Contents Genus Introduction SUBFAMILY FORMICINAE
Genus Lepisiota (Mayr) - Asian species

Genus Lepisiota (Mayr) (previously Acantholepis Mayr, 1861: 42)


Diagnostic Features - Antennae 11-segmented. Eyes well developed, ocelli present but may be reduced. Mandibles with the apical margin oblique and dentate, overhung by clypeus. Alitrunk constricted in the mesonotal region, the propodeum swollen and bidentate or bituberculate. Petiole a scale with the dorsal margin bispinose, bidentate or emarginate. Acidopore borne on a conical projection of the hypopygium, surrounded by a fringe of hairs.

This page deals with the recorded species that are from South and East Asia.

Not included are the Chinese species Lepisota acuta and Lepisiota reticulata Xu, 1994 (but see the bottom of the page); also Lepisiota xichangensis (Wu & Wang, 1995)

Bingham's (1903: 315) key to Indian species is at {original description}.

A. Former Plagiolepis (Anacantholepis) from Asia (Santschi, 1926a; by implication; the three Asian species listed by Emery (1925b: 23) as in Plagiolepis (Anacantholepis).

Bolton (1995) in elevating Lepisiota to the genus gave the type species as Lepisiota rothneyi. As a genus type L. rothneyi is anomalous; looking unlike any other member species, with a low rounded petiole and the propodeum profile smoothly rounded without sign of spines or even angular protuberances. Emery (1925b: 23) had it in Plagiolepis. The placement as the type of Acantholepis subgenus Lepisiota by Santschi (1926a: 15) has the brief justification: Ocelli well developed and variable size; scale rounded and unarmed. Propodeum feebly angular.

The confused status of the "Plagiolepis" species is shown by the first couplet of the key separating off the now Anoplolepis gracilipes (listed as Plagiolepis longipes); Plagiolepis moelleri remains in that genus but Plagiolepis wroughtoni (originally described as Plagiolepis Rothney race Wroughtoni new stirps (Forel, 1902d: 293) now is under Lepisiota.

It seems possible, perhaps highly likely, that a modern review of the type specimens of Lepisiota rothneyi and its few relatives, all listed as subspecies by Bolton (1995: 228) would lead to their being reverted to quite ordinary Plagiolepis, or at worst Plagiolepis (Anacantholepis).
In that context the only obvious difference is the presence of ocelli on the rothneyi-group, which although reportedly present are feeble in Anacantholepis. If rothneyi is placed in Plagiolepis then Lepisiota is invalid as the replacement genus name for Acantholepis.

Lepisiota rothneyiLepisiota rothneyi (Plagiolepis rothneyi nov. spec., Forel, 1894c: 415, worker; placed in Acantholepis (Lepisiota) by Santschi (1926a) Barrackpore, Rothney (minor worker); Belgaum, Rothney (major worker) - see below
splendida (Plagiolepis rothneyi For. subsp. n. splendida (Viehmeyer, 1916a: 146, worker) Singapore - no images on Antweb (September 2015)
sundaica (Plagiolepis (Anacantolepis) Rothneyi For. subsp. sundaica nov., Emery, 1921d: 318, worker) Borneo, Poulo-Laut, Doherty - see
taivanae (Plagiolepis Rothneyi For. r. Taivanae n. stirps, Forel, 1913f: 197, worker) Taiwan, Taihorin, Kankau - see
watsonii (Plagiolepis rothneyi r. watsonii Forel, 1894c: 416, worker) Burma, Watson, also Thailand, Bangkok, Sigg - see
wroughtonii (Plagiolepis Rothneyi r. Wroughtonii n. stirps, Forel, 1902d: 292, worker) India, Utakamand, Nilgiris, Wroughton - no images on Antweb (September 2015)

Forel's (1894c) description, with watsonii is at {original description}. Bingham (1903: 320) had it in his key to Indian Plagiolepis and a description, with wroughtoni; these are at {original description}. Forel's (1902d) description of wroughtonii is at {original description}. Emery's (1912d) description of sundaica is at {original description}. Forel's (1913f) description of taivanae is at {original description}. Viehmeyer's (1916a) description of splendida is at {original description}.

Distinguished by being dimorphic or, if not showing a size variation, TL 2.5-4.5 mm, major with a wider, squarer head; black, smooth and shiny, appendages reddish brown; erect hairs sparse and quite coarse; petiole node low, thick at the base and narrowing to slightly conical above; gaster very wide, convex and enlarged, gibbous (humped) anteriorly.

{Lepisiota rothneyimajor} The photomontage of the type major worker from India is collated from

Both the major and minor are among the collections listed by Forel (1894c).

Plagiolepis rothneyis minor The photomontage of the type minor worker from India is collated from

This matches sundaica and taivanei which also appear to be Plagiolepis

See a fresh worker at

Lepisiota moelleri (Plagiolepis moelleri n. sp., Bingham, 1903: 321, worker) India, Sikkim, Möller - no images on Antweb (September 2015)

Bingham's (1903) description is at {original description}. TL 4.5 mm; clypeus with a strong median carina; eyes quite small placed midway on sides of head, ocelli not mentioned; alitrunk short and broad, propodeum short and very broad with a distinct angle between dorsum and declivity; petiole node low and rounded above; head and alitrunk deep reddish-brown, petiole node and gaster black; very few erect hairs but long soft pubescence, yellowish on head and alitrunk, black on gaster

Lepisiota demangei (Plagiolepis (Anacantholepis) Demangei sp. nov., Santschi, 1920h: 172, worker; republished also in 1924c: 21, worker) Vietnam, Hanoi, Demange

Santschi's (1920h) description is at {original description}. Noted as close to Rothneyi and Watsoni but separated by colour, brown-red, with the gaster darker, and the quite long and dense pubescence. Although listed in Bolton (1995: 335) as still in Plagiolepis, Santschi (1926a) implied it should be in Acantholepis (Lepisiota). The type specimen - casent0912417 - shows this quite clearly to be a Plagiolepis, which is where Antweb have it.

TL 3-4 mm; head rectangular, sides slightly convex; clypeus convex and with a strong carina; eyes flat about one-third length of head; ocelli developed; scape surpasses occiput by about 1/6 its own length; alitrunk as watsoni, propodeum wide and in profile rounded with an arcuate transition from dorsum to declivity; petiole low, vertical in front and with an oblique posterior face; brownish-red, gaster a little darker, appendages pale red; erect pilosity quite abundant all over.

B. Lepisiota frauenfeldi and Lepisiota capensis-group species

Forel's (1894: 412 ff) key to Indian species, frauenfeldi-group is at {original description}. See also Lepisiota frauenfeldi page. 

{Lepisiota chapmani}Lepisiota chapmani (Acantholepis chapmani sp. nov., Wheeler 1935b: 47, worker) from Philippines, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Dr J W Chapman - no images on Antweb (September 2015)

Wheeler's (1935b) description is at {original description}.

TL 2.5-2.8 mm; shape more elongated, as with frauenfeldi; overall shiny with very fine reticulation, posterior alitrunk duller.

Lepisiota sericea (Acantholepis frauenfeldi var. sericea n. var., Forel, 1892a: 41, solely as diagnosis in key; worker) India, no location given

Lepisiota sericeaForel's brief separation from the type frauenfeldi is TL 3-3.5 mm; head more flattened and wider, especially posteriorly; subopaque and silky; dark brown; propodeum bispinose; India.

C. Lepisiota capensis-group species; with short spines/teeth on petiole and blunt propodeal spines

Forel's (1894: 412 ff) key to Indian species, capensis-group is at {original description}.

Black species

{Lepisiota annandelei}Lepisiota annandelei (Acantholepis annandelei sp. nov., Mukerjee, 1930: 156, illustrated, worker) India, Simla, alt 7000', Dr N Annandale - no images on Antweb (September 2015)

Mukerjee's (1930) description is at {original description}.

TL 2 mm; scapes exceeding occiput by about half their length; propodeum with short, conical, blunt spines; petiole with minute straight spines; black, gaster shiny; erect hairs few limited to head and apex of gaster.

Lepisiota lunarisLepisiota lunaris (Acantholepis lunaris n. sp., Emery, 1893f: 250, illustrated (unavailable on HNS) worker) Sri Lanka, Colombo

Emery's (1893) description is at {original description}.  TL 2-2.3 mm, separable from L. capensis by having long sharp spines on the petiole; also smoother, the gaster very shiny; scape surpasses occiput by 1/3 of its length; erect hairs large, obtuse and moderately abundant; black, with most of appendages reddish.

Lepisiota lunaris

Partially or wholly golden to reddish-yellow species

{Lepisiota aurea}Lepisiota aurea (Acantholepis aurea sp. n., Karavaiev, 1933a: 306, illustrated, worker) Indonesia, Meeuwen Island, 6°43'60"S 105°15'0"E - no images on Antweb (September 2015)
subspecies punctaticeps (Acantholepis aurea Karawajew subsp. punctaticeps subsp. nov. Wheeler 1935b: 46, worker) from Philippines, Baguioa, Luzon Is. - no images on Antweb (September 2015)

Karavaiev's (1933) description is at {original description}. Wheeler's (1935b) description of punctaticeps is at {original description}.

TL 2 mm; overall finely sculptured and semi-matt; head, alitrunk and base of gaster golden yellow, apex of gaster black; erect hairs pale; punctaticeps somewhat darker.

{Lepisiota emmelii}Lepisiota emmelii (Acantholepis emmelii n. sp., Kutter, 1932: 208, illustrated, worker) from Indonesia, Java, Sarangan, H Overbeck, 1927

Kutter's (1932) description is at {original description}. Gaster only remains of type specimen (confirms colour) - see

TL 2.6-2.8 mm; body gold to reddish gold; erect hairs absent or very sparse.

Lepisiota fergusoni (Acantholepis fergusoni n. sp., Forel, 1895e: 459, worker) India, Travancore, Ferguson

Lepisiota fergusoniForel's (1895e) description is at {original description}.  TL 2.7-3.3 mm, comparison with opaca; erect pilosity abundant, fine and yellowish; overall reddish-yellow, apex of gaster blackish; legs and antennae yellowish-brown.

The type specimen image is collated from

This is slightly odd as it is on a modern mount and is very clean although there is no label to indicate such treatment.

Lepisiota modesta (Acantholepis modesta n. sp., Forel, 1894c: 412, diagnosis in key, worker) India, Mussoorie, Rothney 

Forel's (1894c) description is at {original description}.  TL 2.3 mm, separable from L. capensis by being more slender; head narrow, ovoid distinctly longer than wide; propodeum with strong obtuse teeth; petiole bispinose, with lateral angles below the spines [cf bipartita-group on Lepisiota frauenfeldi page]; erect pilosity long, fine, and abundant; alitrunk and petiole yellowish red, with brown patches dorsally.

Type images collated from

Lepisiota opaca pulchellaLepisiota opaca (Acantholepis opaca n. sp., Forel, 1892a: 5, diagnosis in key, worker) India, Kanara, M Aitken
stirps pulchella (Acantholepis pulchella (Forel, 1892a: 43, diagnosis in key;,worker) India, Poona, Wroughton

Forel's (1892a) descriptions are at {original description}. Bingham (1903: 319) treated them as separate species; his illustrated note is at {original description}. TL 2-2.3 mm, separable from L. capensis by a thicker petiole with long sharp spines; matt and densely reticulo-punctate, but gaster shiny; head near square; scape surpasses occiput by 1/3 of its length; erect hairs yellowish, short and quite sparse; ferruginous red to gaster brownish black, with most of appendages reddish; pulchella with gaster subopaque and strongly reticulated.

The badly damaged type worker can be seen at -

The similar worker below is collated from

The type of pulchella can be seen at

Lepisiota opaca

Wu & Wang. 1995. [The ants of China] China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing. 214 pp; in Chinese (unavailable on HNS).
Xu. 1994. A taxonomic study of the ant genus Lepisiota Santschi from Southwestern China (Hymenoptera Formicidae Formicinae) Journal of Southwest Forestry College, 14(4): 232-237; in Chinese

An illustrated version of the English abstract from Xu (1994) is as follows: {original description}.

© 2011, 2013, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
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