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Subfamily: Amblyoponinae   Forel, 1893 


Taxonomic History (provided by Barry Bolton, 2016)

Extant: 1 tribe, 13 genera, 133 species

Fossil: 1 genus, 7 species

Amblyoponinae Forel, 1893b PDF: 162 . Type-genus: Amblyopone. AntCat AntWiki

Taxonomic history

Amblyoponinae as subfamily of Formicidae: Forel, 1893b PDF: 162 [Amblyoponinae]; Forel, 1895b PDF: 110 [Amblyoponeridae]; Clark, 1951 PDF: 15 (in key) [Amblyoponinae]; Bolton, 2003 PDF: 41 (revived status).
Amblyoponinae as poneromorph subfamily of Formicidae: Bolton, 2003 PDF: 41, 153.
Amblyoponinae as poneroid subfamily of Formicidae: Ouellette, Fisher, et al. 2006: 365; Brady, Schultz, et al. 2006: 18173; Moreau, Bell, et al. 2006: 102; Ward, 2007C PDF: 555.
Tribe of Amblyoponinae: Amblyoponini.
Genus incertae sedis in Amblyoponinae: Paraprionopelta.
Subfamily and tribe Amblyoponini references
Emery, 1895lEmery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere 8:685-778. [1895-10-18] PDF 124599: 766 (diagnosis); Wheeler, 1910aWheeler, W. M. 1910a. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. [1910-03] 130044: 134 (diagnosis); Emery, 1911eEmery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118:1-125. [1911-09-09] PDF 124702: 21 (diagnosis, genera, key); Emery, 1911eEmery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118:1-125. [1911-09-09] PDF 124702: 96 (subtribe Onychomyrmicini, diagnosis); Forel, 1917Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bulletin de la Société Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles 51:229-253. [1917-03-08] PDF 124997: 235 (synoptic classification); Wheeler, 1922Wheeler, W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. New York: Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 1139. 133015: 640, 758, 1006 (genera key, Afrotropical, Malagasy catalogues); Brown, 1960aBrown, W. L., Jr. 1960a. Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. III. Tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 122:143-230. [1960-03] 123159: 146 (diagnosis, all genera revision, key); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1976bWheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1976b. Ant larvae: review and synthesis. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington 7:1-108. [1976] PDF 129906: 48 (larvae, review & synthesis); Wheeler & Wheeler, 1985bWheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1985b. A simplified conspectus of the Formicidae. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 111:255-264. [1985-07-30] PDF 129918: 256 (synoptic classification); Terayama, 1989bTerayama, M. 1989b. The ant tribe Amblyoponini (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of Taiwan with description of a new species. Japanese Journal of Entomology 57:343-346. [1989-06-25] PDF 129276: 345 (Taiwan fauna); Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990Hölldobler, B.; Wilson, E. O. 1990. The ants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xii + 732 pp. 122852: 9 (synoptic classification); Brandão, 1991Brandão, C. R. F. 1991. Adendos ao catálogo abreviado das formigas da região Neotropical (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 35:319-412. [1991-08-31] PDF 122994: 389 (Neotropical fauna, synoptic classification); Bolton, 1994Bolton, B. 1994. Identification guide to the ant genera of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 222 pp. [1994-07-25] 122834: 164 (synoptic classification); Ward, 1994Ward, P. S. 1994. Adetomyrma, an enigmatic new ant genus from Madagascar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and its implications for ant phylogeny. Systematic Entomology 19:159-175. [1994-08-01] PDF 129609: 167 (tribe diagnosis & discussion); Bolton, 1995aBolton, B. 1995a. A taxonomic and zoogeographical census of the extant ant taxa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Natural History 29:1037-1056. [1995-08] PDF 122859: 1042 (census); Bolton, 1995bBolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. [1995-10] 122860: 9 (catalogue); Hashimoto, 1996Hashimoto, Y. 1996. Skeletomuscular modifications associated with the formation of an additional petiole on the anterior abdominal segments in aculeate Hymenoptera. Japanese Journal of Entomology 64:340-356. [1996-06-25] PDF 131444: 353 (abdominal structure); Schoeters, Ito, et al. 1999: 3 (venom gland structure); Xu, 2000AXu, Z.-H. 2000A. Five new species and one new record of the ant genus Leptogenys Roger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from Yunnan Province, China. Entomologia Sinica 7:117-126. [2000-06] 132654: 300 (Malesian genera key); Bolton, 2003Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and classification of Formicidae. Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 71:1-370. [2003-11-10] PDF 130789: 41, 153 (diagnosis, synopsis); Saux, Fisher & Spicer, 2004Saux, C.; Fisher, B. L.; Spicer, G. S. 2004. Dracula ant phylogeny as inferred by nuclear 28S rDNA sequences and implications for ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Amblyoponinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 33:457-468. [online: 2004-08-03] PDF 132204: 466 (phylogeny, diagnosis); Ouellette, Fisher, et al. 2006: 359 (phylogeny); Brady, Schultz, et al. 2006: 18173 (phylogeny); Moreau, Bell, et al. 2006: 102 (phylogeny); Ward, 2007CWard, P. S. 2007C. Phylogeny, classification, and species-level taxonomy of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1668:549-563. [2007-12-21] PDF 132572: 555 (classification); Lyu, 2008Lyu, D. 2008. Taxonomic study on the poneromorph subfamilies group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Korea. Korean Journal of Applied Entomology 47(4):315-331. PDF 142798: 315 (Korean Species); Fernández & Arias-Penna, 2008Fernández, F.; Arias-Penna, T. M. 2008. Las hormigas cazadoras en la región Neotropical. Pp. 3-39 in: Jiménez, E.; Fernández, F.; Arias, T.M.; Lozano-Zambrano, F. H. (eds.) 2008. Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, xiv + 609 pp. [2008-12-26] [2008-12-26] PDF 131263: 30 (Neotropical genera key); Terayama, 2009Terayama, M. 2009. A synopsis of the family Formicidae of Taiwan (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Research Bulletin of Kanto Gakuen University. Liberal Arts 17:81-266. [2009] PDF 132431: 93 (Taiwan genera key); Keller, 2011Keller, R. A. 2011. A phylogenetic analysis of ant morphology (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with special reference to the poneromorph subfamilies. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 355:1-90. [2011-08-10] PDF 132879: 1 (morphology, phylogeny); Yoshimura & Fisher, 2012Yoshimura, M.; Fisher, B. L. 2012. A revision of male ants of the Malagasy Amblyoponinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) with resurrections of the genera Stigmatomma and Xymmer. PLoS ONE (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033325) 7(3):e33325. [2012-03-29] PDF 133048: 11 (Malagasy genera males key); General & Alpert, 2012General, D. M.; Alpert, G. D. 2012. A synoptic review of the ant genera (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the Philippines. ZooKeys 200:1-111. [2012-06-05] PDF 133060: 70 (Philippines genera key); Sarnat & Economo, 2012Sarnat, E. M.; Economo, E. P. 2012. The ants of Fiji. University of California Publications in Entomology 132:1-384. [2012-09-01] PDF 142254: 22 (Fiji species key); Boudinot, 2015Boudinot, B. E. 2015. Contributions to the knowledge of Formicidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata): a new diagnosis of the family, the first global male-based key to subfamilies, and a treatment of early branching lineages. European Journal of Taxonomy 120:1-62. PDF 142740: 17 (diagnosis)


African Region: Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda
Australian Region: Australia, Barrow Island, Lord Howe Island, New Caledonia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Queensland, Solomon Islands, Western Australia
Eurasian Region: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Crete, Croatia, Gibraltar, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan
Malagasy Region: Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte, Seychelles
Nearctic Region: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, British Columbia, California, Canada, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington
Neotropical Region: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States Virgin Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela
Pacific Islands Region: Fiji, Hawaii, Indonesia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Singapore, Timor-Leste
South East Asia Region: Borneo, Cambodia, India, Krakatau Islands, Myanmar, Nicobar Island, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Xishuangbanna


As newly defined by Bolton (2003), this ant subfamily (formerly considered a tribe within Ponerinae) is characterized by the following worker characters: eyes small or absent, situated behind midlength of side of head; anterior margin of clypeus with specialized dentiform setae; promesonotal suture flexible; petiole very broadly attached to abdominal segment 3 and without a distinct posterior face; postpetiole absent; sting present and well developed.


The ants in this subfamily are mostly specialized subterranean predators. One genus (with two species) is known from California.


Bolton (1994, 2003); Brown (1960a); Lattke (1991); Ogata (1987a); Ward (1994).

(-1 examples)

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