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Noonilla copiosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Leptanillinae
Tribe: Leptanillini
Genus: Noonilla
Petersen, 1968
Type species
Noonilla copiosa
1 species
(Species Checklist, Species by Country)
Evolutionary Placement

  (1 species)

some Protanilla
  (13 species)

  (3 species)

some Protanilla

  (2 species)

some Leptanilla
  (49 species)

some Leptanilla

some Leptanilla

  (1 species)

Based on Griebenow, 2021. The genus Scyphodon is excluded as it has yet to be studied in detail.

A mysterious genus that is known from males of the monotypic species Noonilla copiosa.


Petersen (1968) - This new genus is readily differentiated from all other ant genera, in fact from all other Hymenoptera, by the highly unusual shape of the genitalia including the supporting structure in connection with sternum 8. The absence of a distinct gonobase and the strongly reduced gonocoxites recall the condition in some Chalcidoidea (Snodgrass, 1941). Other unique and distinctive characters of Noonilla are the shape of the coxae with prolongations beyond the trochanters and probably the shape of the petiole with the spiracles placed on prominences.

The wing venation of Noonilla is also extraordinary, but not unique as almost exactly the same pattern exists in the genus Scyphodon. The wing venation of Scyphodon is just a little more reduced and the marginalis longer and narrower, and this type of venation is no doubt transitional between Noonilla and the condition found in Phaulomyrma and Leptanilla. On account of the type of venation and the peculiar shortened shape of the proximal part of the forewing it is apparent that Noonilla is closely related to these Leptanillinae with which Noonilla shares several other features which are mainly apomorphic, e. g. the one-segmented maxillary and labial palpi, the shape of the pronotum, the strong and crooked fore femora, the absence of meta pleural glands, the reduction of the terminal abdominal segments, the absence of a true gonobase, and the absence of volsellar cuspital lobes.

On the other hand it is apparent that Noonilla occupies a rather isolated position within the Leptanillinae, not because of the unique and specialised features of the fore coxae, the petiole, and the genitalia, but because the genus has retained some plesiomorphic features which are apomorphic in all other known leptanilline males, viz., the vertical head and the normal, rather short, uncompressed thorax which give Noonilla a quite different general appearance to other leptanillines which have a horizontal head and an elongated, laterally compressed thorax. This clear gap between two groups of leptanilline males may give rise to phylogenetic speculations, but in the present state of knowledge of the subfamily and without knowing workers and queens, these seem premature.

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



Distribution and Richness based on AntMaps




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

  • NOONILLA [Leptanillinae]
    • Noonilla Petersen, 1968: 582. Type-species: Noonilla copiosa, by original designation.
    • Noonilla incertae sedis in Formicidae: Ogata, Terayama & Masuko, 1995: 33.
    • Noonilla in Leptanillinae: Boudinot, 2015: 32.

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


Petersen 1968. Figures 6.
Petersen 1968. Figures 7-10.

Male. Head vertical; frontoclypeal region not differentiated by sutures or carinae (fig. 7) . Antennae fifiform, 13-jointed. Mandibles vestigial, cylindrical, bluntly rounded apically, setaceous. Maxillary and labial palpi one-segmented.

Thorax not compressed and not elongated (as in other leptanillines). Dorsal part of pro no tum neck-like, lateral parts long, posterolateral borders extend onto the ventral surface; propleuron undivided; prosternum small, triangular (fig. 8). Mesoscutum lacking notauli and parapsidal lines; scutellum simple, strongly convex; mesopleuron large, strongly bulging ventrally, oblique pleural line weak. Metanotum narrow, central area prominent; metapleuron undivided, invisibly fused to pcropodeum; metapleural glands lacking.

Legs long and slender; fore femora, however, strong and curved; fore coxae flattened, with apical prolongations beyond insertion of trochanters (fig. 8). Tibial spur formula 1:2:2. Claws simple.

Wings as shown in fig. 6. Venation of fore wing strongly reduced with only three cells, the costal cell and two basal cells hardly separated by the weak median vein; main stem of venation consists of subcosta, marginal vein replacing pterostigma which is not truly developed, a short submarginalis and a very long radialis; perpendicularly to sub costa upper and lower basal veins extend to meet an almost complete analis. Costa indicated proximally. Hind wing short, veinless; anal lobe lacking.

Abdomen curved as shown in fig. 6. Terga and sterna separate in all segments. Abdominal segment 2 (petiole) simple, anteriorly flattened with the spiracles on lateral prominences, posteriorly cylindrical without a node. Tergum 8 elongated dorsally, attenuated, apex rounded. Tergum 9 (+10) membraneous, short, covered by tergum 8; pygostyli lacking. Sternum 8 strongly reduced, its lateral portions still plate-like but ventrally it is a narrow, strongly sclerotized bar. This bar supports the two arms of a reversed v-shaped, strongly sclerotized structure in firm connection with the genitalia, probably a true gonocondyle; the structure bears a short anteromedian process. Sternum 9 not recognizable as a normal sclerite; it might have been strongly modified into the structure mentioned above, or it might have fused with the ventral bar of sternum 8.

Genitalia(terminology of Michener (1956) used throughout the paper) very large, non-retractile (figs. 9, 10). Gonobase lacking; basal shaft of genital organ consists presumably of fused strongly reduced gonocoxites, dorsally, and medially fused volsellar plates, ventrally; gonostyli lacking; volsellar digiti strongly sclerotized, bluntly hooked at apices; penis valves proximally united constituting a cylindrical tube, distally and ventrally separated from tip of dorsal, oval phallotreme to well anterior to the unusual trigger-like ventral structure which is also divided into two symmetrical parts.


  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1977c. Materiali per una revisione della sottofamiglia Leptanillinae Emery (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Entomol. Basil. 2: 427-488 (page 482, Noonilla in Leptanillinae)
  • Bolton, B. 1990d. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Leptanillinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Syst. Entomol. 15: 267-282 (page 276, Noonilla in Leptanillinae, Leptanillini)
  • Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. (page 70, Noonilla in Leptanillinae, Leptanillini)
  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 292, Noonilla in Leptanillinae, Leptanillini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 263, Noonilla incertae sedis in Formicidae)
  • Boudinot, B.E. 2015. Contributions to the knowledge of Formicidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata): a new diagnosis of the family, the first global male-based key to subfamilies, and a treatment of early branching lineages. European Journal of Taxonomy 120, 1-62 (
  • 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).
  • Dlussky, G. M.; Fedoseeva, E. B. 1988. Origin and early stages of evolution in ants. Pp. 70-144 in: Ponomarenko, A. G. (ed.) Cretaceous biocenotic crisis and insect evolution. Moskva: Nauka, 232 pp. (page 79, Noonilla in Leptanillinae)
  • Griebenow, Z. 2020. Delimitation of tribes in the subfamily Leptanillinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a description of the male of Protanilla lini Terayama, 2009. Myrmecological News 30: 229-250. (doi:10.25849/MYRMECOL.NEWS_030:229)
  • Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. (page 12, Noonilla in Leptanillinae, Leptanillini)
  • Ogata, K.; Terayama, M.; Masuko, K. 1995. The ant genus Leptanilla: discovery of the worker-associated male of L. japonica, and a description of a new species from Taiwan (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Leptanillinae). Syst. Entomol. 20: 27-34 (page 33, Noonilla incertae sedis in Formicidae (review of genus))
  • Petersen, B. 1968. Some novelties in presumed males of Leptanillinae (Hym., Formicidae). Entomol. Medd. 36: 577-598 (page 582, Noonilla as genus; Noonilla in Leptanillinae)