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Echinopla melanarctos
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Echinopla
Smith, F., 1857
Type species
Echinopla melanarctos
39 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Echinopla melanarctos casent0178497 profile 1.jpg

Echinopla melanarctos

Echinopla melanarctos casent0178497 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

  (1 species)

  (1 species)

  (41 species)


  (117 species)

  (20 species)

  (2 species)

  (783 species)

  (1,498 species)

  (14 species)

  (39 species)

Based on Ward et al. 2016.

Zettel and Laciny (2015) - The species of Echinopla typically inhabit the canopy of tropical forests. For this reason records are scarce and often based on single or few individuals caught by chance. Recently, some material was successfully obtained by tree fogging. Echinopla is among the small genera of camponotine ants. Described species are distinguished by bizarre body structures and distributed from eastern India to Australia. Half of them (twelve species) live exclusively east of Weber’s Line (Moluccas, New Guinea, Australia) and eleven species are restricted to the area west of Weber’s Line (south-eastern Asia including north-eastern India and southern China, Nicobar Islands, Greater Sunda Islands, Philippines, and Sulawesi). A single polymorphic species, Echinopla striata is recorded from both sides in several subspecies, but it is possibly an assemblage of several similar species. Most species were described in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century by short verbal notes. One species was recently described by Bharti and Gul (2012) and eight described by Zettel and Laciny (2015).

Photo Gallery

  • Echinopla Shattuck 52814 Danum Valley Sabah-web.jpg
  • Echinopla Shattuck 52961 Danum Valley Sabah-web.jpg


Many structural characteristics are very variable among species of Echinopla, making identification simple compared to the related genera Camponotus and Polyrhachis, each containing many sibling or cryptic species. Echinopla species have been organized into five species groups, which are based on morphological characteristics (Echinopla species groups).

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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Association with Other Organisms

All Associate Records for Genus

Explore Associate Data: All, Drilldown
Taxon Relationship Associate Type Associate Taxon Associate Relationship Locality Source Notes
Echinopla melanarctos host fungus Ophiocordyceps unilaterialis pathogen Shrestha et al., 2017



Worker Morphology

  • Antennal segment count: 12
  • Antennal club: absent-gradual
  • Palp formula: 6,4
  • Spur formula: 1 simple-pectinate, 1 simple-pectinate
  • Eyes: present
  • Scrobes: absent
  • Sting: absent


Species Uncertain

  • Echinopla sp.1: n = 12, 2n = 24 (Malaysia) (Imai et al., 1983).

All Karyotype Records for Genus

Explore Karyotype Data: All, Drilldown
Taxon Haploid Diploid Karyotype Locality Source Notes
Echinopla 12 24 Malaysia Imai et al., 1983


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

  • ECHINOPLA [Formicinae: Camponotini]
    • Echinopla Smith, F. 1857a: 79. Type-species: Echinopla melanarctos, by subsequent designation of Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 162.
    • Echinopla senior synonym of Mesoxena: Bolton, 1994: 50.
  • MESOXENA [junior synonym of Echinopla]
    • Mesoxena Smith, F. 1860b: 106. Type-species: Mesoxena mistura, by monotypy.
    • Mesoxena junior synonym of Echinopla: Bolton, 1994: 50.


  • Agosti, D. 1991. Revision of the oriental ant genus Cladomyrma, with an outline of the higher classification of the Formicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 16: 293-310. (page 295, Echiniopla in Formicinae, Formica genus group)
  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 384, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Polyrhachidini)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 50, Echinopla senior synonym of Mesoxena)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 121, Echinopla in Formicinae, Camponotini)
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 272, Echinopla in Camponotinae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 772, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 210, Echinopla in Formicinae, Camponotini)
  • Forel, A. 1878c. Études myrmécologiques en 1878 (première partie) avec l'anatomie du gésier des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 15: 337-392 (page 367, Echinopla in Camponotinae [Camponotidae])
  • Forel, A. 1886h. Études myrmécologiques en 1886. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 30: 131-215 (page 199, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
  • Forel, A. 1893b. Sur la classification de la famille des Formicides, avec remarques synonymiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 161-167 (page 165, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
  • Forel, A. 1912j. Formicides néotropiques. Part VI. 5me sous-famille Camponotinae Forel. Mém. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 20: 59-92 (page 89, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 251, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 652, Echinopla in Formicinae (in key) [Formicidae])
  • Mayr, G. 1865. Formicidae. In: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte "Novara" um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859. Zoologischer Theil. Bd. II. Abt. 1. Wien: K. Gerold's Sohn, 119 pp. (page 7, Echinopla in Formicinae [Formicidae])
  • Smith, F. 1857a. Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects collected at Sarawak, Borneo; Mount Ophir, Malacca; and at Singapore, by A. R. Wallace. [part]. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 2: 42-88 (page 79, Echinopla in Formicidae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 197, Echinopla in Poneridae, Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1862a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects collected by Mr. A. R. Wallace in the islands of Ceram, Celebes, Ternate, and Gilolo. [concl.]. J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. Zool. 6: 49-66 (page 50, Echinopla in Cryptoceridae)
  • Smith, F. 1862d. A list of the genera and species belonging to the family Cryptoceridae, with descriptions of new species; also a list of the species of the genus Echinopla. Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (3) 1: 407-416 (page 415, Echinopla in Formicidae)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 144, Echinopla in Camponotinae, Camponotini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1911g. A list of the type species of the genera and subgenera of Formicidae. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 21: 157-175 (page 162, Type-species: Echinopla melanarctos; by subsequent designation)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 701, Echinopla in Formicinae, Camponotini)
  • Xu, Z.-H. & Zhou, X. 2015. Species grouping and key to known species of the ant genus Echinopla Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with reports of Chinese species. Asian Myrmecology, 7, 19-36.
  • Zettel, H. and Laciny, A. 2015. Contributions to the taxonomy of the ant genus Echinopla Smith, 1857 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Deutsche entomologische Zeitschrift. 62:101–121. doi:10.3897/dez.62.5093.
  • Zettel, H. & Laciny, A. 2017. Further additions to the taxonomy and distribution of the ant genus Echinopla. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien, B. 119: 7-16.