The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY MYRMICINAE - Genus Carebara sensu Fernández
Contents - Myrmicinae - MYRMICINAE Introduction

Genus Carebara Westwood (1840b: 86)


Westwood's (1840b) description of the queen, of Carebara lignata, is at {original description}. Bingham (1903) gave an illustrated account of the type species, Carebara lignata, and this is at {original description}.

Carebara lignataDiagnostic Features - Workers small (TL 1.8-2.6 mm), monomorphic. Mandibles with five or six teeth; palp formula 2,2. Antennae 9-segmented with a 2-segmented club. Clypeus bicarinate but not strongly so. Eyes absent. Promesonotal suture absent; metanotal groove impressed, deeply on the dorsum. Propodeum unarmed. Petiole strongly pedunculate, node rounded to cube-like, postpetiole rounded. Yellow-brown.

Fernández (2004) synonymized Afroxyidris, Carebara, Oligomyrmex and Paedalgus in the genus Carebara, leaving Pheidologeton as unresolved see {original description}.

His definition of the inclusive Genus characteristics reads:

Workers. Mandibles with four to six teeth in the masticatory border, which decrease in size from the apical (two teeth in Afroxyidris). Anterior clypeal margin without central isolated seta. Anterior border of clypeus usually with four distinct setae. Palp formula 2,2. Antennae with 11 segmented or less (never less than 8). Antennal club 2-segmented, the apical segment larger. Eyes present and reduced or absent. Frontal carinae and antennal scrobes absent. Propodeal lobes small. Sting functional. Workers dimorphic or monomorphic. Major with lateral sides of head right, posterior side strongly bilobed. Mandibles massive, with teeth loosely defined, basal and masticatory margins in about right angles. Alitruncal (mesosomal) segmentation variously developed, sometimes very similar to gynes, with metanotum narrow, clearly produced in lateral view.

Carebara winifredae Wheeler (1922b) = Carebara anophthalma Emery; as shown on the MCZ type website has a distinctive median hair on the anterior clypeal margin with a hair (maybe more) on each side.


The Fernández concept does not hold very true for the African species.

"Afroxyidris": Monotypic "Afroxyidris crigensis", with monomorphic workers. The anterior clypeal margin has no median hair but numerous other hairs projecting forward, it has minute eyes. Sexuals unknown.

"Carebara": Monomorphic workers. Particularly characterised by relatively enormous queens, with TL 15 mm plus, 24 mm in C. vidua but only ca 8 mm in the uniquely small instance of C. osborni. The queens also have a charcteristically triangular (trapezoiodal) head shape in full face view, including the mandibles. With the workers the anterior margin of the clypeus in, for instance, the Carebara silvestrii worker, has a median hair and several lateral hairs; all the African workers are eyeless.

"Oligomyrmex": Dimorphic workers. Queens with elongated, subrectangular heads comparable to the major workers (the Neotropical "Oligomyrmex" are similarly shaped), separable also by the alitrunk form (wing attachments) and, apparently, the head with a single median ocellus.

"Paedalgus": Monomorphic workers, all minute, TL ca 1.4-1.6 mm; with single facet eyes; without or only the faintest of sutures on the uniformly flat-topped alitrunk. The queen is known for only three species of which one, P. sudanensis, which has no described workers. The TL range is 5.6-6.9 mm (similar to that of the type species, P. escherichi from Sri Lanka and the only non-African species). Bolton (1969) separated the male(s) from Carebara and Oligomyrmex. Bolton & Belshaw (1993) do not describe the head shape for the known queens.

Bolton & Belshaw (1993) felt that the difference between Paedalgus and Carebara were relatively slight and possibly the two genera could be merged.  they commented on the wide disparity in queen sizes but appear not to have considered the small C. osborni. An anomalous comment was that the existence of major and minor castes was "the only feature by which Oligomyrmex can consistently be separated from the monomorphic Carebara and Paedalgus".  They appear not to have considered the Oligomyrmex queens.

Fernández cites his Carebara concinna species complex to exemplify neotropical "Oligomyrmex". The species he listed are C. longii, C. peruviana, C. urichi and C. brevipilosa. He also cites O. panamensis, O. bruchi and O. coeca as having minors indistinguishable from Carebara.  He states the minors of those are eyeless and lack the typical Oligomyrmex sculpturing or pilosity. As many Oligomyrmex minors are shiny and near unsculptured the remark is anomalous.
Contents MYRMICINAE Introduction
© 2010 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
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