Proceratium lunatum

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Proceratium lunatum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Proceratiinae
Tribe: Proceratiini
Genus: Proceratium
Species: P. lunatum
Binomial name
Proceratium lunatum
Terron, 1981

Proceratium lunatum P casent0902426.jpg

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Specimen Label

Proceratium lunatum is known to occur in Cameroon, Gabon and Uganda where it was collected in rainforests at elevations ranging from 110 to 1520 m. The known specimens were either collected from within the soil or sifted litter suggesting that P. lunatum is a predominantly hypogaeic species. (Hita Garcia, Hawkes and Alpert 2014)


Hita Garcia, Hawkes and Alpert (2014) - The following character combination distinguishes P. lunatum from the other Afrotropical members of the P. arnoldi clade: eyes strongly reduced (OI 3–5), usually consisting of a single ommatidium, rarely more; head slightly longer than broad (CI 92–95); maculae on vertexal angles of head well developed and conspicuous; mesopleurae weakly to moderately inflated posteriorly; petiolar node high nodiform, anteroposteriorly compressed, with anterior face relatively straight; petiole in dorsal view between 1.2 to 1.3 times wider than long DPeI 122–129; ventral process of petiole lamelliform and approximately rectangular, lamella not significantly pointing anteriorly nor posteriorly; abdominal segment IV between 1.0 to 1.2 times longer than abdominal segment III (ASI 104–118); head, mesosoma and petiole with mat of short decumbent to subdecumbent pubescence only, without any longer, fine suberect to erect hairs.

The recognition of P. lunatum within the P. arnoldi clade is fairly easy and straightforward. The relatively broad head in full-face view (CI 92–95) groups it together with Proceratium burundense, Proceratium nilo, Proceratium sali and Proceratium sokoke (CI 91–95) while it separates it from Proceratium arnoldi and Proceratium carri that have thinner heads (CI 85–87). The lack of long, standing pilosity on top of a dense mat of much shorter pubescence distinguishes P. lunatum from P. carri, P. nilo, P. sali and P. sokoke. The species closest to P. lunatum seems to be P. burundense. However, both differ in eye size, ventral process of the petiole, and propodeal armament. Proceratium lunatum has smaller eyes (OI 3–5) and shorter propodeal teeth than P. burundense (OI 8). In addition, the ventral process of the petiole has a very distinct posteroventral corner that strongly projects ventrally, whereas the process of P. lunatum is more or less rectangular without a projecting posteroventral corner.

The P. lunatum material from Cameroon and Gabon shows no observable intraspecific variation. The specimen from Uganda, however, displays some noticeable differences. It possesses longer antennal scapes (SI 71 vs. SI 63–66) and is generally larger than the western specimens (TL 3.43 vs. TL 2.81–2.94).

Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - A member of the arnoldi clade. Differing from its sister species, Proceratium burundense, by the larger and deeper integumental foveae and by the deeper sculpture on the gaster in the worker. Both species have foveolate sculpture on their gaster.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 5.016° to 0.56437°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun (type locality), Gabon, Uganda.

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.


Explore-icon.png Explore Overview of Proceratium biology 
Very little is known about the biology of Proceratium ants. They nest in soil, rotten wood, under deep-set stones and, in a few cases, tree branches. For many species the nest consists of small rounded chambers hollowed out of soft rotten wood or in the soil. Toward the cooler limits of the range, particularly in North America, nests and foraging workers are found under deep set rocks instead of in rotten wood. The nest site is usually in forest shade, in old moist gardens, or similar habitats that are constantly moist. Some species of known to be egg predators of arthropods, especially of spiders.

Most Proceratium are relatively rare but this is not the full explanation for why they are not commonly collected. Colonies of most species are small. Based on anectdotal natural history information from a few species, it was once thought that most Proceratium would likely be found to have mature colonies that contain somewhere between 10 - 50 workers. Yet nests with more than 50, and in some cases up to 200, workers have been been reported. Besides small colonies, these ants also do not appear to forage in places where they are readily encountered.

Males and females are though to be produced in small numbers but we generally do not have enough data for colonies of any species to know what might be typical. Reproductive flights have been observered toward the end of the summer in some northern temperate areas. In these regions the nuptial flight occurs during the last half of August. Both sexes climb some distance from the nest entrance before taking flight. Workers too issue from the nest during the nuptial flight, as is often the case with otherwise cryptobiotic ants. ‎



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

  • lunatum. Proceratium lunatum Terron, 1981: 96, fig. 1 (w.) CAMEROON.
    • Type-material: holotype worker, 4 paratype workers.
    • Type-locality: holotype Cameroon: Arboretum de Mbalmayo (51 km. S Yaoundé), 17.iii.1968, no. 1759 (G. Terron); paratypes: 2 workers with same data, 1 worker Bikok, nr Yaoundé, 19.iii.1974, Berlese no. UO (G. Terron), 1 worker Kala, nr Yaoundé, 900 m., 16.v.1974, Berlese no. VE (G. Terron).
    • Type-depositories: CIRA (holotype); BMNH, MHNG, MNHN (paratypes).
    • Status as species: Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 290 (redescription); Hita Garcia, Hawkes & Alpert, 2014: 69 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Cameroon, Gabon, Uganda.

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



Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - Head slightly longer than broad, its sides gently diverging posteriorly. Vertex in full face view almost straight in the middle, in full dorsal view flat and bearing on each side a round, semitransparent macula. Clypeus medially reduced, subconvex or almost straight, between and as long as or slightly longer than the antennal sockets. Anterior border of the clypeus minutely crenulate. Antennal socket with broad torulus. Frontal carinae slightly distant from each other, partially covering the antennal insertions. Frontal area concave posteriorly, the concavity connected to a longitudinal carina prolonging posteriorly. Lateral expansions of the frontal carinae narrow, slightly raised, diverging on the two anterior thirds and slightly converging on the posterior third. Genal carinae marked, each carina corresponding to the external border of a deep sulcus. Eyes small, recognisable as a dark dot below the integument and placed on the midline of the head. First funicular joint slightly longer than broad. Funicular joints 2-10 broader than long. Last funicular joint about as long as the sum of joints 7-10. Scapes much short of the vertexal margin and gently thickening apically. External border of the mandibles concave. Masticatory margin of the mandibles with 3 denticles before the pointed apical tooth. Palp formula 3,2.

Mesosoma convex in profile and as long as the maximum head length (mandibles included). Basal face of the propodeum gently declivous posteriorly. Area between the basal and declivous faces of the propodeum gently concave. Basal and declivous faces of the propodeum separate laterally by a lamellaceous tooth. Sides of the declivous face of the propodeum with a broader and obtuse posteriorly lamella. Lower mesopleurae with well defined sutures, their posterior half inflate and smooth. Propodeal spiracle round and above mid height in lateral view.

Petiolar node convex in profile, the dorsum of the node declivous posteriorly and bearing an irregular point postero-medially. Petiole in dorsal view with diverging sides on the anterior sixth and convex posteriorly. Anterior border of the petiole almost straight and carinate, the carina angulate on each side. Ventral process of the petiole lamellaceous, subrectangular, the lamella slightly pointed posteriorly. Postpetiole anteriorly broader than the petiole; its sides gently convex. Postpetiolar dorsum with a postero-medial, transparent, raised bulla below the integument. Postpetiolar sternite anteromedially with a marked subtriangular projection. Postpetiolar sternite in side view strongly convex posteriorly. Constriction between postpetiole and gaster impressed. Gastral tergite I convex on the curvature and with a postero-medial transparent, raised bulla below the integument. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites curved ventrally.

Legs slender but not very elongate. All tibiae with a pectinate spur. Spurs of fore legs without basal spine. Fore basitarsi longer than the mid ones. Hind basitarsi about 1/4 shorter than hind tibiae. First tarsomere of hind legs subequal in size to the pretarsus. Pretarsal claws simple. Arolia developed.

Sculpture. Head, mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole and gaster irregularly foveolate and granulate, the foveae slightly shallower and sparser on the head. Gaster with additional longitudinal, irregular, thin rugosities. Legs punctate.

Body covered by hairs of three main types: (1) short, dense, subdecumbent on the whole body, slightly shorter, sparse and suberect on the funicular joints; (2) longer than type (1), very sparse and subdecumbent on the whole body, rare and slightly shorter on the scapes, slightly denser, longer and more raised on the propodeum, on the petiole, on the postpetiolar sternite and on the femora; (3) shorter than hair type (1), dense and decumbent on the funicular joints only. In addition the funicular joints bear whitish, thick, appressed, short, sparse hairs.

Colour. Light ferrugineous-brown with lighter antennae and legs.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 2.93-2.95; HL 0.71-0.73; HW 0.67-0.68; EL 0.03-0.04; SL 0.47-0.49; WL 0.85-0.86; PeL 0.28-0.29; PeW 0.34-0.36; HFeL 0.52-0.54; HTiL 0.44-0.45; HBaL 0.33; LS4 0.18-0.19; LT4 0.48-0.52; CI 93.0-94.4; SI 66.2-67.1; IGR 0.36-0.38.

Type Material

Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - Type locality: Mbalmayo, Kala and U. O. Bikok, Cameroon. Type Material: holotype worker labeled Cameroun: Arboretum de Mbalmayo (51 km D de Yaounde), 17.III.1968, G. Terron leg., Proceratium lunatum Terron, Holotype, 1759 sp. 1", in CIRA; one paratype worker labeled: Cameroun: Kala (18 km W Yaounde), Ve Berlese, sp. 1, tamisage terre et terreau, 16.V.1974, G. Terron Leg., Paratype in CIRA; two paratype workers labeled "1759, Mbalmayo, Cameroun, 17.III.1968, Paratypus, Proceratium lunatum, G. Terron, 1981" in The Natural History Museum, Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle; one paratype worker labelled "UO Bikok Cameroun, 19.III.1974, (G. Terron); Paratypus. Proceratium lunatum Terron", in Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, examined.


  • Baroni Urbani, C., de Andrade, M.L. 2003. The ant genus Proceratium in the extant and fossil record (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Monografie, 36, 1–492. (page 290, fig. 121 worker described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Hita Garcia F.; P. G. Hawkes, and G. D. Alpert. 2014. Taxonomy of the ant genus Proceratium Roger (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in the Afrotropical region with a revision of the P. arnoldi clade and description of four new species. ZooKeys 447:47–86.