Tetramorium impurum

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Tetramorium impurum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Tetramorium
Species: T. impurum
Binomial name
Tetramorium impurum
(Foerster, 1850)

Tetramorium impurum casent0173645 profile 1.jpg

Tetramorium impurum casent0173645 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels


This species is parasitized by the workerless inquilines Tetramorium atratulum (Wagner et al., 2017; Seifert, 2018) and Tetramorium inquilinum, the inquilines Strongylognathus karawajewi (de la Mora et al., 2021; Sanetra & Buschinger, 2000) and Strongylognathus testaceus, and the slave-making ants Strongylognathus alpinus, Strongylognathus christophi , Strongylognathus destefanii, Strongylognathus huberi and Strongylognathus italicus. In Greece it is a mountain species, noted from Epirus, Ionian Islands, Macedonia, Peloponnese Sterea Ellas and Thrace. It prefers mountain and alpine pastures, nests in ground (Borowiec & Salata, 2021).

At a Glance • Limited invasive  

Photo Gallery

  • Tetramorium impurum worker with eggs. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Tetramorium impurum colony. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Tetramorium impurum, queen and workers. Photo by Michal Kukla.
  • Tetramorium impurum worker foraging on european hornet (Vespa crabro) corpse. Photo by Michal Kukla.


A member of the Tetramorium caespitum complex. The species can be determined with a discriminant analysis of a set of morphological measurements. See Wagner et al. (2017) and https://webapp.uibk.ac.at/ecology/tetramorium/


Wagner et al. (2017) - Eastern clade: Anatolia, Balkans, Italy, Central Europe, Benelux northward to 52° N. Western clade: Iberia, western France.

In Greece it is a mountain species, noted from Epirus, the Ionian Islands, Macedonia, Peloponnese, Sterea Ellas and Thrace (Borowiec et al., 2022).

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 51.83° to 36.691667°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic (type locality), Germany (type locality), Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey.

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.


Wagner et al. (2017) - Less thermophilic than most other species of complex, different from all species except Tetramorium caucasicum. Temperature difference (t-test, p = 0.000) between eastern (TAS of 124 sites 13.7 ± 2.7 °C) and western clade (TAS of 31 sites 15.7 ± 2.3 °C). Eastern clade in Central Europe in mountain areas but also lowlands, in southern Europe on high evaluation. Typical habitats are meadows, semi-dry grasslands, rocky pastures, subalpine dwarf-shrub heathland, heaths, gravel pits, rock heaps, road embankments, avalanche trenches, rocky bright forests (pine, spruce, larch). In Central Europe often on loamy soil. Eastern clade of T. impurum shows strong affinity to stony habitats, while T. caespitum is more frequently collected from meadows. Western clade of T. impurum in sandy areas near coast, riverbanks, and oak forests. Nests typically under stones, but small soil mounds exist.

Monogynous (Seifert 2007).

Adult sexuals in nests on 23 August ± 27 [29 June, 14 October] (n = 36).

Tetramorium atratulum, Strongylognathus testaceus, and Strongylognathus alpinus were found in nests of T. impurum.

Flight Period

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Source: antkeeping.info.


Images from AntWeb

Tetramorium impurum casent0173869 head 1.jpgTetramorium impurum casent0173869 profile 1.jpgTetramorium impurum casent0173869 dorsal 1.jpgTetramorium impurum casent0173869 label 1.jpg
Queen (alate/dealate). Specimen code casent0173869. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.


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

  • impurum. Myrmica impura Foerster, 1850a: 48 (w.) GERMANY.
    • Emery, 1925c: 184 (q.); Kutter, 1977c: 151 (m.).
    • Combination in Tetramorium: Mayr, 1855: 426.
    • Junior synonym of caespitum: Curtis, 1854: 215; Mayr, 1855: 427; Nylander, 1856b: 87; Smith, F. 1858b: 117; Roger, 1863b: 26; Mayr, 1863: 456; Mayr, 1865: 89; Smith, F. 1871b: 3; André, 1874: 203 (in list); Forel, 1874: 100 (in list); Emery & Forel, 1879: 458; Dalla Torre, 1893: 132; Emery, 1924d: 276.
    • Subspecies of caespitum: Emery, 1925c: 178.
    • Status as species: Kutter, 1977c: 159; Pasteels, et al. 1981: 675; Cammaerts, et al. 1985: 109; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987b: 277 (in key); López, 1991a: 31; Bolton, 1995b: 409; Radchenko, et al. 1998: 109; Sanetra, et al. 1999: 321; Czechowski, et al. 2002: 65; Seifert, 2007: 248; Casevitz-Weulersse & Galkowski, 2009: 497; Boer, 2010: 68; Czechowski, et al. 2012: 178; Borowiec, L. 2014: 199 (see note in bibliography); Radchenko, 2016: 246; Wagner, et al. 2017: 120 (redescription).
    • Senior synonym of gregori: Wagner, et al. 2017: 120.
    • Senior synonym of penninum: Sanetra, et al. 1999: 321; Radchenko, 2016: 246; Wagner, et al. 2017: 120.
  • gregori. Tetramorium staerckei var. gregori Kratochvíl, in Kratochvíl, et al. 1944: 66, fig. 7 (w.q.m.) CZECHOSLOVAKIA.
    • Subspecies of impurum: Bolton, 1995b: 408.
    • Junior synonym of impurum: Wagner, et al. 2017: 120.
  • penninum. Tetramorium caespitum var. penninum Santschi, 1927a: 54 (w.) SWITZERLAND.
    • Subspecies of caespitum: Novák & Sadil, 1941: 87 (in key); Bolton, 1995b: 412.
    • Junior synonym of impurum: Sanetra, et al. 1999: 321.

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



Wagner et al. (2017) - Medium size, CS = 741 ± 48 [624, 891] μm. Light brown to blackish, eastern clade often with lighter mesosoma.

Head moderately elongate, CL / CW = 1.017 ± 0.017 [0.951, 1.049]. Smallest eye of complex, EYE / CS = 0.168 ± 0.005 [0.155, 0.181]. Scape moderately long, SLd / CS = 0.779 ± 0.015 [0.741, 0.820]. Mesosoma short and moderately wide, ML / CS = 1.146 ± 0.025 [1.082, 1.200], MW / CS = 0.632 ± 0.011 [0.606, 0.654].

Promesonotal dorsum convex, metanotal groove shallow. – Head dorsum and occiput with longitudinal costae and costulae. Postoculo-temporal area of head with rather many costae and costulae, POTCos = 8.80 ± 1.78 [5.00, 14.75]. Mesosoma dorsum longitudinally rugulose, lateral side of propodeum with pronounced sculpture, Ppss = 29.4 ± 14.2 [3.4, 79.5]. – Dorsum of petiolar node usually with stronger costae and often fine transverse or reticulate microsculpture, exceptionally smooth. General surface appearance rather dull compared with other species. – Connected stickman-like or reticulate microsculpture: small units scattered over 1st gastral tergite, MC1TG = 15.25 ± 2.93 [6.70, 24.92]. – Some workers with long c-shaped, crinkly, or sinuous hairs on ventral head posterior to buccal cavity.


Wagner et al. (2017) - Paramere structure belongs to impurum-like form: rounded ventral paramere lobe without any sharp corner in dorsal or ventral view but with clear division of ventral and dorsal paramere lobes, visible by deep emargination between lobes in posterior view. No sharp corner at end of ventral lobe visible in posterior view. Relatively short dorsal paramere lobe, visible in posterior and dorsal view. Paramere structure length in lateral view > 1014 μm. No corner on ventral paramere lobe between lobe top and emargination with dorsal lobe in dorsal and posterior view.

Type Material

Wagner et al. (2017) - Neotype designation: Schlicksteiner & al. 2006: 267. Mirwart vic. Saint-Hubert (Belgium), (50.03° N 05.27° E), 360 m a.s.l., leg. Y. Roisin, 4.VIII.2000.


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