Messor aciculatus




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Original Reference

Forel, A. (1890) Fourmis de Tunisie et de l'Algérie orientale récoltées et décrites par Auguste Forel. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique. Comptes-rendus 34: lxi-lxxvi.


Messor Forel, 1890a, Stenamma (Messor): Emery, 1895c, Messor: Bingham, 1903, Cratomyrmex Emery, 1892d, Veromessor Forel, 1917, Lobognathus Enzmann, J. 1947b, Sphaeromessor (unavailable name) Bernard, 1985 ,


Medium to large-sized ants: total length of workers around 3.5 - 12 mm. Conspicuous polymorphism is seen in the workers of almost all species. Large workers have relatively wide heads. Mandibles large and strong, with many denticles, which are frequently worn-down. Eyes of medium size, situated at the midlength of head viewed laterally. Antennae 12-segmented, not forming a club. Frontal lobes short but conspicuous, concealing at least parts of the antennal insertions. Frontal carinae short, barely extending beyond antennal insertions. Antennal scrobes absent. Long hairs present on ventral surface of head. Promesonotum raised in lateral view. Promesonotal suture present. Metanotal groove weakly to more-or-less deeply impressed. Propodeum lower than the pro- and mesothorax, rounded posteriorly, rarely armed with a pair of spines. Metanotal lobes absent or at most represented by low, rounded tubercles. Petiole with a slender anterior peduncle. Subpetiolar process absent. Two tibial spurs each on the middle and hind legs, either simple or weakly and partially pectinate. Palpal formula 4:3 or 5:3.


Messor is very similar to the related genus Aphaenogaster; it is sometimes difficult to separate the two. Messor is distinguished by its wide head, the strongly curved external mandibular margins and the presence of long hairs on the ventral surface of the head. About 90 species are known world-wide, with many in Eurasia, 12 in tropical Africa and 1 in Madagascar. The genus Veromessor was recently synonymised with Messor (Bolton, 1982), adding an additional 8 species distributed in western North America. Messor species nest in grasslands and open places such as roadsides. The nest entrances open directly at the ground surface, often with surrounding mounds of crater-like form. These are harvester ants, which convey seeds as main food into the nests. M. aciculatus (Fr. Smith) alone is known from Japan. This species is monomorphic and peculiar in lacking a psammphore on the ventral surface of the head.


  • Fourmis de Tunisie et de l'Algérie orientale récoltées et décrites par Auguste Forel. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique. Comptes-rendus 34: lxi-lxxvi.
  • Emery, C. 1895. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. (Schluss). Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere, 8: 257-360.
  • Bingham, C. T. (1903). The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Hymenoptera, Vol.II. Ants and Cuckoo-wasps. 506 pp. Taylor and Francis, London.
  • Voyage de M. Ch. Alluaud dans le territoire d'Assinie (Afrique occidentale) en juillet et aoět 1886. Formicides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 60: 553-574.
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat., 51: 229-253.
  • Enzmann, J. 1947. New forms of Aphaenogaster and Novomessor. J. N. Y. Entomol. Soc., 55: 147-152.
  • Bernard, F., 1985: R008104
  • Bolton, B. (1982). Afrotropical species of the myrmicine ant genera Cardiocondyla, Leptothorax, Melissotarsus, Messor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). . Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Ent.), 45, 307-370.


Original text by Keiichi Onoyama. English translation by Keiichi Onoyama, edited by Robert W. Taylor. Revised by Masashi Yoshimura. Revised by Masashi Yoshimura.