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Microdaceton exornatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Microdaceton
Santschi, 1913
Type species
Microdaceton exornatum
4 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Microdaceton exornatum casent0101453 profile 1.jpg

Microdaceton exornatum

Microdaceton exornatum casent0101453 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Evolutionary Relationships

Ochetomyrmex (2 species), Tranopelta (2 species)

Allomerus (8 species), Blepharidatta (4 species), Diaphoromyrma (1 species), Lachnomyrmex (16 species), Wasmannia (11 species)

  (7 species)

  (2 species)

  (7 species)

  (4 species)

  (29 species)

  (16 species)

  (19 species)

  (9 species)

Acromyrmex (55 species), Apterostigma (44 species), Atta (20 species), Cyatta (1 species), Cyphomyrmex (23 species), Kalathomyrmex (1 species), Mycetophylax (21 species), Mycetagroicus (4 species), Mycetarotes (4 species), Mycetosoritis (2 species), Mycocepurus (6 species), Myrmicocrypta (31 species), Sericomyrmex (11 species), Trachymyrmex (9 species), Xerolitor (1 species)

Basiceros (8 species), Cephalotes (119 species), Eurhopalothrix (53 species), Octostruma (34 species), Phalacromyrmex (1 species), Pheidole (1,299 species), Pilotrochus (1 species), Procryptocerus (44 species), Protalaridris (7 species), Rhopalothrix (16 species), Strumigenys (853 species), Talaridris (1 species)

Based on Ward et al. (2014), Blaimer et al. (2018) and Li et al. (2018).

Four species are now known in this small but very compact genus; all are restricted to the Afrotropical region. Microdaceton tibialis and Microdaceton exornatum are widely distributed , respectively in western and central Africa, and eastern and southern Africa. The other two (Microdaceton tanyspinosum, Microdaceton viriosum) remain known respectively only from Cameroun and Gabon, and Uganda.

At a Glance • Trap-Jaw  



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Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: ? (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Compound colony type: not parasitic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Nest site: hypogaeic (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Diet class: predator (Greer et al., 2021)
  • Foraging stratum: subterranean/leaf litter (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker Morphology

 • Eyes: 11-100 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: dentiform • Propodeal Spines: present • Petiolar Spines: dentiform • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: absent


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

  • MICRODACETON [Myrmicinae: Dacetini]
    • Microdaceton Santschi, 1913g: 478. Type-species: Microdaceton exornatum, by monotypy.
    • [Microdaceton also described as new by Santschi, 1914e: 33.]


Bolton (2000)

  • Mandibles linear and elongate, with kinetic mode of action, each with an apical fork of 3 spiniform teeth that interlock at full closure. *Preapical dentition absent. Mandibles at full gape open to 170° or more.
  • Basal process of mandible a curved spur; at full mandibular closure process is dorsal to labrum and fits into a mediodorsal impression on labrum.
  • Basimandibular gland bulla conspicuous on ventral or ventrolateral surface.
  • Palp formula 3, 2.
  • Labrum roughly T-shaped, short and not capable of reflexing to conceal the labio-maxillary complex, which is permanently exposed . Each lateral labral arm locks into a deep emargination near the inner mandibular base.
  • Trigger hair appears as single hair, arising from midpoint of anterior margin of the labrum.
  • Eye not located ventrolaterally on side of head.
  • Side of head with an extensive gap between base of mandible and margin of head capsule when mandibles fully closed.
  • Antenna with 6 segments, with a weakly differentiated apical club of 2 segments. Funicular segments 2 - 3 not reduced; long and slender, usually at least as long as funicular segment 4 (preapical segment).
  • Scape, when laid back in its normal resting position, passes above the eye; apical portion of extended scape curved anteriorly when seen in full-face view; scape not abruptly downcurved near base.
  • Scrobe absent.
  • Pronotal cervix anteriorly with an abruptly raised thick transverse rim or collar that is preceded by a broad deep transverse groove.
  • Pronotal humeri unarmed ; mesonotum with a pair of tubercles or teeth.
  • Propodeal spiracle very close to margin of declivity, at approximately the midheight of the sclerite. Metapleural gland bulla with its apex very close to the propodeal spiracle.
  • Waist segments without spongiform tissue; petiole node bidentate; postpetiole markedly dorsoventrally flattened and expanded into lateral wings; postpetiolar spiracles ventral , on undersides of the lateral expansions.
  • Limbus absent from first gastral tergite; basigastral costulae present or absent.
  • Suture between first gastral tergite and stemite angulate laterobasally.
  • Bizarre pilosity never developed.

The single median trigger hair on the labrum appears in fact to be composed of a pair of hairs that are tightly fused together. Generally the structure appears single even using electron microscopy (Bolton, 1999), but in small specimens of tibialis maceration in sodium hydroxide sometimes results in the separation of the two components.

Baroni Urbani & De Andrade (2007) - The following characters result apomorphic for this genus:

Worker (and gyne) pronotal cervix with thick transverse rim. CI 1.00, RI 0.00.

Worker (and gyne) maxillary palps three-jointed. CI 0,85, RI 0.80. Among the Dacetini the three-jointed condition is known only in Phalacromyrmex and Pilotrochus.

Worker (and gyne) labial palps two-jointed. CI 0.70, RI 0.67. Among the Dacetini the two-jointed condition is known in Phalacromyrmex, Pilotrochus, Ishakidris and some Basiceros species.

Other plausible generic synapomorphies not included in our data matrix are listed by Bolton (1999) [see above].


  • Arnold, G. 1917. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part III. Myrmicinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 271-402 (page 383, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Bolton, B. 1983. The Afrotropical dacetine ants (Formicidae). Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 46: 267-416 (page 401, Revision of genus)
  • Bolton, B. 2000. The ant tribe Dacetini. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute. 65:1-1028. (page 26, diagnosis, all species revision, key)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 187, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1948e. A preliminary generic revision of the higher Dacetini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 74: 101-129 (page 102, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Emery, C. 1914e. Intorno alla classificazione dei Myrmicinae. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 18: 29-42 (page 42, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Emery, C. 1924f [1922]. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [concl.]. Genera Insectorum 174C: 207-397 (page 317, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 246, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)
  • Larabee, F.J., Suarez, A.V. 2014. The evolution and functional morphology of trap-jaw ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 20: 25-36.
  • Santschi, F. 1913g. Genre nouveau et espèce nouvelle de Formicides (Hym.). Bull. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 1913: 478 (page 478, Microdaceton as genus)
  • Santschi, F. 1914e. Meddelanden från Göteborgs Musei Zoologiska Afdelning. 3. Fourmis du Natal et du Zoulouland récoltées par le Dr. I. Trägårdh. Göteb. K. Vetensk. Vitterh. Samh. Handl. 15: 1-44 (page 33, Microdaceton also described as new)
  • 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 667, Microdaceton in Myrmicinae, Dacetini)