Taxonomic Synopsis of the Ponto-Mediterranean Ants of Temnothorax nylanderi Species-Group

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 4;10(11):e0140000. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140000. eCollection 2015.


In the current revisionary work, the Temnothorax nylanderi species-group of myrmicine ants is characterized. Eighteen species belonging to this group in the Ponto-Mediterranean region are described or redefined based on an integrative approach that combines exploratory analyses of morphometric data and of a 658bp fragment of the mitochondrial gene for the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (CO I). The species group is subdivided into five species complexes: T. angustifrons complex, T. lichtensteini complex, T. nylanderi complex, T. parvulus complex, T. sordidulus complex, and two species, T. angulinodis sp. n. and T. flavicornis (Emery, 1870) form their own lineages. We describe seven new species (T. angulinodis sp. n., T. angustifrons sp. n., T. ariadnae sp. n., T. helenae sp. n., T. lucidus sp. n., T. similis sp. n., T. subtilis sp. n.), raise T. tergestinus (FINZI, 1928) stat.n. to species level, and propose a new junior synonymy for T. saxonicus (SEIFERT, 1995) syn.n. (junior synonym of T. tergestinus). We describe the worker caste and provide high quality images and distributional maps for all eighteen species. Furthermore, we provide a decision tree as an alternative identification key that visually gives an overview of this species-group. We make the first application to Formicidae of the Semantic Phenotype approach that has been used in previous taxonomic revisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ants / anatomy & histology
  • Ants / classification*
  • Ants / genetics
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Genes, Mitochondrial
  • Phenotype


  • Electron Transport Complex IV

Grant support

IM was supported by the U. S. National Science Foundation (grant DBI-1356381) and SC was supported by the Hungarian Eötvös scholarship, 2010.