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Species: Harpegnathos saltator   Jerdon, 1851 

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See Also:

Harpegnathos saltator cruentatus, Harpegnathos saltator taprobanae

Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2020)

Extant: 2 valid subspecies

Harpegnathos saltator Jerdon, 1851 PDF: 117 (w.) INDIA. Indomalaya. AntCat AntWiki HOL

Taxonomic history

Forel, 1913f PDF: 660 (q.m.).
See also: Bingham, 1903 PDF: 50.


  Geographic regions (According to curated Geolocale/Taxon lists):
    Asia: India
  Biogeographic regions (According to curated Bioregion/Taxon lists):

Distribution Notes:



This species has an unusual colony structure compared to other ponerine genera. In the beginning, young winged queens fly out from their natal colony, mate with foreign males and start new colonies independently. Once the founding queen dies (after a few years), several daughter workers replace her as reproductives in the colony. It is characteristic of several ponerine ants that workers can mate (almost always with foreign males) and store sperm in the spermatheca. In H. saltator, many young workers inbreed with males from the same colony (their brothers). They fight to establish a dominance hierarchy, and a few high-rankers will become reproductives and lay eggs, so-called gamergates. Every year, new winged queens will be reared, and they will disperse and start the process again. The combination of queen and gamergate reproduction results in an increased lifespan of colonies.

Taxonomic Treatment (provided by Plazi)

Treatment Citation: Jerdon, T. C., 1851, A catalogue of the species of ants found in southern India., Madras Journal of Literature and Science 17, pp. 103-127

25. Harpegnathos saltatorHNS, N. S .

Worker, head long, granulated; jaws with a strong tooth near the base pointing downwards and inwards, and thence gradually tapering to the tip, and finely serrated, l- 6 th of an inch long; thorax barely grooved; abdominal pedicle small, low, ovate; abdomen very long; sting large; head and abdomen blackish brown, thorax and legs rufous. - Length 3 / 4 of an inch.

1 have not seen this remarkable Ant in the Carnatic. I first saw it at Tellicherry, and subsequently in other parts of Malabar. It is also found in the Mysore country as I learn from Mr. Hamilton, a most talented and industrious Amateur Entomologist.

I have given it the name of saltatorHNS from its power of making nest surprising jumps which it does when alarmed or disturbed. [[ ... ]] very pugnacious, and bites, and stings very severely. It makes [[ ... ]] nest under ground, generally about the roots of some plant. [[ ... ]] society does not consist of many individuals. It appears to [[ ... ]] ca insects, which it often seizes alive.

Specimen Habitat Summary

Found most commonly in these habitats: 1 times found in tropical dry forest.

Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 1 times ground forager(s), 1 times Forests overlooking Jog Falls.

Elevations: collected at 760 m

Type specimens:

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