Aphaenogaster ulibeli

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Aphaenogaster ulibeli
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species group: gibbosa
Species: A. ulibeli
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster ulibeli
Gomez & Espadaler, 2018

Aphaenogaster ulibeli Kg03235-4 p 1 high.jpg

Aphaenogaster ulibeli Kg03235-4 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species has been found in a Mediterranean mixed forest (Castanea sativa Mill., Quercus robur L.), nesting in the ground. Alated queens and males were found in nests early in June, and males captured in pitfall traps late in July (27th- 29th), suggesting that nuptial flights occur during summer.


Gomez & Espadaler (2018) - Regarding the worker and queen castes, both species are the only Iberian Aphaenogaster that share the combination

Main differences between Aphaenogaster ulibeli and Aphaenogaster gibbosa workers:

Aphaenogaster ulibeli worker:

  • Brownish black to black
  • Head sculpture parallel striated
  • Scape setae semi-erect in its apical third
  • Mesonotum not humped, forming a continuous line with pronotum in profile view
  • Mesopleura longitudinally striated
  • Petiole dome ellipsoidal, symmetrical, without an angle between anterior and posterior faces

Aphaenogaster gibbosa worker:

  • Brown
  • Head sculpture reticulated
  • Scape setae adpressed
  • Mesonotum humped, not forming a continuous line with pronotum in profile view
  • Mesopleura longitudinally striated - reticulated
  • Petiole dome in profile view with an anterior face straight in contrast with the posterior more curved face

Main differences between Aphaenogaster ulibeli and Aphaenogaster gibbosa queens

Aphaenogaster ulibeli queen:

  • Dark brown to black
  • Queen and worker similar in size and smaller than Aphaenogaster gibbosa queen (ML 2.29-2.37 n=2)
  • Wing relatively smaller, reaching the gaster apex when laid back
  • Upper third of the head without striae, or very reduced
  • Propodeal spines cylindrical
  • Petiole node ellipsoidal

Aphaenogaster gibbosa queen:

  • Light brown to brown
  • Clearly bigger than the worker and bigger than Aphaenogaster ulibeli queen (ML 2.75-2.92, n=4)
  • Wing relatively long, overpassing the gaster by more than half the gaster length when laid back
  • Head completely striated-reticulated
  • Propodeal spines triangular
  • Petiole node almost a scale

Main differences between Aphaenogaster ulibeli and Aphaenogaster gibbosa males

Aphaenogaster ulibeli male:

  • Promesonotum much smaller in volume than the rest of the mesosoma
  • Head with numerous semierect to erect long white setae, much longer than scape width
  • Eyes with microscopic hairs
  • Propodeum almost a straight line
  • Petiole smoothly curved, without an anterior vertical face
  • Dorsal propodeal surface entirely glabrous
  • Metapleuropropodeal suture with a transverse rugulated pattern

Aphaenogaster gibbosa male:

  • Promesonotum inflated, becoming as big in volume as the rest of the mesosoma
  • Head with scattered adpressed short setae, its length comparable to scape width
  • Eyes without hairs; Propodeum ‘L’ shaped, with its anterior face vertical, and its posterior half horizontal; Petiole truncated, with an anterior vertical face
  • Dorsal propodeal surface with abundant erect setae
  • Metapleuropropodeal suture a simple line, without any pattern

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 40.38306° to 40.38306°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Spain (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.




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

  • ulibeli. Aphaenogaster ulibeli Gómez & Espadaler, in Gómez, et al. 2018: 217, figs. 3-5, 7A,B, 8A,C (w.q.m.) SPAIN.

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



Holotype and Paratypes: CL 1.40-1.50, CW 1.19-1.30, SL 1.33-1.50, CI 0.85-0.90, SI 1.13-1.22, PSI 112.5-127.8, PSLWI 66.7-82.7, RPSI 10-17.25 (n=8)

Head: Antennae 12 segmented with 4 segmented antennal club, all segments longer than wide. Scape cylindrical, longitudinally striated, long-clearly surpassing the occipital border when laid back. Abundant greyish white semi-erect setae present in scape and funiculus, its length similar to scape maximum width. These setae decumbent in the basal zone and gradually rising to be semierect in the apical third. Head clearly longer than wide with subparallel sides. Eyes located medially, well developed, much wider than scape width and with 14-20 ommatidia in its longest axis. Mandibles triangular, longitudinally striated. Dentition with 4-5 more developed teeth decreasing in size from the apical, and 4-7 smaller denticles following to the basal line. Clypeus emarginated medially, longitudinally striated. In some individuals medial portion of the clypeus between the frontal lobes are smooth and shiny.

Mesosoma: Promesonotal line in profile view continuous. Mesosoma with clearly demarcated mesopropodeal suture. Spines smaller than the space between them, triangular, directed upwards. Metasternal process variable, a rounded lobe to sharply pointed.

Metasoma: Petiole node high, ellipsoidal. Postpetiole lower than petiole, globular slightly oriented backwards.

Coloration: Color blackish brown to black, except mandibles and tarsi, yellowish brown. Some individuals dark brown (possibly recently hatched).

Sculpturation: Overall background sculpture feebly reticulated, absent on the gaster, which is smooth and shiny. Head with subparallel striae overlapping this pattern, with some transverse smaller striae present, but without creating a reticulum. These striae becoming scarcer on the posterior fourth, where only some feeble striae reach the occipital line and the background reticulation is clearly seen. Lateral sides of head and gula with some scattered striae, but most of the surface only reticulated. Pronotal dorsum mainly smooth with some faint striae present. Pleurae longitudinally striated, that continues on the propodeum as parallel transverse striae. Petiole, postpetiole and gaster smooth and shiny, without striae of any kind.

Setation: Long, greyish white erect to semi-erect setae abundant overall including gaster tergites and lateral sides of the head down to the mandibular insertions, becoming scarcer only on the propodeal dorsum.


Paratypes: CL 1.40-1.50, CW 1.23-1.26, SL 1.20-1.26, MW 1.02-1.27, ML 2.29-2.37, CI 0.95-1.01, SI 1.03, PSI 138-175, PSLWI 64-113, RPSI 138-175 (n=2). As in worker, but with the following differences:

Head: Four apical club clearly defined. Three ocelli present.

Mesosoma: In dorsal view scutum completely covering the pronotum, with notauli present and clearly defined. Spines long and cylindrical, much more developed than in the worker caste. Wings relatively short, when laid back reaching or only slightly surpassing the gaster apex.

Metasoma: Petiole and postpetiole as in worker, slightly more peaked and some feeble striae maybe present in the posterior face of the petiole.

Sculpturation: Lateral sides of the head and gula striated. Dorsal surface of scutum faintly striated with irregular subconcentrical striae, lateral sides smooth, overall appearance smooth and shiny. Scutellum smooth and shiny with mesoscutellum feebly striated. Anepisternum and katepisternum smooth in its anterior half and longitudinally striated in its posterior half. Pronotum transversely striated.


Paratypes. CL 0.86-0.88, CW 0.82, SL 0.25-0.26, ML 2.41-2.58, MW 0.99-1.08, CI 0.94-0.96, SI 0.30-0.31 (n=2)

Head: Antennae 13-segmented. Five segmented apical club. Scape short, when laid back not reaching the posterior side of the eye. Decumbent to semi-erect setae abundant in the funiculus, more sparse adpressed to decumbent setae on scape. Head subrectangular. Three ocelli present and well developed. Eyes big, located in the lower half of the head, covering almost half the head length (EI=39-42, n=4). Mandibles feebly striated longitudinally, margin smooth and shiny, armed with four sharp teeth, the apical long and curved, and decreasing in size to the basal tooth. Clypeus emarginated, divided in two sections, the central upper section raised. Eight long, grey hairs located basally in this upper section and covering the mandibles. Clypeal sculpture weakly reticulated, but without rugulae of any kind. Frontal ridges developed, but frontal lobes very small, so that antennal insertions clearly exposed. Eyes with microscopic hairs.

Mesosoma: Mesoscutum swollen, overhanging the pronotum in dorsal view. Propodeum declivity an almost straight line (approximately 30 degrees with the horizontal) in one specimen, and with a short, vertical slightly convex face before meeting the scutellum in the other. Propodeal lobes very from reduced to non existent. Metasternal process formed by a small, blunt triangle oriented backwards. Between the second coxae and this metasternal process, another two lateral sharply pointed processes similar in size and shape. METASOMA: Petiole and postpetiole low, subelliptical in profile view, the petiole slightly pedunculated.

Coloration: Color brown to light brown, except mandibles, antennae and legs, light to yellowish brown.

Sculpturation: Head sculpture reticulated with a few isolated striae radiating from the ocelli. Some striae (2-4) between the lobes. Another 2-4 striae running on the frontal lobes upwards, some reaching feebly the lower ocellus. Scutoscutellar, oblique mesopleural sulcus and metapleuropropodeal suture with a transverse rugulated pattern. The rest of the body smooth and shiny. SETATION: Grey to white long setae present on head, mandibles, dorsal surfaces of mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole and gaster. Absent on the genae, lateral surfaces of the mesosoma and very reduced to non existent on the propodeum.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010 m 01 Mar. 2008. (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest, Nest under stone Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales: KG01985-4 Paratype workers: Same sample than Holotype. ATPC: KG01985-1, 2w], JRPC: KG01985-2, 2w], Museum of Comparative Zoology: KG01985-3, 2w. Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010m 30 Jul. 2010. (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest, Nest under stone FGPC: KG02101-2, 3w, CGPC: KG02101-3, 3w, Xavier Espadaler Collection: KG02101-4, 3w, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales: KG02101-5, 3w, The Natural History Museum: KG02101-6, 3w, Kiko Gómez Abal Collection: KG02101-7, 3w Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010m 22-24 Jun. 2007. Pitfall (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle: EY20152, 2w Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010m 27-29 Jul. 2007. Pitfall (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest California Academy of Sciences: KG02103-1, 1w Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010m 01 Jun. 2016. (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest, Nest under stone [KGAC: KG03235-1, 3w; KG03235-3, 2w], [XEGC: KG03235-2, 3w], [CASC: KG03235-4, 1w] Spain: Sierra de Gredos (Espadaler, X.) 23.vii. 1979 [XEGC: XE00200, 4w]. Paratype Queens: Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010m 30 Jul. 2010. (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest, Nest under stone [KGAC: KG02101-1, 1Q] Spain: Sierra de Gredos (Espadaler, X.) 23.vii. 1979 [XEGC: XE00200, 1Q] Paratype males: Spain: Salamanca, Camino Viejo de Candelario (Béjar) 40º 22.87’N 5º 45.43’W 1.010m 27-29 Jul. 2007. Pitfall (Sanchez, A.). Caducifolia forest [KGAC: KG02103- 2, 1m], [XEGC: KG02103-3, 1m]


Named after Ulises and Abel, first author’s sons, may the biophily be with them.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Gomez K., D. Martinez, and X. Espadaler. 2018. Phylogeny of the ant genus Aphaenogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Iberian Peninsula, with the description of a new species. Sociobiology 65: 215-224.