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Harpegnathos saltator fight.jpg
Worker H. saltator killing a queen in an inter-colony conflict
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Harpegnathos
Jerdon, 1851
Type species
Harpegnathos saltator[1]
Jerdon, 1851
7 species

Harpegnathos is a basal genus of ants. This ponerine ant has a different colony structure compared to other genera. In the beginning, young winged queens fly out from their natal colony, mate with foreign males and start new colonies independently. What differs from other ants is that, once the founding queen dies (after a few years), several daughter workers replace her as reproductives in the colony. It is characteristic of several ponerine species that workers can mate (almost always with foreign males) and store sperm in the spermatheca. In Harpegnathos saltator, many young workers inbreed with males from the same colony (their brothers). They fight to establish a dominance hierarchy, and a few high-rankers will become reproductives and lay eggs, so-called gamergates. Every year, new winged queens will be reared, and they will disperse and start the process again. The combination of queen and gamergate reproduction results in an increased lifespan of colonies.[citation needed]



  1. ^ "Genus: Harpegnathos". antweb.org. AntWeb. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Bolton, B. (2014). "Harpegnathos". AntCat. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  • Peeters, C., J. Liebig & B. Hölldobler (2000) Sexual reproduction by both queens and workers in the ponerine ant Harpegnathos saltator. Insectes Sociaux 47: 325-332.
  • Tree of Life Web Project. 2004. Harpegnathos. Version 15 October 2004 (temporary). in The Tree of Life Web Project

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