Anoplolepis nuptialis

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online

Anoplolepis nuptialis
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Anoplolepis
Species: A. nuptialis
Binomial name
Anoplolepis nuptialis
(Santschi, 1917)

Anoplolepis nuptialis casent0906281 p 1 high.jpg

Anoplolepis nuptialis casent0906281 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels



Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -32.8° to -34.2°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa (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.



Images from AntWeb

Anoplolepis nuptialis casent0906281 p 2 high.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0906281. Photographer Estella Ortega, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMUK, London, UK.


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

  • nuptialis. Plagiolepis (Anoplolepis) nuptialis Santschi, 1917b: 289 (m.) SOUTH AFRICA.
    • Type-material: syntype males (number not stated).
    • Type-locality: South Africa: Cape Prov., Willowmore (H. Brauns).
    • Type-depository: NHMB (perhaps also SAMC).
    • Prins, 1982: 222 (q.).
    • Combination in Anoplolepis (Anoplolepis): Emery, 1925b: 18;
    • combination in Anoplolepis (Zealleyella): Santschi, 1926a: 14.
    • Status as species: Arnold, 1922: 594; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 933; Emery, 1925b: 18; Kutter, 1968b: 206; Prins, 1982: 222 (redescription); Bolton, 1995b: 67; Bolton, 2003: 267.
    • Distribution: South Africa.

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



Prins (1982) - Wing-span about 25,2 mm; TL 11,6-13,6 mm; L 4,9-5,1 mm; HL 1,8-1,9 mm; ED 1,6-1,7 mm; CL 0,44-0,48 mm; SL 1,6-1,9 mm; WL 3,6-3,7 mm; MFL 1,9 mm; HFL 2,4-2,3 mm; PL 0,36-0,4 mm; CI 115,6-115,8; SI 76,9-86,4; CLI 291,7-318,2; cn 50,0-51,4; n 63,9-64,9; PI 150,0-260,0; HFI 63,9-64,9.

As a previous description of the female could not be traced, it is described here in more detail than in the case of the other species. Very similar to female of Anoplolepis custodiens, but lighter in colour, generally yellowish-brown to brownish-yellow, including the legs and abdomen. Chequered pattern on abdomen rather inconspicuous, although direction in which the pubescent hairs are arranged, is fairly distinct. Whole body including legs and antennae covered with an almost silvery pubescence, hairs on the antennae shorter than on body and legs. A few pilose hairs present, particularly on the head, posterior borders of abdominal segments, and on femora.

Head somewhat wider than long, slightly narrower in front than behind, the sides almost straight. Clypeus angular in middle, however, the angle not as acute as in A. custodiens. Scape of the eleven-segmented antennae extending behind hind margin of head by less than half its length. Compound eyes large, about one-quarter the length of the head and situated far back, on the posterior half as in other species. Ocelli large, larger in relation to size of head than in A. custodiens. Frontal carinae short, ending at about middle of compound eyes. Mandibles as in custodiens, with eight to nine sharp teeth, the apical ones long and pointed.

Truncus more or less as in A. custodiens, somewhat wider than head, scale of petiole varied, usually wider above than below, when seen from the rear; emargination of dorsal edge varying from obsolete to deep and U-shaped. In some specimens it is even widely emarginate on each side, thus appearing bilobed on either side of median emargination (Fig. 50). Wings more or less as in latter species, but vein m + cua of hind wing long, usually as long as half the length of cell Ia or even longer. In most specimens seen the exteromedian vein of front wings, below stigma, more sinuous than in A. custodiens or Anoplolepis steingroeveri, and with a thickening in about the third of its length from the median cell (also present in some males). Abdomen only slightly wider than truncus and therefore smaller than in A. custodiens.


Prins (1982) - Wing-span about 19,9 mm; TL 9,1-11,5 mm; L 3,9-4,3 mm; HL 1,4 mm; ED 1,1-1,2 mm; CL 0,4 mm; SL 1,9 mm; WL 3,0-3,2 mm; MFL 1,8-2,0 mm; HFL 2,1-2,5 mm; PL 0,3-0,4 mm; CI 121,4; SI 111,8; CLI 275,0; CTI 43,8-46,7; TI 66,7-68,8; PI 280,0-325; HFI 70,0-78,1.

Much lighter or paler in colour than males of Anoplolepis custodiens, usually light-brown to pale yellowish-brown, abdomen more robust than in latter species. Chequered pattern on abdomen almost obsolete due to pubescent hairs, which are not arranged in regular rows as in A. custodiens. Antennae twelve-segmented as in the other two species. Scale of petiole shallowly emarginate above; clypeus not as angular in middle as in A. custodiens, rather arcuate. Labrum as in Figure. In most specimens examined the vein m + cua in hind wing longer than half the length of cell la, and the stem of marginal (or radial) and cubital veins in fore wings long. In most A. custodiens males examined there is no stem, the above-mentioned veins arise directly from first cubital cell; in some specimens, however, a short stem is present.

External male reproductive organs

Males of this ant can easily be separated from those of the common pugnacious ant by the long gonostipes, which are almost triangular in lateral view and tapering towards the apices which are narrowly rounded, almost as in Anoplolepis steingroeveri. Penis lobes much shorter than the gonostipes, but somewhat longer than appendages of volsellae in most specimens seen. In this case the digiti and cuspides are of equal length, with the former much more strongly developed than the latter. Both structures are simple, without any denticles and, as in A. custodiens, vol sellae are somewhat globular and ventrally covered with a few fine hairs. Annular plate somewhat shorter than in A. custodiens, but wider, about three times wider than long; posterior emargination wider and shallower. Ventrally it is covered with fine hairs.

Its general characters and external genital organs indicate that this species is related to both the common and the black pugnacious ant, but it is apparently closer to the first. It is sometimes extremely difficult to separate the females of the two species.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Arnold G. 1922. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part V. Myrmicinae. Annals of the South African Museum 14: 579-674.
  • Prins A. J. 1982. Review of Anoplolepis with reference to male genitalia, and notes on Acropyga (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Annals of the South African Museum 89: 215-247.
  • Santschi F. 1917. Fourmis nouvelles de la Colonie du Cap, du Natal et de Rhodesia. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France. 85: 279-296.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VIII. A synonymic list of the ants of the Ethiopian region. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45: 711-1004