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A small genus (six described species) restricted to central and western Africa. They are cryptic foragers, and at least one species (Psalidomyrmex procerus) is a specialist predator of earthworms. Species of Psalidomyrmex nest in rotten wood, beneath logs, or directly in the ground and hunting is generally performed solitarily (Bolton, 1975b). The latest generic revision is by Bolton (1975b) and there is an updated list of species and a species key presented in Bolton & Brown (2002).


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Psalidomyrmex workers and queens are readily identified by their unique mandibular structure (mandibles falcate to subtriangular, with broadly rounded basal angles and an attenuated apical tooth) and by their projecting labral lobe, both of which are autapomorphic within the Ponerinae. Other diagnostic characters include the hypertrophied frontal lobes, longitudinal groove on the propodeal dorsum, and large lateral metapleural gland orifice. Psalidomyrmex is most similar to the other members of the Plectroctena genus group, including Loboponera and Plectroctena itself. In addition to lacking the two autapomorphies of Psalidomyrmex already mentioned, these genera differ from Psalidomyrmex in having longitudinal dorsal grooves in the meso- and metafemora and distinct propodeal lamellae.

Keys including this Genus


Keys to Species in this Genus


Psalidomyrmex is restricted to central and western Africa, ranging from Sierra Leone to Kenya and as far south as Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Bolton, 1975b; Bolton & Brown, 2002).

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 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total Species 2841 1736 3045 932 835 4379 1741 2862


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Very little is known about the ecology and behavior of Psalidomyrmex. They nest in rotting logs, in the soil beneath rotting logs (Bolton, 1975b), or in deserted termitaries (Déjean et al., 1996, 1997), and workers forage individually in rotting wood or in leaf litter (Bolton, 1975b). Psalidomyrmex procerus is known to be a specialist predator of earthworms (Lévieux, 1982; Déjean et al., 1992), capturing worms as long as 10 cm (Dejean et al., 1999). Although the feeding habits of the other species is unknown, it seems likely that they too may feed on earthworms, given the apparently specialized mandibular structure of the genus.

Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: ? (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 Morphology

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• Antennal segment count: 12 • Antennal club: gradual • Total dental count: 1-11(0-4) • Spur formula: 1 pectinate, 1 pectinate • Eyes: 11-100 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

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 • Antennal segment count 13 • Antennal club 0 • Palp formula 3,4 • Total dental count 0-1 • Spur formula 1 pectinate, 1 pectinate



Platythyrea  (40 species, 6 fossil species)

Pachycondyla group
⊞(show genera)
Ponera group
⊞(show genera)

Harpegnathos  (13 species, 0 fossil species)

Hypoponera  (177 species, 1 fossil species)

Plectroctena group
⊞(show genera)
Odontomachus group
⊞(show taxa)

See Phylogeny of Ponerinae for details.


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

  • PSALIDOMYRMEX [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Psalidomyrmex André, 1890: 313. Type-species: Psalidomyrmex foveolatus, by monotypy.

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


Schmidt and Shattuck (2014):


Medium to large (TL 9.0–16.0 mm; Bolton, 1975b) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles falcate to subtriangular, with rounded basal angles, a long apical tooth and a basal groove. Labrum projecting anteriorly beyond the anterior clypeal margin as a lobe. Frontal lobes large, expanded laterally and closely approximated. Eyes of moderate size, located anterior to head midline. Metanotal groove vestigial. Propodeum broad dorsally, with a shallow longitudinal groove dorsally. Propodeal spiracles round. Metapleural gland orifice very large, opening laterally. Metatibial spur formula (1p). Petiole nodiform. Anteroventral articulatory surface of petiole long and broad, with a narrow median V-shaped longitudinal groove. Gaster with a strong constriction between A3 and A4. Head and body with moderate sculpturing (variously punctate, foveolate or striate), with very sparse pilosity and no pubescence. Color reddish brown to black.


Similar to workers but slightly larger, alate and with ocelli.


See description in Bolton (1975b).


Described for Psalidomyrmex procerus by Wheeler & Wheeler (1964).