Acropyga pallida

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Acropyga pallida
Acropyga pallida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Acropyga
Species: A. pallida
Binomial name
Acropyga pallida
(Donisthorpe, 1938)

Acropyga pallida side view

Acropyga pallida top view

Acropyga pallida is found in a range of habitats from dry sclerophyll and Callitris woodlands to rainforests. Nests are in soil, in litter, under stones and in rotten wood.

Photo Gallery

  • Acropyga pallida queen and male mating after recent rains, Queensland, Australia. The queen holds a gravid female mealybug, Acropygorthezia williamsi, which will accompany her within her newly established nest. Photo by Brian Cutting.
  • Acropyga pallida queen with a gravid female mealybug, Acropygorthezia williamsi, Queensland, Australia. Photo by Brian Cutting.


LaPolla (2004) - Worker: 9-11 segmented antennae; 5-7 mandibular teeth; inner mandibular margin and basal tooth margin are even with each other; no diastema between the 4th tooth and the basal tooth. Queen: as in worker with modifications expected for caste. Male: in lateral view, parameres become thinner tapering to pointed tips; digiti truncated, slightly longer than cuspi; digiti meet cuspi at apices. Compare with Acropyga ambigua.

This species can be difficult to distinguish from Acropyga ambigua, see discussion there for diagnostic characters. As defined here this species displays considerable variation in mandibular tooth number and mandibular shape, causing some difficulty in determining the boundary of this species. The two most important diagnostic characters are from the mandible: the inner margin and basal tooth margin are even with each other, and there is no diastema between the 4th tooth and the basal tooth (as in A. ambigua). When 6 or 7 teeth are present these additional teeth are found along the inner mandibular margin and smooth out the masticatory margin, making it less square in appearance in full frontal view.


This species can be separated from other Australian species by the presence of short erect hairs on the scapes and mesosomal dorsum and the small size (head width less than 0.6mm).

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 14.66666698° to -37.56667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia.
Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia (type locality), Malaysia, New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands.

Ranges from Australia, north to the Philippines, and west to Borneo.

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.

Elevation Range

Occurrence at collecting sites during elevational surveys of rainforest in the Eungella region, Queensland, Australia (Burwell et al., 2020).
Species Elevation (m asl)
200 400 600 800 1000 1200
Acropyga pallida 0-10
Shading indicates the bands of elevation where species was recorded.
Numbers are the percentage of total samples containing this species.


LaPolla (2004) - While outside of Australia only 5-toothed specimens were examined, within Australia the full range of possible teeth known to occur in this species was observed (5-7 teeth). Whether this is an artifact of collecting (most specimens examined were from Australia), indicative of a latitudinal gradient, or means there is more than one species present remains unclear and the observation warrants further investigation. Since males are known only from Australia, collections in other portions of this species' range will be helpful in clarifying questions about conspecificity.


Acropyga pallida hef.jpgAcropyga pallida hal.jpgAcropyga pallida had.jpgAcropyga pallida lbs.jpg
. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.



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.


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

  • pallida. Bothriomyrmex pallidus Donisthorpe, 1938d: 598 (w.) NEW GUINEA (Indonesia).
    • LaPolla, 2004a: 70 (q.m.).
    • Combination in Acropyga: Shattuck, 1992c: 60.
    • Status as species: Bolton, 1995b: 58; LaPolla, 2004a: 69; Heterick, 2009: 60; Pfeiffer, et al. 2011: 36; Sarnat, et al. 2013: 69.

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

Type Material

  • Bothriomyrmex pallidus Donisthorpe, 1938: Holotype, worker, Mt. Lina, Cyclops Mountains, Irain Jaya, Indonesia, The Natural History Museum.
  • Bothriomyrmex pallidus Donisthorpe, 1938: Paratype, 1 worker, Mt. Lina, Cyclops Mountains, Irain Jaya, Indonesia, The Natural History Museum.
  • Bothriomyrmex pallidus Donisthorpe, 1938: Paratype, 1 worker, Mt. Lina, Cyclops Mountains, Irain Jaya, Indonesia, Museum of Comparative Zoology.


LaPolla (2004) - (n=17): TL: 1.4-2.06; HW: 0.352-0.447; HL: 0.372-0.519; SL: 0.228-0.363; ML: 0.365-0.495; GL: 0.62-1.06; CI: 82.88-94.89; SI: 64.59-84.92.

Head: yellow; covered in layer of appressed hairs; distinctly longer than broad; posterior margin entire to slightly concave medially; 9-11 segmented, incrassate antennae; scape fails to reach posterior margin by about length of first two funicular segments; clypeus narrow, convex medially, with many erect hairs; mandible broad, tooth number variable with 5-7 approximately equally sized teeth; when 7 teeth present, additional (6th and 7th) teeth along inner mandibular margin usually smaller and found along inner mandibular margin; inner mandibular margin and clypeal margin nearly parallel. Mesosoma: yellow; in lateral view, pronotum with short anterior shelf, then rising toward mesonotum; erect hairs along posterior portion of pronotum; mesonotum variable from flat (at about level of propodeum) to rising above level of propodeum; mesonotum covered in layer of appressed hairs, with scattered erect hairs; metanotal area often distinct; propodeum flat, with layer of appressed hairs; declivity steep. Gaster: petiole thick and erect, reaching level of anterior portion of propodeal spriacle; gaster yellow; covered in dense layer of appressed hairs, with scattered erect hairs throughout.


LaPolla (2004) - (n=3): TL: 2.55-2.91; HW: 0.504-0.543; HL: 0.519-0.580; SL: 0.412-0.452; SL: 0.412-0.452; ML: 0.831-0.998; GL: 1.2-1.44; CI: 91.49-93.11; SI: 81.75-85.77. As in worker with modifications expected for caste.


LaPolla (2004) - (n=1): TL: 1.75; HW: 0.352; HL: 0.361; SL: 0.304; ML: 0.633; GL: 0.754; CI: 97.51; SI: 86.36.

Head: brownish-yellow, darker toward apex around 3 prominent ocelli; covered in layer of appressed hairs; head about as broad as long, becoming narrower toward apex; eyes large, breaking outline of head in full frontal view; 12 segmented, incrassate antennae; scape reaches posterior margin; clypeus narrow, convex medially; mandible broad with 4-5 teeth. Mesosoma: brownish-yellow; pronotum short and collar-like, overarched by mesonotum; mesonotum rounded anteriorly; dorsum flat with appressed hairs; propodeum short and low; declivity short and indistinct. Gaster: petiole thick and erect reaching height of propodeum; gaster brownish-yellow; covered in a layer of appressed hairs with scattered erect hairs throughout. Genitalia: in lateral view parameres taper to caudal points; digiti slightly longer than cuspi, with truncated apices; short peg-like teeth at apex of digiti; cuspi meet digiti at apices; cuspi with short peg-like teeth at apices.

Type Material

Bothriomyrmex pallidus Holotype worker, INDONESIA: Cyclops Mountains, Mt. Lina, elev. 3,500 ft. (L.E. Chessman) (BMNH). Paratype workers, same collecting information, 1 in The Natural History Museum, 1 in Museum of Comparative Zoology).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Blaimer B. B., J. S. LaPolla, M. G. Branstetter, M. W. Lloyd, and S. G. Brady. 2016. Phylogenomics, biogeography and diversification of obligate mealybug-tending ants in the genus Acropyga. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 102: 20-29.
  • Burwell C.J., and A. Nakamura. 2011. Distribution of ant speces along an altitudinal transect in continuous rainforest in subtropical Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum -Nature 55(2): 391-411.
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Donisthorpe H. 1938. New species and varieties of ants from New Guinea. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (11)1: 593-599.
  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Janda M., P. Matos-Maravi, M. Borovanska, J. Zima Jr., E. Youngerman, and N. E. Pierce. 2016. Phylogen y and population genetic structure of the ant genus Acropy ga (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) in Papua New Guinea. Invertebrate Systematics 30: 28-40.
  • LaPolla J.S. 2004. Acropyga (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the world. Contributions of the American Entomological Institute 33(3): 1-130.
  • Lucky A., L. E. Alonso, E. Sarnat, and J. Hulr. 2015. Ants and scolytine beetles. In: Richards, S.J. and N. Whitmore (editors) 2015. A rapid biodiversity assessment of Papua New Guinea's Hindenburg Wall region. Wildlife Conservation Society Papua New Guinea Program. Goroka, PNG.
  • 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
  • Shattuck S. O. 1992. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 21: 1-181.
  • Shattuck S. O. 1994. Taxonomic catalog of the ant subfamilies Aneuretinae and Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). University of California Publications in Entomology 112: i-xix, 1-241.