Proceratium numidicum

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Proceratium numidicum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Proceratiinae
Tribe: Proceratiini
Genus: Proceratium
Species: P. numidicum
Binomial name
Proceratium numidicum
Santschi, 1912

Proceratium numidicum P casent0281855.jpg

Proceratium numidicum D casent0281855.jpg

Specimen Label


Very little is known about the biology of this species. Its known distribution is very scattered across several countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, but given the general rarity of all species in this genus much remains to be discovered (Taheri & Reyes-Lopez, 2023).


A member of the silaceum clade and resembling to Proceratium japonicum, but differing from it, in the worker and gyne, by the broader frontal carinae, narrower petiole and more superficial sculpture.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 42.596228° to 35.248591°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Morocco, Tunisia (type locality), Türkiye.

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.

  • numidicum. Proceratium numidicum Santschi, 1912f: 172, figs. 1, 2 (w.q.) TUNISIA.
    • Type-material: 20 syntype workers, 1 syntype queen.
    • Type-locality: Tunisia: Ain-Draham (Normand).
    • Type-depositories: MSNG, NHMB, USNM.
    • [Genus misspelled as Procetum in heading, misspelled as Proceratum in figure captions.]
    • Status as species: Brown, 1958g: 248, 334; Brown, 1980b: 343; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 53; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b: 264 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 363 (redescription); Petrov, 2006: 83 (in key); Lapeva-Gjonova, et al. 2010: 6; Kiran & Karaman, 2012: 29; Borowiec, L. 2014: 150; Lebas, et al. 2016: 408; Salata & Borowiec, 2018c: 48.
    • Senior synonym of normandi: Brown, 1974a: 82; Baroni Urbani, 1977d: 93; Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 363.
    • Distribution: Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey.
  • normandi. Proceratium normandi Santschi, 1929e: 138 (w.q.) ALGERIA.
    • Type-material: 6 syntype workers, 1 syntype queen.
    • Type-locality: Algeria (not Tunisia): La Caille (= El Kala) (Normand).
    • Type-depository: NHMB.
    • Status as species: Brown, 1958g: 248, 334.
    • Junior synonym of numidicum: Brown, 1974a: 82; Baroni Urbani, 1977d: 93; Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 363.

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 almost as broad is long and with gently convex sides. Vertex in full face view weakly convex. Clypeus reduced and as long as the antennal socket. Anterior border of the clypeus truncate. Frontal carinae far from each other, partly covering the antennal insertions. Lateral expansions of the frontal carinae broad, little raised, strongly diverging on the two anterior fourths, converging on the third fourth, subparallel and carinate only on the last fourth. Frontal area gently concave on the three anterior fourths, with a central longitudinal carina starting from the last fourth and prolonging posteriorly. Head anterolaterally with a thick, short, longitudinal carina. Genal carinae marked, each carina corresponding to the external border of a deep sulcus. Eyes visible as a dark dot below the integument, small and on the middle of the head sides. First funicular joint slightly longer than broad. Funicular joints 2-10 broader than long. Last funicular joint as long as the sum of joints 7-10. Scapes short of the vertexal margin and gently thickening apically. Masticatory margin of the mandibles with 7-9 denticles before the pointed apical tooth. Palp formula 2,2.

Mesosoma in side view convex anteriorly, declivous posteriorly and shorter than maximum head length (mandibles included). Pronotal and propodeal sutures absent. Basal face of the propodeurn declivous posteriorly. Declivous face of the propodeum flat. Area between basal and declivous faces of the propodeum concave, dorsally carinate and laterally with a small tooth. Sides of the declivous face of the propodeum carinate. Propodeal spiracle round and above mid height in lateral view.

Petiole subrectangular and slightly narrow. Anterior border of the petiole straight and anterolaterally carinate. Ventral process of the petiole lamellaceous and directed backwards. Postpetiolar sternite anteromedially with a marked subtriangular projection, gently convex posteriorly in side view. Constriction between postpetiole and gaster impressed. Gastral tergite I about 1/3 longer than the postpetiole and convex on the curvature. Posterior border of the gastral tergite I thick and irregular. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites curved ventrally.

Legs not very short. 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. Second tarsomere of hind legs shorter than pretarsus. Pretarsal claws simple. Arolia absent.

Sculpture. Head reticulate-punctate and rugulose; sides of the head with broad reticulation and rugosities. Mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole sparsely granulopunctate, this sculpture sparser and smaller on the anterior half of the mesosoma and on the center of the postpetiole; in addition the posterior half of the mesosoma with irregular, short rugosities. Gaster smooth and with minute piligerous punctures, the punctures denser on the sides. Legs punctate.

Body covered by hairs of three main types: (1) short, dense, suberect or subdecumbent on the whole body, suberect and sparse on the funicular joints; (2) longer than type (1), erect on the whole body, sparser on the scapes, absent on the funiculi; (3) shorter than hair type (1), dense and decumbent on the funicular joints only. In addition the funicular joints bear whitish, thick, appressed, sparse hairs.

Colour. Dark ferrugineous-brown with slightly lighter antennae and legs. Some specimens with a dark brown macula on the posterior half of the head dorsum.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 3.03-3.29; HL 0.71-0.75; HW 0.69-0.72; EL 0.03-0.04; SL 0.46-0.48; WL 0.82-0.90; PeL 0.18-0.21; PeW 0.27-0.29; HFeL 0.52-0.56; HTiL 0.42-0.45; HBaL 0.32-0.36; LS4 0.39-0.40; LT4 0.68-0.72; CI 95.8-96.0; SI 63.9-64.8; IGR 0.54-0.58.


Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - Differing from the worker in the following details: eyes large, slightly more than 1/4 of the hcad length, composed by many facets and with ocular pilosity. Ocelli well developed.

Mesosoma robust and convex in side view. Parapsidal furrows marked. Scutellum with the sides gently convex and with the posterior border subtruncate. Dorsum of the sculellum with a longitudinal carina prolonging to the posterior half of the mesonotum. Metanotum with a pointed tooth. Basal face of the propodeum medially concave. Area between basal and declivous faces of the propodeum carinate and with a small tooth on each side.

Head sculpture more impressed and larger. Postpetiole reticulate.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 3.98-4.08; HL 0.79-0.82; HW 0.81 -0.83; EL 0.23-0.24; SL 0.52-0.54; WL 1.10- 1.16; PeL 0.23-0.27; PeW 0.36-0.40; HFeL 0.68-0.70; HTiL 0.52-0.55; WBaL 0.44-0.45; LS4 0.49-0.55; LT4 0.88-0.96; CI 101.2-102.5; ST 65.0-65.8; IGR 0.55-0.57.

Type Material

Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) : 8 Type locality: Ain Draham, Tunisia. Type material: 12 syntype workers and one syntype gyne partially labelled: "Tunisie, A. Draham, Dr. Normand, Proceratium numidicum Sants., type, in Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel (10 workers and 1 gyne), National Museum of Natural History (1 worker), Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa (1 worker)" examined.

Proceratium normandi Type locality: El Kala, Tunisia. Type material: 5 syntype workers and one syntype gyne labelled: "C. -La Calle, Dr. Normand, Proceratium normandi Sants., Santschi det. 1929, in NHMB", examined.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Agosti, D. and C.A. Collingwood. 1987. A provisional list of the Balkan ants (Hym. Formicidae) and a key to the worker caste. I. Synonymic list. Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 60: 51-62
  • Baroni Urbani C. 1977. Les espèces européennes du genre Proceratium Roger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 50: 91-93.
  • Baroni Urbani C., and M.L de Andrade. 2003. The ant genus Proceratium in the extant and fossil record (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Monografie 36: 1-480.
  • Baroni Urbani, C., and M. L. de Andrade. "The ant genus Proceratium in the extant and fossil record." Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali-Torino Monografie (2003): 1-492.
  • Borowiec L. 2014. Catalogue of ants of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and adjacent regions (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Genus (Wroclaw) 25(1-2): 1-340.
  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1974. A remarkable new island isolate in the genus Proceratium (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 81: 70-83.
  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1980. A remarkable new species of Proceratium, with dietary and other notes on the genus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Psyche (Camb.) 86: 337-346.
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Legakis Collection Database
  • Santschi F. 1929. Fourmis du Maroc, d'Algerie et de Tunisie. Bulletin et Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belge 69: 138-165.
  • Santschi, F. 1912. Nouvelles fourmis de Tunisie, récoltées par le Dr Normand. Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de l'Afrique du Nord 3: 172-175.
  • Santschi, F. "Fourmis du Maroc, d'Algérie et de Tunisie." Bulletin et Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique (Bruxelles) 69 (1929): 138-165.
  • Santschi, F. "Nouvelles fourmis de Tunisie récoltées par le Dr. Normand." Bulletin de la Société d' Histoire naturelle de l' Afrique du Nord 3 (1912): 172-175.
  • Schifani E., and A. Alicata. 2018. Exploring the myrmecofauna of Sicily: thirty-two new ant species recorded, including six new to Italy and many new aliens (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Polish Journal of Entomology 87 (4): 323–348.