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Genus: Diacamma   Mayr, 1862 


Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2015)

24 species, 23 subspecies

Diacamma Mayr, 1862 PDF: 713 (diagnosis in key), 718 . Type-species: Ponera rugosa, by subsequent designation of Bingham, 1903 PDF: 75. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Diacamma in Ponerinae: Mayr, 1862 PDF: 713 (in key) [Poneridae]; Mayr, 1865: 13 [Poneridae]; Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF}: 28.
Diacamma in Pachycondylinae, Pachycondylini: Ashmead, 1905c PDF: 382.
Diacamma in Ponerinae, Ponerini: Emery, 1895l PDF: 767; Forel, 1900f PDF: 317; Wheeler, 1910a: 135; Emery, 1911e PDF: 64 [subtribe Pachycondylini]; Forel, 1917 PDF: 237; Wheeler, 1922: 647; all subsequent authors.
Genus Diacamma references
Roger, 1863b: 16 (catalogue); Mayr, 1863a PDF: 407 (catalogue); Mayr, 1865: 13 (diagnosis); Mayr, 1867a PDF: 86 (diagnosis); Dalla Torre, 1893 PDF: 28 (catalogue); Emery, 1887f PDF: 435, footnote (all species key); Emery, 1897h: 162 (all species key); Forel, 1900f PDF: 317 (India & Sri Lanka species key); Bingham, 1903 PDF: 76 (India, Sri Lanka & Burma species key); Emery, 1911e PDF: 64 (diagnosis, catalogue); Chapman & Capco, 1951 PDF: 53 (Asia checklist); Wilson, 1958g PDF: 366 (Melanesia & Moluccas species revision, key); Taylor & Brown, 1985: 28 (Australia catalogue); Taylor, 1987a PDF: 24 (Australia checklist); Bolton, 1994: 164 (synoptic classification); Bolton, 1995a PDF: 1049 (census); Bolton, 1995b: 169 (catalogue); Shattuck, 1999: 183 (Australia synopsis); Bolton, 2003 PDF: 161 (synopsis); Shattuck & Barnett, 2006 PDF: 14 (Australia species key); Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014 PDF: 186 (diagnosis, synoptic description, distribution, ecology and behavior, phylogenetic and taxonomic considerations).

Taxon Page Images:


A queen caste does not exist in Diacamma. Unique to this genus, all workers emerge from cocoons with a pair of tiny innervated thoracic appendages ("gemmae") that are homologous with wings. Mutilation leads to a permanent change in lifetime trajectory, because workers lacking gemmae never mate. This is unlike other queenless ants where workers establish a dominance hierarchy to regulate reproduction. In Diacamma only one worker retains her gemmae in each colony, she is the gamergate (mated egglaying worker), and she bites off the gemmae of newly emerged workers. Mutilation causes the degeneration of the neuronal connections between the sensory hairs on the gemma’s surface and the central nervous system, and this may explain the irreversibility of modifications in individual behaviour



Bitsch, J. & C. Peeters (1991)  Moignons alaires et morphologie thoracique chez l'ouvrière de la fourmi Diacamma australe (Fabricius) (Hym. Formicidae Ponerinae).  Bull. Soc. entomol. France, 96: 213-221.

Peeters, C. & J. Billen (1991)  A novel exocrine gland inside the thoracic appendages ("gemmae") of the queenless ant Diacamma australe.   Experientia, 47: 229-231.

Taxon Page Author History

On 2013-03-25 23:14:02 Christian Peeters modified Biology
On 2013-03-23 01:19:26 Christian Peeters modified References
On 2013-03-23 01:15:10 Christian Peeters modified Images

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