Aphaenogaster iranica

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Aphaenogaster iranica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species: A. iranica
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster iranica
Kiran & Alipanah, 2013



Holotype Specimen Label

The holotype specimen was found in mixed pome fruit orchards (apple and pear) and observed on the bark of an apple tree. All of the paratypes were collected in morning before sunrise by hand from arid areas around human habitations.


kiran et al. (2013) - We have placed Aphaenogaster iranica in the rothneyi species-group based on the following features: its slender body, elongated head with almost parallel sides in front of the eyes, length of funicular segments (segments 2–6 nearly 3 times longer than broad), and generally reduced body sculpture. In detail, A. iranica differs from other known species from Iran (see key) and from other species in the rothneyi group by the following features. The head of A. iranica is concolorous with the mesosoma. The mesosoma is generally smooth and shiny; only the sides of the mesosoma are distinctly punctate, and the propodeum has very fine transverse striation. Propodeal spines are short, the length only 2/5 of the distance between their tips, and directed mostly upwards; mesonotum anteriorly without tubercles; whole body without decumbent pilosity (present only on the four apical funicular joints). In contrast, the head of A. rothneyi is darker than the mesosoma; the whole mesosoma is subopaque, finely reticulated and striated, the propodeum coarsely transversely rugulose. The propodeal spines are quite long, as long as the distance between their tips, and directed backwards; the mesonotum anteriorly with tubercles; the whole body with sparse decumbent pilosity.

Aphaenogaster iranica resembles Aphaenogaster cristata. The mesonotum of A. iranica is raised above the level of pronotum in profile, and the postpetiole is only slightly longer than broad. In contrast the mesonotum of A. cristata has, in the middle of its anterior margin, a raised transverse crest-like pinched projection, and the postpetiole is almost twice as long as broad.

The other closely related species, Aphaenogaster januschevi, has a mesonotum only slightly raised above the level of the pronotum in profile, the dorsum of mesonotum with longitudinal striae, and a deep metanotal groove, while the mesonotum of A. iranica is strongly raised above the level of pronotum in profile, the dorsum of the mesonotum has only a few posterior striae, and a shallow metanotal groove.

Aphaenogaster iranica also distinctly differs from Aphaenogaster tipuna and Aphaenogaster fabulosa by the distinctly longer funicular segments 2–6, which are nearly 3 times as long as broad (less than 2 times longer than broad in A. tipuna, and not more than 2.5 times in A. fabulosa). Additionally, the petiole and postpetiole of A. iranica are distinctly lower than in both these species.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Iran (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Known only from the worker caste.


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

  • iranica. Aphaenogaster iranica Kiran & Alipanah, in Kiran, Alipanah & Paknia, 2013: 46, figs. 1-2 (w.) IRAN.
    • Status as species: Borowiec, L. 2014: 13.

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



Measurements: HL 1.15-1.43 (1.43); HW 0.81-0.98 (0.95); FW 0.20-0.26 (0.26); FLW 0.28-0.31 (0.30); SL 1.58-1.79 (1.79); AL 1.75-2.13 (2.13); HTL 1.25-1.67 (1.67); PNW 0.54-0.70 (0.70); PL 0.46-0.58 (0.51); PPL 0.30-0.35 (0.34); PW 0.18-0.22 (0.22); PPW 0.25-0.30 (0.30); PH 0.26-0.33 (0.30); PPH 0.25-0.30 (0.30); ESL 0.10-0.15 (0.10); ESD 0.18-0.24 (0.22); CI 143-150 (150); FI 25-27 (27); FLI 119-127 (119); SI1 126-132 (126); SI2 188-191 (188); PI 167-184 (168); PPI 112-121 (112); ESLI 10-15 (10); ESDI 157-225 (225); HTI 153-176 (176) (n=4; all measurements are in mm. Measurements of holotype are shown in brackets.)

Head distinctly longer than broad in full-face view, almost oval, broadest in front of eyes and with almost parallel sides here; behind eye sides gradually curving to the occipital margin, occipital corners indistinct. Frontal carina short, barely reaching anterior level of eyes. Anterior margin of the clypeus with shallow median notch. Eyes relatively small, situated at the middle of the head. Mandibles elongate-triangular, longitudinally striated, masticatory margin with 7 uneven teeth. Scape long, surpassing occipital margin by 1/3 of its length. Funicular segments 2–6, nearly 3 times longer than broad, antennal club indistinct.

Head surface shiny, dorsum of head weakly sculptured anteriorly, sculpture gradually reduced towards occiput, which is completely smooth and shiny. Genae with fine longitudinal striae, running to the upper level of eyes. Frontal triangle dull, with 2 longitudinal striae. Central part of clypeus delineated by very weak and sparse longitudinal striae.

Mesosoma long and slender. Mesonotum distinctly rises above the level of pronotum in profile, metanotal groove shallow. Propodeal spines stout, widest at the base; length 2/5 the distance between their tips. Pronotum smooth and shiny. Mesonotum shiny, mesopleuron punctate. Mesonotum with antero-dorsal part smooth, postero-dorsal part with a few irregular longitudinal striae. Antero-dorsal surface of propodeum with a few weak transverse striae, the rest of propodeum smooth. Petiole low, with long peduncle, its node narrower than postpetiole, postpetiole only a little longer than broad. Anterior surface of petiole concave in profile, posterior one convex, these two surfaces merge into a distinct antero-dorsal edge. Both petiole and postpetiole smooth and quite shiny. Base of first gastral tergite longitudinally striate; the rest of gaster smooth and shiny.

All smooth parts of head, mesosoma and anterior part of first gastral tergite with fine superficial reticulation (can be seen only with 80x magnification).

Except for apical funicular segments body without pubescence. Hairs on the body very sparse, long and white. Scape and tibia with decumbent hairs. Gaster with 4-5 long hairs, only at the posterior margins of each segment. Colour yellowish brown to reddish brown, head and mesosoma somewhat darker, scape and legs lighter.

Type Material

Holotype–worker: Iran, Khorāsān-e Razavi Province, Mashhad, Shāndiz, 985m a.s.l., N36° 24’, E 59° 19’, 15.V.1999, No: 29-22 (leg. M. Ghāsemi). Holotype was found in mixed pome fruit orchards (apple and pear) and observed on the bark of an apple tree. Paratypes: 4 workers, Iran, Semnan Province, Khoshyeylāgh, Beh-Cheshmeh station, 1554m a.s.l., N36° 43’ 30.14”, E 55° 22’ 30.09”, 09.VI.2007, No: 1954 and 1978 (leg. O. Paknia). All paratypes were collected in morning before sunrise by hand from arid areas around human habitations.

The holotype is deposited in the Collection of the Biological Department of the Trakya University, Edirne, Turkey (TU); one paratype is deposited in the National Museum of Natural History, Tehran, Iran. Three paratypes are deposited in the private collection of the last author (OP).


Named after Iran, where it was found.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Borowiec L. 2014. Catalogue of ants of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and adjacent regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Genus (Wroclaw) 25(1-2): 1-340.
  • Kiran K., H. Alipanah, and O. Paknia. 2013. A new species of the ant genus Aphaenogaster Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Iran. Asian Myrmecology 5: 45-51.