Temnothorax recedens

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Temnothorax recedens
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Temnothorax
Species group: palearctic
Species: T. recedens
Binomial name
Temnothorax recedens
(Nylander, 1856)

Temnothorax recedens casent0281560 p 1 high.jpg

Temnothorax recedens casent0281560 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


A widespread, mainly western Mediterranean species occurring in southern Europe, Turkey and NW Africa (Rigato & Toni, 2011). It shows very wide habitat preferences, being found in deciduous forests, bushes growing along water sources, phrygana and in mountains. Nests are most often in soil, sometimes under stones or in rocks crevices. Workers have been collected in litter or on rocks. Colonies are polygynous (Salata, Borowiec & Trichas, 2018).


Prebus (2017) - A member of the Palearctic clade.

Salata et al. (2018) - The only Temnothorax species known from Crete with a deep metanotal groove, big eyes, and reduced body sculpture (mesosoma and head almost entirely smooth and shiny).

Cretan populations of Temnothorax recedens are distinctly bicoloured, with the head, lateral parts of the mesosoma, and a large part of gaster always darker than the rest of the body. This differs from populations from eastern Greece, which have less contrasting colouration. Cretan specimens also have shorter propodeal spines than most populations in southern and central Greece. These characteristics of Cretan T. recedens are most similar to T. recedens populations from the western part of its range. Further study of the genetics and morphometrics of populations across the entire species' range is needed to test if Temnothorax recedens is a complex of cryptic species or a valid single, albeit variable, species.

Keys including this Species


This is a widely distributed species, recorded from all Greek provinces. Populations from Samothraki belong the palest morphotype with mesosoma and head uniformly yellow or with indistinct dark patches. This form is known only from Thrace and needs genetic studies, maybe it is a distinct species intermediate between widespread Temnothorax recedens and recorded only from the Aegean Islands and the Dodecanese Temnothorax antigoni (Borowiec et al., 2022).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 46.233333° to 31.966667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Albania, Armenia, Balearic Islands, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France (type locality), Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Iberian Peninsula, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Türkiye, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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.


Association with Other Organisms

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  • This species is a host for the ant Temnothorax kraussei (a slave maker) (Buschinger et al., 1988; de la Mora et al., 2021; Seifert, 2018; Suefuji & Heinze, 2014; Suefuji & Heinze, 2015).
  • This species is a host for the ant Temnothorax kutteri (a slave maker) (Espadaler & Restrepo, 1983; Buschinger et al., 1988; Beibl et al., 2007; de la Mora et al., 2021).
  • This species is a host for the ant Temnothorax muellerianus (a slave maker) (Buschinger et al., 1988; de la Mora et al., 2021) (common host).


  • This species is a host for the gregarine Mattesia geminata (a parasite) in Germany, Italy (Buschinger & Kleespies, 1999).


  • This species is a host for the fungus Myrmicinosporidium durum (a pathogen) in France, Croatia, Switzerland (Buschinger & Winter, 1983; Espadaler & Santamaria, 2012).

Life History Traits

  • Queen number: Facultatively polygynous (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992; Salata, Borowiec & Trichas, 2018) (monogynous in Frumhoff & Ward, 1992; polygynous in Salata et al., 2018)
  • Queen type: winged (Frumhoff & Ward, 1992) (queen-right worker reproduction)
  • Worker-produced males: present (Dejean & Passera, 1974; Frumhoff & Ward, 1992)



Images from AntWeb

Temnothorax recedens casent0281561 h 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0281561 p 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0281561 d 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0281561 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0281561. Photographer Estella Ortega, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Temnothorax recedens casent0904765 h 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0904765 p 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0904765 d 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0904765 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Leptothorax pictusWorker. Specimen code casent0904765. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MSNG, Genoa, Italy.
Temnothorax recedens casent0906176 h 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0906176 p 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0906176 d 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0906176 l 1 high.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0906176. Photographer Cerise Chen, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMUK, London, UK.
Borowiec and Salata, 2013. Figure 40. Worker.


Images from AntWeb

Temnothorax recedens casent0281562 h 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0281562 p 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0281562 d 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0281562 l 1 high.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0281562. Photographer Estella Ortega, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Temnothorax recedens casent0904764 h 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0904764 p 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0904764 d 1 high.jpgTemnothorax recedens casent0904764 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Temnothorax rogeriQueen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0904764. Photographer Will Ericson, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MSNG, Genoa, Italy.


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

  • recedens. Myrmica recedens Nylander, 1856b: 94, pl. 3, fig. 41 (w.) FRANCE. Roger, 1859: 258 (q.); Forel, 1874: 83 (m.). Combination in Temnothorax: Mayr, 1861: 68; in Leptothorax (Temnothorax): Forel, 1890a: lxxii; in Temnothorax: Bolton, 2003: 271. Senior synonym of pictus: Collingwood, 1978: 69; of ergatogyna, mordax: Dlussky & Soyunov, 1988: 31; of barbarus: Cagniant & Espadaler, 1997: 268. See also: Forel, 1915d: 27; Emery, 1916b: 186; Bernard, 1967: 186; Kutter, 1977c: 135; Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 126.
  • mordax. Leptothorax (Temnothorax) mordax Santschi, 1919e: 242 (q.) SPAIN. Junior synonym of recedens: Dlussky & Soyunov, 1988: 31.
  • pictus. Leptothorax (Temnothorax) pictus Emery, 1924c: 166 (w.) SPAIN. Junior synonym of recedens: Collingwood, 1978: 69.
  • barbarus. Leptothorax (Temnothorax) recedens var. barbarus Santschi, 1939d: 76 (w.q.) TUNISIA. Junior synonym of recedens: Cagniant & Espadaler, 1997: 268.
  • ergatogyna. Leptothorax (Temnothorax) ergatogyna Bernard, 1950a: 17, fig. 3 (w.q.) FRANCE. Combination in Temnothorax: Bernard, 1967: 186. Junior synonym of recedens: Dlussky & Soyunov, 1988: 31.

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



Salata et al. (2018) - based on Cretan specimens (n=15): HL: 0.637 ± 0.07 (0.503-0.745); HW: 0.518 ± 0.06 (0.408-0.603); SL: 0.623 ± 0.07 (0.491- 0.735); EL: 0.138 ± 0.01 (0.106-0.156); EW: 0.095 ± 0.01 (0.067-0.112); ML: 0.787 ± 0.116 (0.609-0.978); PSL: 0.129 ± 0.03 (0.089-0.179); SDL: 0.141 ± 0.03 (0.084- 0.19); PL: 0.293 ± 0.04 (0.212-0.358); PPL: 0.216 ± 0.03 (0.156-0.257); PH: 0.199 ± 0.03 (0.156-0.246); PPH: 0.193 ± 0.03 (0.154-0.243); HTL: 0.518 ± 0.08 (0.358- 0.603); PNW: 0.364 ± 0.05 (0.279-0.441); PW: 0.142 ± 0.02 (0.109-0.168); PPW: 0.213 ± 0.03 (0.156-0.257); HI: 81.2 ± 2.3 (77.7-85.9); SI1: 97.7 ± 3.9 (92.3-108.1); SI2: 120.3 ± 2.7 (115.6-125.8); MI: 65.0 ± 8.1 (49.3-75.0); EI1: 69.9 ± 8.7 (53.8-78.9); EI2: 15.0 ± 1.7 (12.8-17.9); TI: 102.4 ± 13.0 (87.1-132.0); PI: 147.6 ± 10.4 (128.1-167.1); PPI: 112.0 ± 10.7 (94.2-131.3).

Head and gaster brown to dark brown. Mesosoma mostly in the same colouration as head, but with orange pronotum. Sometimes orange area covering some parts of mesonotum and propodeum, in extreme examples the whole mesosoma orange. Base of the first tergite of gaster with bright brown to orange spot. Antennae and legs with the same colouration as mesonotum. Femora with dark spots in central part.

Head oval, 1.2 times as long as wide, lateral surfaces below eyes straight, above eyes gently convex, posterior edges convex, occipital margin of head convex. Anterior margin of the clypeus slightly rounded, medial notch absent. Eyes big, oval, 1.5 times as long as wide. Antennal scape long, in lateral view slightly curved, 0.9 times as long as length of the head, in apex gradually narrowed, its base with small, triangular tooth, funiculus long, club 3 segmented. Surface of scape with very fine microreticulation, shiny, covered with dense, suberect to erect setae. Mandibles rounded with thick sparse, longitudinal striae, shiny. Clypeus shiny and smooth. Frontal carinae short, not extending beyond frontal lobes. Antennal fossa deep, smooth and shiny. Frontal lobes narrow, smooth and shiny. Head on the almost whole surface smooth and shiny. Sculpture, if occurs, limited to sparse, thin, longitudinal striation on the area between eyes and mandibles. Entire head bearing from suberect to erect, pale, long and thick setae.

Mesosoma elongate, 2.2 times as long as wide, slightly arched in profile. Metanotal groove deep. Pronotum convex on sides. Propodeal spines short, with wide base, directed upward, with acute tips. Dorsal surface of promesonotum smooth and shiny, sometimes with few longitudinal wrinkles. Dorsal surface of propodeum shiny, smooth or with slight reticulation. Lateral surfaces of pronotum smooth and shiny. Lateral surfaces of mesonotum and propodeum shiny, with slight, longitudinal striation or reticulation. Entire mesosoma bearing suberect to erect, pale, long and thick setae.

Petiole, in lateral view, with short peduncle, node high, with anterior and posteriol faces straight or convex, its dorsal surface arched. Postpetiole, in lateral view, regularly convex, apical half with gently convex sides. Peduncle and petiolar node and postpetiole dorsum shiny, with thin, microreticulation, area between rugae smooth, central parts of dorsal surfaces of petiolar node and postpetiole dorsum smooth. Petiole and postpetiole on dorsal surfaces bearing sparse, long, semierect to erect setae.

Gaster smooth and shiny, bearing erect, thin, pale setae. Legs short, shiny, with fine microreticulation. Tibiae 0.7 times as long as head length, bearing adpressed setae on the whole surface. Inner margins of tibia and femora with erect setae.


  • n = 12 (Italy) (Fischer, Karl, 1987) (as Leptothorax recedens).

haploid karyotype of Temnothorax recedens


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