Aphaenogaster lamellidens

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Aphaenogaster lamellidens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species: A. lamellidens
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster lamellidens
Mayr, 1886



Specimen Label


Aphaenogaster lamellidens is a common woodland species found in eastern North America, from New York south and west to Texas. They form large colonies (several thousand workers) and are ground nesting in open areas, under rocks or in or under rotten wood. Workers are general predators and scavengers, feeding on a range of living and dead insects and other arthropods.


Aphaenogaster lamellidens has dark legs compared to the rest of the body and the frontal carina has a rearward-facing tooth. (DeMarco, 2015)


Deyrup (2016) - The frontal lobe of this species is elevated to form a thin ridge that is notched posteriorly so that it projects posteriorly as a tooth. The antennal scape can fit into this notch, perhaps protecting the base of the scape, or allowing it to fold back more compactly against the head. This diagnostic character is not as easy to see as it might seem, because the head of the ant must be positioned at just the right angle for this notch or tooth to be visible. In the field, workers are distinctively colored, a dark reddish brown with pale coxae that contrast with the dark femora and tibiae. The gaster is often paler than the rest of the body. In the Appalachians, workers of Aphaenogaster fulva and Aphaenogaster tennesseensis may be colored like lamellidens, perhaps forming a mimetic trio. Foraging lamellidens are usually seen walking slowly up or down the trunks of large hardwoods.

Keys including this Species



Deyrup (2016) - New York south into Florida, west into Illinois and eastern Texas (Smith 1979). In Florida, lamellidens is known from Highlands County northward, including most of the Panhandle. Records are scattered because this species is often difficult to find without baiting a large number of trees.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 42.4604° to 27.209°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (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.




Deyrup (2016) - The following paragraph is summarized from Carroll (1975). In Florida, the nests of lamellidens are almost always in dead portions of living hardwood trees. There is some evidence that colonies may be founded in rotten logs on the ground, and these colonies either fail or relocate into standing live trees. In its range north of Florida, lamellidens colonies may be permanently in fallen logs, and may also be in standing pines, which do not seem to serve as nest sites in Florida. The shape and extensiveness of the nest depends on the preformed cavity in which it occurs. Old galleries of termites and other insects may be modified, and large holes or cracks to the outside may be sealed with wood chips, but lamellidens does not construct its own extensive galleries in sound wood. Foragers explore the trunk and large branches of the nest tree, and make expeditions to the surrounding ground, but do not forage on leaves and twigs. Workers collect arthropods, such as crickets, caterpillars, staphylinid beetles, small spiders, psocopterans, and chironomids, as well as flower petals and seeds. Alates were found in a colony in June. Mature colonies may contain more than 600 workers.

In a survey of the ants of Tennessee (Dennis 1938), lamellidens was the commonest Aphaenogaster found, except for Aphaenogaster fulva (the latter probably a combination of several species). It was collected in many forest types, up to a level of 2500 feet in the mountains, nesting in stumps and rotten logs. Dennis (1938) suggests that low temperatures restrict lamellidens to lower elevations. In North Carolina, Carter (1962) found lamellidens in hardwood, pine, and mixed forests, usually in mesic rather than xeric conditions. The species seemed to be more common in pine forests. Nests were in rotten wood, stumps, and standing dead trees. Large numbers of individuals could be found under loose bark. In Florida, I, like Carroll, have found lamellidens restricted to dead, often rotted out, portions of large, standing, live trees, always in mesic forests or edges of swamp forests. This regional difference in nest site may possibly reflect the history of Florida and adjacent areas of the Coastal Plain. During parts of the Pleistocene, the cliniate was much drier, and large trees and logs may have been confined to riverine corridors and bottomlands. Seasonal flooding could have precluded nesting in fallen logs, leaving the rotted out portions of standing trees as the only useable nest sites. As recently as two or three centuries ago, the uplands of Florida in their native state burned frequently, leaving open pine forest with little dead wood, as fallen dead trees were mostly consumed by fire. Swamp forests and floodplain forests would have been the primary refuges for lamellidens, with logs and stumps submerged or saturated during periods of high water.

Aphaenogaster lamellidens has a strong chemical repellent that is easily detected by the human nose and unpleasant to taste when specimens are aspirated from tree trunks.

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Source: antkeeping.info.



Mcz-ent00669686 Aphaenogaster lamellidens hef.jpgMcz-ent00669686 Aphaenogaster lamellidens hal.jpgMcz-ent00669686 Aphaenogaster lamellidens had.jpgMcz-ent00669686 Aphaenogaster lamellidens lbs.JPG
Worker. . Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.
MCZ ENT Aphaenogaster-lamellidens hef.jpgMCZ ENT Aphaenogaster-lamellidens hal.jpgMCZ ENT Aphaenogaster-lamellidens had.jpgMCZ ENT Aphaenogaster-lamellidens lbs.jpg
Worker. . Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Images from AntWeb

Aphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103589 head 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103589 profile 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103589 dorsal 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103589 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0103589. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Aphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103592 head 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103592 profile 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103592 dorsal 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103592 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0103592. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


Images from AntWeb

Aphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103593 head 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103593 profile 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103593 profile 2.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103593 dorsal 1.jpgAphaenogaster lamellidens casent0103593 label 1.jpg
Male (alate). Specimen code casent0103593. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by ABS, Lake Placid, FL, USA.


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

  • lamellidens. Aphaenogaster lamellidens Mayr, 1886d: 444 (w.q.m.) U.S.A. (Maryland, Virginia, Florida).
    • [Note: type-locality designated as Virginia by Creighton, 1950a: 144.]
    • Taber & Cokendolpher, 1988: 95 (k.).
    • Combination in Stenamma (Aphaenogaster): Emery, 1895c: 302;
    • combination in Aphaenogaster: Wheeler, W.M. 1913c: 114;
    • combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Emery, 1921f: 58.
    • Status as species: Cresson, 1887: 260; Dalla Torre, 1893: 102; Emery, 1895c: 302; Wheeler, W.M. 1904e: 304; Wheeler, W.M. 1905f: 383; Wheeler, W.M. 1910g: 565; Wheeler, W.M. 1913c: 114; Emery, 1921f: 58; Smith, M.R. 1928b: 246; Smith, M.R. 1930a: 4; Wheeler, W.M. 1932a: 5; Creighton, 1950a: 144; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 796; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Carter, 1962a: 6 (in list); Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; DuBois & LaBerge, 1988: 137; Deyrup, et al. 1989: 95; Bolton, 1995b: 70; Deyrup, 2003: 44; Coovert, 2005: 46; MacGown & Forster, 2005: 71; Deyrup, 2017: 49; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 282 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of nigripes: Creighton, 1950a: 144; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Bolton, 1995b: 70; Coovert, 2005: 46; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 282.
  • nigripes. Aphaenogaster lamellidens var. nigripes Smith, M.R. 1923b: 308 (w.) U.S.A. (Mississippi).
    • Subspecies of lamellidens: Dennis, 1938: 285; Smith, M.R. 1951a: 796.
    • Junior synonym of lamellidens: Creighton, 1950a: 144; Smith, M.R. 1958c: 117; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1361; Bolton, 1995b: 71; Coovert, 2005: 46; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 282.



  • 2n = 38 (USA) (Crozier, 1977; Taber & Cokendolpher, 1988).


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