Tranopelta subterranea

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Tranopelta subterranea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Tranopelta
Species: T. subterranea
Binomial name
Tranopelta subterranea
(Mann, 1916)

Tranopelta subterranea casent0900746 p 1 high.jpg

Tranopelta subterranea casent0900746 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

While little is known about Tranopelta subterranea its name implies the belief that it is a denizen of the soil.


Fernández (2003) - Propodeum and promesonotum clearly convex in lateral view, separated by a broad metanotal groove. Scapes approaching or surpassing the vertexal border. This species comprises the largest workers of the tribe. The shape of the mesosoma easily distinguishes it from Tranopelta gilva.

Characters used to separate each caste of T. subterranea from Tranopelta gilva (the only other species in the genus) are given on the Tranopelta genus page.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -0.4° to -12.88°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Bolivia, Brazil (type locality), Colombia, Ecuador, Peru.

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.



Images from AntWeb

Tranopelta subterranea casent0904616 d 1 high.jpgTranopelta subterranea casent0904616 h 1 high.jpgTranopelta subterranea casent0904616 p 1 high.jpgTranopelta subterranea casent0904616 l 1 high.jpg
Syntype of Tranopelta subterraneaWorker. Specimen code casent0904616. Photographer Z. Lieberman, 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.

  • subterranea. Monomorium (Mitara) subterraneum Mann, 1916: 444, pl. 4, figs. 29, 30 (w.) BRAZIL (Rondônia).
    • Type-material: lectotype worker (by designation of Fernández, 2003c: 659), 7 paralectotype workers.
    • Type-locality: Brazil: Madeira-Mamoré R.R., Camp 39 (284 km. from Porto Velho), 1911 (W.M. Mann).
    • Type-depositories: LACM (lectotype); IAVH, LACM, USNM (paralectotypes).
    • Fernández, 2003c: 658 (q.m.).
    • Combination in Tranopelta: Emery, 1919b: 61.
    • Junior synonym of huberi: Emery, 1919b: 61.
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1922e: 10; Emery, 1922e: 193; Borgmeier, 1927c: 101; Ettershank, 1966: 109; Kempf, 1972a: 255; Bolton, 1995b: 421; Fernández, 2003c: 656 (redescription); Guénard & Economo, 2015: 228; Guerrero, Fernández, et al. 2018: 256; Fernández & Serna, 2019: 879.
    • Distribution: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru.

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



Fernández (2003) - Lectotype [here designated] (other material N=3): HW 0.92 (0.71-1.33) HL 0.99 (1.00-1.34) DA 0.42 (0.43-0.50) SL 0.92 (0.92-1.09) EL 0.10 (0.10-0.13) WL 1.17 (1.34-1.54) PL 0.42 (0.45-0.50) PPL 0.29 (0.28-0.38) GL 1.30 (1.29-1.64) TL 4.38 (4.59-5.64) CI 93 (71-100) SI 100 (81-129).

Feebly polymorphic. Head as long as broad (minors) to broader than long (majors). Posterior border of head slightly convex or flat (minors) to concave (majors). Lateral sides of head slightly concave and parallel (minors) to concave and narrower anteriorly (majors). Mandibles with five stout teeth, the apical and subapical teeth larger in majors. Mandibles smooth and shining with several longitudinal carinae, feebly impressed. Anterior margin of clypeus sinuous, concave in the middle. Clypeus never carinate, without median apical seta. Frontal lobes short. Antennal scrobes absent. Eyes minute (with 3-4 facets) to moderate (around 12 facets) in size. Scape ending near or surpassing slightly the head border. Inside view, promesonotum forms a convexity clearly separated from the propodeum, which is also concave. Metanotal groove deep. Pronotal suture impressed dorsally and broad laterally. Propodeum gently rounded, without spines. Bulla of metapleural gland bulging. Petiole pedunculated, node distinct. Subpetiolar process varies from a faint projection to a conspicuous spine. Petiole ventrally with a median carina posteriorly bifurcated in Y shape. Postpetiole with distinct anterior process, and a second transverse carinae. Postpetiole more or less broadly attached to gaster. Head with feebly short striae on posterior part (towards vertex) and clypeus. Dorsum of pronotum with microrugulation. Dorsum of mesonotum with scattered and irregular transverse striae. Dorsal and posterior declivitous face of propodeum with transverse striae extending onto sides. Peduncle of petiole and postpetiole with dense microsculpture, less marked on petiolar node. First tergum smooth and shining. Moderate pilosity on dorsum (except propodeum), consisting of erect hairs, larger on promesonotum. Color brownish yellow, with same hair color. Antennal club with denser pubescence than other segments.


(n= 1): HW 1.95 HL 1.65 SL 1.25 EL 0.43 WL 3.55 PL 0.95 PPL 0.50 GL 3.9 TL AA 10.5 11.10 CI 118 SI 64.

Head broader than long in frontal view, posterior margin straight, occipital corner narrow, sides slightly convex, subparallel. Eyes in middle of head. Scapes surpassing vertexal margin. Mandibles with six stout teeth, the apical tooth largest. Mesosoma modified as in myrmicine queens. Promesonotum dorsally with impressed longitudinal central line and two short lateral lines. Front wing as in figure 31. Petiole ventrally with one central carinae and several short and irregular carinae toward posterior border of petiole. Postpetiole broadly attached to gaster.

Head, mesosoma, petiole, and postpetiole with dense microsculpture (isodiametricaly granulose). Dorsum of gaster with fine and dense punctuation. Body and wings with dense pubescence. Short and erect pilosity over body, except propodeum. Head, promesonotum and gaster dark brown, otherwise rest or body lighter.


(n= 1): HW (including eyes) 1.28 HL 0.95 EL 0.53 SL 0.38 WL 2.35 PL 0.60 PPL 0.50 GL 2.4 TL 6.95 CI 135 SI 30.

Head approximately as broad as long. Mandibles narrow, touching when closed and with 3 teeth, the apical tooth largest and separated from the other two. Clypeus nearly straight in the middle. Eyes closer to posterior clypeal margin than to ocellar area. Front wing as in Figure 31. Ventral surface or petiole devoid or central carina, instead several longitudinal, very short carinae. Sculpture and pubescense as in the female, hair longer.

Type Material

Fernández (2003) - From the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History collection, there are 3 workers with the following labels: “Rio Madeira Mamore Brazil Mann & Baker / Madeira Mamore R.R. Co. Camp 39 / Type 35 9081 / Tranopelta subterranea Mann” Lectotype and two paralectotypes were designated. From the same collection, there are two workers with the following labels: “Rio Madeira Mamore RR Co. Camp 39 / Cotypes / Collection or W.S. Creighton purchased by LACM 1974 / Tranopelta subterranea Mann”. Both workers were designated as paralectotypes and deposited in Humboldt Institute and National Museum of Natural History.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Fernández, F. and S. Sendoya. 2004. Lista de las hormigas neotropicales. Biota Colombiana Volume 5, Number 1.
  • Mertl A. L., J. F. A. Traniello, K. Ryder Wilkie, and R. Constantino. 2012. Associations of two ecologically significant social insect taxa in the litter of an amazonian rainforest: is there a relationship between ant and termite species richness? Psyche doi:10.1155/2012/312054
  • Robson Simon Ant Collection, 05-Sept-2014