AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Temporal range: 20.43–0 Ma Early Miocene – Recent
Myopopone castanea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Amblyoponinae
Tribe: Amblyoponini
Genus: Myopopone
Roger, 1861
Type species
Myopopone maculata (junior synonym of Myopopone castanea)
1 species
1 fossil species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)

Myopopone castanea-HUMCZ002L.jpg

Myopopone castanea

Myopopone castanea-HUMCZ002D.jpg

Evolutionary Relationships

  (1 species)

  (25 species)

  (10 species)

  (4 species)

  (25 species)

  (9 species), some Stigmatomma

  (1 species), some Stigmatomma

some Stigmatomma

  (2 species)

  (14 species)

some Stigmatomma

Based on Ward & Fisher, 2016. Note that Stigmatomma is not currently monophyletic and some species are more closely related to those of other genera than to each other.

A monotypic genus. Myopopone castanea are rare ants that nest in rotten wood or under bark. Single colonies may be composed of several small nests scattered over a small area. They feed on large, soft-bodied insect larvae and may bring their larvae to food sources rather than attempt to move especially large prey back to their nest.


The mandibles are long and slender, with numerous (always more than 5) teeth which vary greatly in size and are scattered along the inner margins, and with a sharp, pointed tooth at the tip which is only slightly longer than the next longest tooth. The frontal lobes are large and extend well forward of the insertion point of the scapes, and when viewed from the front they cover the underlying clypeus and often form part of the front margin of the head. The antennae have the last few segments distinctly flattened in cross-section. The petiole has distinct front and upper faces but lacks a rear face, and its attachment to the gaster is broad and approximately the same height as the petiole so that the upper surfaces of petiole and gaster are separated by at most a shallow impression.

Although these ants are superficially similar to some Amblyopone, the presence of expanded and projecting frontal lobes and flattened tips of the antennae will separate these genera.

AntWeb icon 02.png See images of species within this genus

Keys including this Genus



Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps

Species by Region

Number of species within biogeographic regions, along with the total number of species for each region.

Afrotropical Region Australasian Region Indo-Australian Region Malagasy Region Nearctic Region Neotropical Region Oriental Region Palaearctic Region
Species 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
Total Species 2837 1734 3036 929 832 4375 1686 2823


Fossils are known from: Shanwang, China (Early Miocene).


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 38 (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)
  • Foraging behaviour: solitary (Greer et al., 2021)



Worker of M. castanea from Queensland.




Worker Morphology

• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: gradual • Palp formula: 4,3 • Total dental count: 9-12 • Spur formula: 2 (1 simple-barbulate, 1 pectinate), 2 (1 simple-barbulate, 1 pectinate); 2 simple, 2 (1 simple, 1 pectinate) • Eyes: 0-1 ommatidia • Pronotal Spines: absent • Mesonotal Spines: absent • Propodeal Spines: absent • Petiolar Spines: absent • Caste: none or weak • Sting: present • Metaplural Gland: present • Cocoon: present

Male Morphology

 • Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 4,3 • Total dental count 1 • Spur formula 2 (1 simple-barbulate, 1 pectinate), 2 (1 simple-1 barbulate, 1 pectinate)


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

  • MYOPOPONE [Amblyoponinae]
    • Myopopone Roger, 1861a: 49. Type-species: Myopopone maculata (junior synonym of Amblyopone castanea), by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903: 33.

Xu and He (2011) - Worker Head nearly rectangular, occipital margin concave, anterolateral corners without spines or denticles. Mandibles elongate and linear, masticatory margin short but distinct, both masticatory and inner margins dentate. Clypeus narrow and transverse, anteri or margin minutely dentate. Frontal lobes large and close together, distinctly broader than the distance between them, and well protruding forward and surpass the anterior margin of clypeus. Antennal sockets complete ly concealed by the frontal lobes. Antennae short, 12-segmented, scapes not surpass occipital corners, antennal clubs distinct and compressed. Eyes reduced and small, well behind the midline of the head. Ocelli absent. Dorsum of alitrunk about at the same level. Promesonotal suture and metanotal groove distinct and notched. Pronotum and propodeum long, mesonotum very short and transverse. Propodeal lobes narrow and reduced. Propodeal spiracles elliptic and vertical, placed at the center of the lateral sides. Metapleural gland bullae small and elliptic. Legs relatively short and robust, tarsi and outer surfaces of middle tibiae with strong spines. Hind tibiae with a curved pectinate spur and a simple spur. Claws simple. Petiolar node large, nearly rectangular, broadly attached to anterior face of the tergite of first gastral segment. Subpetiolar process small. Constriction between the two basal gastral segments distinct. Sting long and strong.

Brown (1960) - In general habitus, to the naked eye, Myopopone workers look very much like those of Amblyopone australis, and they show variation of similar scope. In fact, Myopopone is probably monotypic, and may be regarded as a more than usually aberrant species of Amblyopone. The characters are, however, sufficiently marked and numerous in the worker-female castes to justify the retention of Myopopone as a genus apart from Amblyopone. The head shape is like that of Amblyopone, without the "amblyoponine teeth" at the corners anteriorly, but the lobes of the frontal carinae are large and placed well forward, so as to overreach slightly the concave median lobe or apron of the clypeus (in Amblyopone the lobes never reach the anterior border of the median clypeal lobe). The antennal funiculi are strikingly broadened and flattened, differing in this from Amblyopone. The legs are short and with spiniform processes or spine-like setae developed at several points; in particular, the extensor surface of the middle tibia is provided with a number of sharp peg-like spines, also the metatarsus of the posterior leg. The mandibles are different from those of any given species of Amblyopone, but are not strikingly outside the range of variation seen among Amblyopone species.

The female is winged and is markedly larger and darker than the worker; there are also differences in sculptural detail. The differences between these two castes have been responsible for much of the synonymy at species level. The male is decidedly smaller and more slender than the female, and is typically amblyoponine in its habitus and general characters, with rugulose head and alitrunk and piceous to blackish in color. Notauli present.

Pygidium and subgenital plate both subtriangular, with broadly rounded apices. Parameres rather long, tapered and incurved so that their apices meet or even slightly overlap at the half-retracted position. Volsellae much like those of Amblyopone australis; digitus with a flat, plate-like apical portion, which is convex and tuberculate over its lateral surface; cusp reduced to a vestigial swelling at the base of the digitus, but the heel well developed and bearing a sharp erect tooth. Aedeagus of a peculiar shape. In all castes, the middle and posterior tibiae have two pairs of spurs, one of the posterior pair being larger than its mate, slender, curved, narrowly barbulate and with a peculiar obliquely truncate tip. Antennae stout, but not flattened as in the worker.

Workers and females with 4 maxillary and 3 labial palpal segments. Wings in both sexes similar to those of "complete-veined" Amblyopone species, narrow, glassy, with dark veins; Mf2 usually completely or nearly completely contracted in forewing.


  • 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 383, Myopopone in Pachycondylinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Barden, P. 2017. Fossil ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): ancient diversity and the rise of modern lineages. Myrmecological News 24: 1-30.
  • Bingham, C. T. 1903. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol. II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. London: Taylor and Francis, 506 pp. (page 33, Type-species: Myopopone maculata (junior synonym of Myopopone castanea), by subsequent designation)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 155, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. (1960). Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. III. Tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 122: 143–230. (page 170, Revision of genus)
  • Cantone S. 2018. Winged Ants, The queen. Dichotomous key to genera of winged female ants in the World. The Wings of Ants: morphological and systematic relationships (self-published).
  • Dalla Torre, K. W. von. 1893. Catalogus Hymenopterorum hucusque descriptorum systematicus et synonymicus. Vol. 7. Formicidae (Heterogyna). Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 289 pp. (page 15, Myopopone in Ponerinae)
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 766, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 34, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 26, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Forel, A. 1893b. Sur la classification de la famille des Formicides, avec remarques synonymiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 37: 161-167 (page 162, Myopopone in Amblyoponinae)
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 235, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Mayr, G. 1862. Myrmecologische Studien. Verh. K-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 12: 649-776 (page 714, Myopopone in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • 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 16, Myopopone in Ponerinae [Poneridae])
  • Roger, J. 1861a. Die Ponera-artigen Ameisen (Schluss). Berl. Entomol. Z. 5: 1-54 (page 49, Myopopone as genus)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 134, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • 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 641, Myopopone in Ponerinae, Amblyoponini)
  • Xu, Z.-H. & He, Q.-J. 2011. Description of Myopopone castanea (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Himalaya Region. Entomotaxonomia 33: 231-235.