Proceratium papuanum

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Proceratium papuanum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Proceratiinae
Tribe: Proceratiini
Genus: Proceratium
Species: P. papuanum
Binomial name
Proceratium papuanum
Emery, 1897

Proceratium papuanum castype06965 profile 1.jpg

Proceratium papuanum castype06965 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


Nothing is known about the biology of Proceratium papuanum.


A member of the silaceum clade, resembling Proceratium snellingi, but differing from it, in the worker and in the gyne, by the broader frontal carinae, by the more superficial body sculpture and by the smaller value of CI (≤ 95 instead of ≥ 100).

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 5° to -10.25°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea (type locality), Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands.

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. ‎


. Owned by Museum of Comparative Zoology.


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

  • papuanum. Proceratium papuanum Emery, 1897c: 592, pl. 15, fig. 38 (q.) NEW GUINEA (Papua New Guinea).
    • Type-material: holotype queen.
    • Type-locality: Papua New Guinea: (no further data) (L. Biró).
    • Type-depository: HNHM.
    • Status as species: Emery, 1911d: 50; Chapman & Capco, 1951: 77; Brown, 1958g: 248; Taylor & Brown, 1985: 40; Taylor, 1987a: 65; Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 334 (redescription); Pfeiffer, et al. 2011: 58; Sarnat, et al. 2013: 74; Liu, C., Fischer & Economo, 2015: 39 (in key).
    • Senior synonym of caeca: Brown, 1958g: 248; Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 334.
    • Senior synonym of carinifrons: Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 334.
    • Distribution: Indonesia (Irian Jaya, Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsula, Sabah), Papua New Guinea, Philippines (Luzon, Negros), Russell Is, Solomon Is.
  • caeca. Ponera caeca Donisthorpe, 1949b: 491 (w.) NEW GUINEA (Indonesia).
    • Type-material: holotype worker.
    • Type-locality: Indonesia: Irian Jaya (“Dutch New Guinea”), Maffin Bay, 20.viii.1944 (E.S. Ross).
    • Type-depository: CASC.
    • [Unresolved junior primary homonym of Ponera coeca Santschi, 1914d: 322 (Bolton, 1995b: 366).]
    • Status as species: Chapman & Capco, 1951: 68.
    • Junior synonym of papuanum: Brown, 1958g: 248; Bolton, 1995b: 366; Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 334.
  • carinifrons. Proceratium carinifrons Menozzi, 1939b: 175, fig. 1 (w.q.) INDONESIA (Sumatra).
    • Type-material: 2 syntype workers, 1 syntype queen.
    • Type-locality: Indonesia: Sumatra, Fort de Kock (E. Jacobson).
    • Type-depository: IEUB.
    • Status as species: Brown, 1958g: 247; Bolton, 1995b: 366.
    • Junior synonym of papuanum: Baroni Urbani & De Andrade, 2003b: 334.

Type Material

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 and with gently convex sides. Vertex in full face view weakly convex. Clypeus reduced and as long as the antennal sockets. Anterior border of the clypeus truncate. Frontal carinae far from each other, not covering the antennal insertions. Lateral expansions of the frontal carinae very broad, little raised, diverging on the two anterior Fourths, converging on the third fourth, diverging and carinate only on the last fourth. Frontal area gently concave on the three anterior fourths and with a central, thick, longitudinal carina starting in the last fourth and prolonging posteriorly; the carina beginning more anteriorly in some specimes. Head anterolaterally with a short, thin, longitudinal carina. Genal carinae marked, each carina corresponding to the external border of a deep sulcus. Eyes visible as a minute, dark dot below the integument, small and on the middle of the head sides. First funicular joint about as broad as long. 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 6-7 denticles before the pointed apical tooth. Palp formula 2,2.

Mesosoma convex and shorter than maximum head length (mandibles included) in profile. Pronotal and propodeal sutures absent. Basal face of the propodeum declivous posteriorly. Declivous face of the propodeum gently sloping posteriorly. Area between basal and declivous faces of the propodeum gently concave medially, dorsally superficially carinate and denticulate on each side. Sides of the declivous face superficially carinate. Propodeal spiracle round and above mid height in lateral view.

Petiole subrectangular and narrow. Anterior border of the petiole straight and anterolaterally carinate. Ventral process of the petiole thicker anteriorly, narrowing and slightly pointed posteriorly. Postpetiole in dorsal view with posteriorly diverging sides. 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. Remaining gastral tergites and sternites curved ventrally.

Legs short. Fore tibiae incrassate. Mid and hind tibiae slightly incrassate. All tibiae with a pectinate spur. Spurs of fore legs without basal spine. Fore basitarsi longer than the mid ones. Wind basitarsi about 1/4 shorter than hind tibiae. Second tarsomere of hind legs shorter than pretarsus. Pretarsal claws simple. Arolia absent.

Sculpture. Head, mesosoma, petiole, postpetiole and gaster punctate, the punctures more marked and raised to form small granulation on the mesosoma and on the postpetiole, absent on the center of the posterior half of the first gastral tergite. Mead sides with additional longitudinal rugosities. Anterior part of the pronotum and centre of the basal face of the propodeum sometimes with short, transversal rugosities. Legs minutely punctate.

Body covered by hairs of three main types: (1) short, dense, subdecumbent on the whole body, suberect and sparse on the funicular joints; (2) longer than type (1), erect on the whole body, slightly shorter and 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. Ferrugineous-light brown with lighter legs.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 2.37-2.57; HL 0.55-0.60; HW 0.52-0.56; EL 0.02-0.03; SL 0.36-0.40; WL 0.66-0.70; PeL 0.16-0.19; PeW 0.25-0.27; HFeL 0.39-0.41; HTiL 0.31-0.33; HBaL 0.20-0.24; LS4 0.24-0.27; LT4 0.49-0.55; CI 92.8-94.7; SI 64.3-66.7; IGR 0.48-0.51.


Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003) - Differing from the worlter in the following details: eyes large, about 1/3 of the head length, composed by many facets and with ocular pilosity. Ocelli well developed.

Mesosoma longer than the head length (mandibles included), robust, convex in side view. Parapsidal furrows marked. Scutellum posteriorly with gently converging sides and with the posterior border subround. Dorsum of the scutellum with a thick longitudinal ruga prolonging to the posterior half of the mesonoturn. Metanotuin with a small denticle. Basal face of the propodeum medially concave. Area between basal and declivous faces of the propodeum carinate and denticulate on each side.

Colour. Light ferrugineous with the posterior half of the head dorsum, center of mesosoma, postpetiole and gaster darker. Legs lighter.

Measurements in mm and Indices: TL 2.92-3.12; HL 0.60-0.64; HW 0.56-0.65; EL 0.19-0.21; SL 0.40-0.42; WL 0.88-0.95; PeL 0.19-0.21; PeW 0.28-0.32; HFeL 0.46-0.50; HTiE 0.36-0.40; HBaL 0.27-0.29; LS4 0.32-0.35; LT4 0.63-0.70; CI 93.3-95.0; SI 64.5-66.7; IGR 0.50-0.51.

Type Material

Baroni Urbani and de Andrade (2003):

Type locality New Guinea. Type material: holotype gyne labeled: "N Gulnea, Biro 96, det. Emery, papuanum, Holotypus, Proceratium papuanum Emery,1897, Papp 1974", in Hungarian Natural History Museum, examined.

Proceratium carinifrons Type locality: Fort de Kock, Sumatra. Type material: a worker (syntype) labeled "Fort de Kock, (Sumatra) 920 M. 1926, leg. E. Jacobson", in Istituto di Entomologia "Guido Grandi" , examined.

Ponera caeca Type locality: New Guinea. Type material: holotype worker labelled: "Maffin Bay, Dutch N. Guinea, VIII-20.44, E. S. Ross Coll, Type, Ponera caeca Donis, H. Donisthorpe det, 7.VIII.1946, 64, Proceratium papuanum Emery, det. WL Brown, California Academy of Sciences, Type no. 6965"; in California Academy of Sciences, 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 334, fig. 134 worker, queen described, Senior synonym of carinifrons)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1958g. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 118: 173-362 (page 248, Senior synonym of caeca)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • 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.
  • Brown W. L., Jr. 1958. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. II. Tribe Ectatommini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 118: 173-362.
  • CSIRO Collection
  • Donisthorpe H. 1949. A fifth instalment of the Ross Collection of ants from New Guinea. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (12)1: 487-506.
  • Emery C. 1897. Formicidarum species novae vel minus cognitae in collectione Musaei Nationalis Hungarici quas in Nova-Guinea, colonia germanica, collegit L. Biró. Természetrajzi Füzetek 20: 571-599.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • General D. M., and G. D. Alpert. 2012. A synoptic review of the ant genera (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the Philippines. Zookeys 200: 1-111.
  • Janda M., G. D. Alpert, M. L. Borowiec, E. P. Economo, P. Klimes, E. Sarnat, and S. O. Shattuck. 2011. Cheklist of ants described and recorded from New Guinea and associated islands. Available on Accessed on 24th Feb. 2011.
  • Jennings J. T., and A. D. Austin. 2015. Synopsis of the hymenopteran fauna of Lord Howe Island with a preliminary checklist of species. Zootaxa 3931(3): 423–432.
  • Liu C., G. Fischer, and E. P. Economo. 2015. A rare ant on Samoa: first record of the cryptic subfamily Proceratiinae (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) and description of a new Proceratium Roger species. Journal of Hymenoptera Research 46: 35-44.
  • Menozzi C. 1939. Qualche nuova formica di Sumatra. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 82: 175-181.
  • Pfeiffer M.; Mezger, D.; Hosoishi, S.; Bakhtiar, E. Y.; Kohout, R. J. 2011. The Formicidae of Borneo (Insecta: Hymenoptera): a preliminary species list. Asian Myrmecology 4:9-58
  • Taylor R. W. 1987. A checklist of the ants of Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Entomology Report 41: 1-92.
  • Taylor R. W., and D. R. Brown. 1985. Formicoidea. Zoological Catalogue of Australia 2: 1-149. 
  • Viehmeyer H. 1912. Ameisen aus Deutsch Neuguinea gesammelt von Dr. O. Schlaginhaufen. Nebst einem Verzeichnisse der papuanischen Arten. Abhandlungen und Berichte des Königlichen Zoologischen und Anthropologische-Ethnographischen Museums zu Dresden 14: 1-26.
  • Wilson Edward O. 1959. Adaptive Shift and Dispersal in a Tropical Ant Fauna. Evolution 13(1): 122-144