Comprehensive Description


The Dacetini shares the following synapomorphies with the other members of the dacetine tribe group (Bolton 2003):
  • Head anterior to antennnal sockets strongly narrowed from side to side
  • Masticatory margins of mandibles oppose but do not overlap when mandibles fully closed
  • Trigger hairs on labrum or mandible
  • Specialized labral shape
  • Preocular carina present

In addition, the tribe has the following apomorphies:

  • Mandible with a medially projecting cuticular basimandibular process on inner margin close to base (an extrusion of the mandible)
  • Dorsum of labrum with one or two medial impressions that receive the basimandibular processes when the mandibles are fully closed


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Dacetini is a tribe of small predatory ants in the subfamily Myrmicinae. The tribe is large and diverse, containing more than 900 species in eight genera.[1] The systematic status of the tribe has been the focus of debate, and there is evidence that suggests that Dacetini may not be monophyletic.



The tribe is composed of small, cryptic, predatory ants that typically occur in soil and/or leaf litter where they feed on various minute arthropods. Species in this group show great diversity in predatory strategies, which is reflected in the marked differentiation between species groups. With their unique-looking body types and head shapes that are variously adorned with bizarre station, elongate mandibles with uniquely arrayed dentition, and as-yet-unexplained cuticular outgrowths called spongiform tissue, members of this group are among the most unusual in the ant world.[2]


Baroni Urbani & De Andrade (1994) synonymized Dacetini as well as Phalacromyrmecini under Basicerotini, and synonymized all subtribal names accepted at the time.[3] Bolton (1995) revived Basicerotini from synonymy of the then so-called Dacetonini and,[4] in 1998, listed and commented the apomorphies of the Dacetini tribe group and its components, including the Basicerotini, which he considers as monophyletic.[5] Baroni Urbani & de Andrade (2007) proposed a synonymization of the tribe Basicerotini with Dacetini and that all basicerotine genera be placed in the single genus Basiceros.[6] There is currently variable acceptance of their reclassification.[7] Bolton (2012), who partially accepted the propositions made by Baroni-Urbani & De Andrade (2007) for Dacetini, yet still considering Basicerotini (Basiceros, Eurhopalothrix, Octostruma, Protalaridris, Rhopalothrix and Talaridris) and Phalacromyrmecini (Phalacromyrmex) as separate tribes from Dacetini.[8]

Molecular phylogenetic evidence by Brady et al. (2006) suggests that Dacetini may not be monophyletic.[9]


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