The Ants of Africa
Genus Aenictus
Aenictus villiersi Bernard

Aenictus villiersi Bernard

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Guinea (Bernard, 1952: 221, illustrated, worker) Mt. Nimba, 4 workers, from north-east forest litter, 700 m, collector Villiers; worker only described (see Bolton, 1995) see below .

{Aenictus villiersi} TL 3.0-3.2 mm; colour of head and thorax red, petiole, abodomen and appendages dark yellow. Very smooth and shiny, except posterior two-thirds of thorax sides, matt and shagreened. Pilosity yellow, not very dense but raised and very long, on all body and head. Generally, slender and convex, simliar to the Aenictus group eugenii-congolensis-mariae, but petiole and antennae distinct:-
Antennae relatively slender, funiculus segment 2 almost double the length of segment 1 and more than double that of 3. Thorax notably convex, flanks of mesonotum and propodeum strongly striated longitudinally.
With eugenii (known from South Africa) the petiole segments are angular dorsally, shagreened or puncturated, both segments having a ventral anterior tooth and a posterior pedicel which is cylindrical and puncturated. In contrast, in villiersi the dorsal and ventral aspects are rounded, without sharp ventral teeth; the pedicel is striated but the remainder of the petiole is smooth. The petiole type resembles that of mariae, a southern African species also (?) known from Cameroun (?), where the head is smaller and the funiculus shorter. It seemed that the group contains Aenictus mentu Weber, from Mt. Imatong, Sudan, but its petiole shape is lower and more slender (after Bernard, 1952).

Aenictus villersiThe photomontage of the type worker is collated from
Note: From the Antweb scale this is bigger, TL ca 3.8 mm than Bernard's stated TL 3.0-3.2 mm.

{Aenictus species T1} Nigeria specimens (as Aenictus species Tą, Taylor, 1980b: 7). WORKER. TL 4.54 mm, HL 0.76, HW 0.86, SL 0.59, PW 0.54
Colour dark orange-brown, legs and gaster lighter, mandibles very dark, overall shiny and polished. Sculpturation of fine, faint reticulation on the anterior pronotum, mesonotum, propodeum and pedicel; overlaid with and partially replaced by fine longitudinal rugae on parts of propodeum and mesonotum. Erect hairs long, fine and abundant. Head widest at the anterior margin, with a distinct occipital margin. The mandibles are massive, with the basal tooth being a huge blunt lobe, the preapical tooth is moderate and the apical tooth is large and slightly blunt. The clypeus has a bidentate median process on the anterior margin. The position of the promesonotal suture is faintly visible on some specimens. Propodeal declivity marginate and concave in profile. The petiole is a flattened dome, with the subpetiolar process trapezoidal, and the subpostpetiolar process acutely triangular.
I collected it from bare ground in a domestic garden and from leaf litter in cocoa at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre.

Previously thought by me to perhaps be Aenictus weissi but it is a close match to the type worker shown above, albeit may be larger?

© 2007, 2010, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.