Tetramorium smaug

AntWiki: The Ants --- Online
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tetramorium smaug
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Tetramorium
Species: T. smaug
Binomial name
Tetramorium smaug
Hita Garcia & Fisher, 2012

Tetramorium smaug casent0121244 p 1 high.jpg

Tetramorium smaug casent0121244 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Only known from Ambatovy, Montagne d'Ambre, and Ivohibe. All three localities are montane rainforests at altitudes of 900 to 1300 m. However, these sites are geographically widely separated, one being located in the southeast, one in the east, and one in the northernmost tip of the island. This represents a fairly disjunctive distribution. Furthermore, the species is only known from six specimens, which could mean that it is very rare and uncommon, as seems to be the case with Tetramorium latreillei and Tetramorium sabatra. The scant available material was collected from pitfall traps, hand collecting, or rotten logs, which suggests that T. smaug is rarely encountered on the ground. Tetramorium smaug might live in the vegetation, which could explain why it was only seldom sampled. (Hita Garcia and Fisher 2012)


A member of the Tetramorium smaug species complex of the Tetramorium tortuosum-species group.

Tetramorium smaug can be easily discriminated from the remainder of the species complex by the following character set: antennal scapes comparatively short (SI 77 - 81); extremely long and massively constructed propodeal spines (PSLI 57 - 63); anterodorsal and posterodorsal margins of petiolar node situated at about same height; mesosoma with 7 to 14 pairs of standing hairs; hairs on leading edge of antennal scapes subdecumbent to suberect; first gastral tergite with several scattered standing hairs and very sparse, short, appressed pubescence; very dark brown to black colouration. (Hita Garcia and Fisher 2012)

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 22.47° to 12.59639°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (type locality).

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.




Economo-header (arilab.unit.oist.jp).png  X-ray micro-CT scan 3D model of Tetramorium smaug (worker) prepared by the Economo lab at OIST.

Rare and spiny ant species described from Madagascar See on Sketchfab. See list of 3D images.


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

  • smaug. Tetramorium smaug Hita Garcia & Fisher, 2012: 79, figs. 27, 28, 138-140, 142 (w.) MADAGASCAR.

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



HL 0.99 - 1.04 (1.02); HW 0.99 - 1.06 (1.02); SL 0.80 - 0.85 (0.81); EL 0.19 - 0.23 (0.21); PH 0.50 - 0.54 (0. 52); PW 0.70 - 0.77 (0.74); WL 1.30 - 1.38 (1.34); PSL 0.57 - 0.66 (0.60); PTL 0.30 - 0.38 (0.34); PTH 0.36 - 0.43 (0.40); PTW 0.25 - 0.32 (0. 29); PPL 0.30 - 0.32 (0.31); PPH 0.38 - 0.42 (0.41); PPW 0.36 - 0.41 (0.38); CI 100 - 102 (101); SI 77 - 81 (79); OI 19 - 22 (20); DMI 54 - 58 (56); LMI 38 - 40 (39); PSLI 57 - 63 (59); PeNI 35 - 41 (38); LPeI 77 - 91 (86); DPeI 79 - 88 (83); PpNI 48 - 55 (52); LPpI 73 - 79 (76); DPpI 120 - 132 (125); PPI 128 - 144 (135) (six measured).

Head as long as wide to weakly wider than long (CI 100 - 102); posterior head margin strongly concave. Anterior clypeal margin medially impressed. Frontal carinae strongly developed, diverging posteriorly, and ending at corners of posterior head margin. Antennal scrobes well-developed, moderately deep, but narrow and without defined posterior and ventral margins. Antennal scapes of moderate length, not reaching posterior head margin (SI 77 - 81). Eyes small to moderate (OI 19 - 22). Mesosomal outline in profile flat, moderately marginate from lateral to dorsal mesosoma; promesonotal suture and metanotal groove absent; mesosoma comparatively stout and high (LMI 38 - 40). Propodeal spines massively constructed with very broad base, extremely long, and acute (PSLI 57 - 63); propodeal lobes short and rounded. Petiolar node in profile rectangular nodiform, approximately 1.1 to 1.3 times higher than long (LPeI 77 - 91), anterior and posterior faces approximately parallel, anterodorsal and posterodorsal margins approximately at same height, dorsum slightly convex; node in dorsal view approximately 1.1 to 1.3 times longer than wide (DPeI 79 - 88). Postpetiole in profile subglobular, weakly anteroposteriorly compressed, approximately 1.2 to 1.4 times higher than long (LPpI 73 - 79); in dorsal view around 1.2 to 1.3 times wider than long (DPpI 120 - 132). Postpetiole in profile appearing less voluminous than petiolar node, in dorsal view approximately 1.3 to 1.5 times wider than petiolar node (PPI 128 - 144). Mandibles distinctly longitudinally rugose; clypeus longitudinally rugose, with three to five rugae; cephalic dorsum between frontal carinae with 9 to 12 longitudinal rugae, most rugae running unbroken from posterior head margin to anterior clypeus, few rugae interrupted or with cross-meshes; lateral and ventral head longitudinally rugose, rarely with cross-meshes. Mesosoma laterally and dorsally distinctly longitudinally rugose. Forecoxae with very distinct and pronounced longitudinal rugae. Waist segments longitudinally rugose, rugae on waist segments weaker than on head and mesosoma, especially dorsally. Gaster completely unsculptured, smooth, and shining. Ground sculpture generally faint to absent everywhere on body. Head with abundant standing hairs; mesosoma with 7 to 14 pairs of hairs; waist segments and first gastral tergite with few to several scattered, standing hairs; first gastral tergite with very sparse, short, and appressed pubescence. Anterior edges of antennal scapes with subdecumbent to suberect hairs. Body a uniform very dark brown to black colour.

Type Material

Holotype worker, MADAGASCAR, Toamasina, Ambatovy, 12.4 km NE Moramanga, 18.83937 S, 48.30842 E, 1080 m, montane rainforest, pitfall trap, collection code BLF16917, 4.-7.V.2007 (B.L. Fisher et al.) (California Academy of Sciences: CASENT0121244). Paratype, one worker with same data as holotype (CASC: CASENT0124788)


The new species was named after "Smaug", the villain dragon from the fantasy novel "The Hobbit" written by J.R.R. Tolkien. The species epithet is an arbitrary combination of letters.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Hita Garcia F., and B. L. Fisher. 2012. The ant genus Tetramorium Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Malagasy region—taxonomic revision of the T. kelleri and T. tortuosum species groups. Zootaxa 3592: 1-85.