This website has been developed as a contribution to the BioMAP project, which aims to improve the study, recording, monitoring and assessment of Egyptian biodiversity. BioMAP runs from 2004-2007, funded by Italian Debt-Swap and coordinated by Professor Samy Zalat (Suez Canal University, Egypt) and Dr Francis Gilbert (Nottingham University, UK).
From August 2006, Dr Mostafa Sharaf has joined Dr Brian Taylor as a contributing author. Dr Sharaf has on-going experience of collecting and studying Egyptian ants and his fresh material has enabled a marked improvement in the quality of the website.
Literature search - We have sought to review and collate all published records from 1758 to the present time. Unavailable at present is Radoszkowky (1876), possibly with very little on ants apart from one species description. Findings in the PhD thesis of A H Mohamad (1979) have been collated by Mostafa Sharaf and the following abbreviations are used - Coll.Alf. = Alfieri collection in the faculty of Agriculture, El-Azhar University, Cairo. Coll.Ain. = Ain Shams university collection, Faculty of Science, Cairo. Coll.Soc. = Egyptian Entomological Society collection, Cairo. Coll.Car = Cairo University collection, Faculty of Science, Giza. Coll.Min. = Entomological collection of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Species - A total of 167 species are covered, 14 of those are included as potential discoveries in appropriate surveys, e.g. for subterranean or nocturnal species, based on their distribution in surrounding countries. Of the total species, however, only 17 can be deemed as common or quite frequently found. For 11 species the sole record seems questionable as to whether the identification was correct. Original descriptions, mostly of the type form, and revisionary descriptions are given for all but two species; six new species are listed by name only. Drawings or photographs (70 from Egypt, plus 38 from other countries) are provided for all but 15 of the species. A Name Index includes over 620 epithets used for subspecies, varieties, junior synonyms, stirps, etc.
The ants come from ten subfamilies and thirty-two genera. For the ten genera with more than two species, keys have been developed based largely on the published descriptions. For one genus Lepisiota an attempt has been made to sort out the extreme confusion caused by a proliferation of so-called subspecies and varieties of "Lepisiota frauenfeldi" and "Lepisiota semenovi" - this includes forms from across North Africa, southern Europe and south-west Asia.
Geographical note - in general it seems that the Libyan desert has acted as a barrier to separate the ants of Egypt (and the eastern Libyan area of Cyrenia) from those of Tunisia westwards. A few species are shared with southern Europe and the Mediterranean islands (see Finzi list, 1936). Some are shared with Sudan (old "Upper Egypt - Haut Égypte) and Ethiopia/Eritrea. Some are also found in the Middle East, Israel, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. A few are cosmopoltian tramp species.
Acknowledgements - our thanks to the project leaders for their keen support. My thanks also to Awatif Omer, of Sudan, who sent us specimens of species found both there and in Egypt. Armin Ionescu and Professor J Kugler of the Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, sent fresh information and advice plus copies of literature.
Second Edition - November 2015
With the coming on-line of photographs of many type specimens, thanks to the superb efforts of the http://www.antweb.org project lead by Dr Brian Fisher, we have been able to make a major revision of the whole of this website. Most, but not all, species pages now include montages of the type workers. New revisions to the systematics also have been included or noted where we do not agree with the changes.
Third Edition - March 2019
To accompany the pending publication of new findings, the whole site
has been revised, with additional type images, etc. and taxonomic
updates as appropriate.
©2005, 2006, 2015, 2019 - Brian
Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.