayama, 1985: 287 (w.). 1 holotype worker, JAPAN: Noboritachi, Mikura-jima Is., Tokyo (K. Masuko) (Laboratory of Insect Systematics, National Institute of Agro-environmental Sciences) [not examined]. Terayama et al., 2002: 30, description and key.

Acropyga jiangxiensis Wang and Wu, 1992: 226 (w.m.). 1 holotype worker, CHINA: Jiangxi Provin., Fenyi Co., Dagang Mt. (c. Wang) (Chinese Academy of Forestry) [not examined]; 1 worker paratype, 1 male paratype, same locality as holotype (CFRB) [examined]. NEW SYNONYM. Terayama et al., 2002: 29, description and key.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • CSIRO Collection
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  • LaPolla J.S. 2004. Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the world. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute 33(3): 1-130.
  • Li Qiao, Chen You-qing, Guo Xiao, Duan Yan, Chen Yan-lin, and Xu Zheng-hui. 2007. Diversity of ants in differents habitats in Yuanmou arid-hot valley, Yunnan. Journal of Fujian College of Forestry 27(3): 272-277.
  • Pfeiffer M.; Mezger, D.; Hosoishi, S.; Bakhtiar, E. Y.; Kohout, R. J. 2011. The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list. Asian Myrmecology 4:9-58
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  • Terayama, M., J. R. Fellowes and Zhou S.-Y. 2002. The East Asian species of the ant genus Acropyga Roger, 1862 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae). Edaphologia 70: 21-32
  • Wu Z. W., X. D. Bi, X. He, Z. X. Lu, L. J. Wei, and Y. Q Chen. 2015. Impact of continuous fire disturbance on ground-dwelling ant communities in arid-hot valleys of Panzhihua, Sichuan. Journal of Yunnan University 37(3): 467-474.
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