The Amblyoponinae (as a tribe of Ponerinae) was first explicitly defined in terms of synapomorphies by Ward (1994). Bolton (2003) raised the group to subfamily status, included the aberrant genus Adetomyrma, and listed their synapomorphies. Saux et al. (2004) redefined the subfamily to include the genus Apomyrma, based on molecular evidence (28S rDNA), and gave the following simple diagnosis:
Dentiform setae present on clypeus (all known taxa except Apomyrma, Amblyopone mutica, and similar species), labrum (Apomyrma), or both (a few Amblyopone species).
Petiole broadly attached to abdominal segment III, without a distinctly descending posterior face (present in Apomyrma).
Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records:2059 Specimens with Sequences:1719 Specimens with Barcodes:1081 Species:145 Species With Barcodes:88 Public Records:56 Public Species:15 Public BINs:27