The Ants of Africa
Genus Centromyrmex
Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr

Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Cameroun (Mayr, 1896: 230, worker) collector Y. Sjöstedt - no type images on Antweb (November 2015)

Worker only described (see Bolton, 1995) .

Former subspecies Centromyrmex longiventris (Santschi, 1919b: 229, worker) from Victoria, F. Silvestri, was given species status by me in October 2007.

Mayr's (1896) description is at {original description}. Mayr compared this with Centromyrmex feae

Bolton & Fisher (2008: 22) gave the following synonymies -
Centromyrmex constanciae Arnold, 1915: 38, pl. 2, Fig. 14; workers and queen; from Zimbabwe, Bembesi, 24.iii.1913, collector G Arnold; male described by Arnold (1926: 199) - see
Centromyrmex arnoldi Santschi, 1919: 229, figs a-d, workers and male; from Mozambique, Amatongas Forest, ix.1917, collector G. Arnold; changed to a variety of constanciae by Santschi (1920: 8); synonymized with constanciae by Arnold (1926: 199). Arnold also reported he had sent specimens to Forel and he (Forel) was of the opinion that it was a synonym of C. sellaris. See
Centromyrmex arnoldi r. guineensis Bernard, 1952: 186, fig 1d, holotype worker; from Guinea, Mt. Nimba, Nion, St. 22, 700 m, 15.iv.1942, collector Lamotte - see

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2008c. Afrotropical ants of the ponerine genera Centromyrmex Mayr, Promyopias Santschi gen. rev. and Feroponera gen. n., with a revised key to genera of African Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1929, 1-37 - weblink - [10 Nov. 2008]

Specimens shown on Antweb and listed as sellaris
CASENT9966705 - Lusaka, Zambia (Fig. 25-26 in Bolton, 2008)
SAM-ENT-11511 - Mozambique, Amatongas Forest - Centromyrmex arnoldi of Santschi (1919: 229)

{Centromyrmex arnoldi Santschi}

Centromyrmex constanciae Arnold; type location Zimbabwe (Arnold, 1915: 38, illustrated, worker and queen; Arnold, 1926: 199, male); subspecies nominal, plus angolensis (Santschi, 1937d: 214, worker) from Angola and guineensis (Bernard, 1952: 186, illustrated, worker) from Guinea, Mt. Nimba ; all forms described (see Bolton, 1995).

Arnold's (1915) illustrated description of constanciae is at {original description} and {original description}.

{Centromyrmex arnoldi Santschi}Santschi's (1919b) description of arnoldi is at {original description}. Santschi's (1920b) note is at {original description}. Arnold's (1926: 199) translation and re-description is at {original description}.

{Centromyrmex sellaris]The photomontage is collated from Mocambique: Amatongas Forest (coords for Amatongas); 19°11'00"S 033°45'00"E Collection Information Collection codes: SAM-ENT-0011511 Date: 15 Feb 1917 Collected by: G.Arnold.

The Centromyrmex arnoldi of Santschi (1919: 229), noted as a variety of constanciae by Santschi (1920: 8). Synonymised with constanciae by Arnold (1926: 199).

{Centromyrmex congolensis}

Centromyrmex congolensis Weber; type location Zaïre (Weber, 1949b: 5, illustrated, worker); worker only described (see Bolton, 1995).

Weber's description (1949b, updated by me) is -
WORKER: Extended length 6.3 mm; of thorax 1.8 mm. Head in front view squarish, excluding mandibles one and one-sixth times broader than long, occipital margin truncate, feebly concave, corners rounded anteriorly, anterior clypeal margin produced in a broad, truncate lobe; frontal lobes short, feebly convex; eyeless; mandibles falcate, outer margin broadly convex, cutting margin about twice as long as inner basal margin and with about 10 feeble and irregularly spaced denticles, apex in the form of an acute tooth; antennal scapes long and slender, slightly exceeding the occipital corners, gradually enlarged and bowed distally, first funicular segment longer than the following two segments taken together, following segments gradually thickening and lengthening to an indistinctly four- or five-segmented club, terminal segment equal in length to the three preceding ones taken together. Thorax from above with evenly convex pronotal margin, the pronotum being transversely crescent shaped, promesonotal suture marked and impressed, metanotal region broadly and smoothly impressed, the lateral impressions rising obliquely forward to meet at an angle, thus isolating the propodeum as a rounded node; thorax in side view with pronotum rising sharply to form a slightly obtuse angle, mesonotum rising sharply above the pronotum and smoothly sloping into the metanotal impression, the latter broad and saddle shaped, propodeum in the form of a large, convex tubercle. Petiole from above with narrow, distinct peduncle and large node which is broader than long, broader behind than in front and with truncate posterior margin; in side view with node evenly convex above and ventral surface with a short, acute spine forwardly directed. Gaster elongate-ovate with sharply truncate anterior margin and convex anterior angles; five segments exposed dorsally, of which the fifth is more constricted from the preceding than any others; sting long and exserted. Legs short and stout, the coxae strongly incrassate, the femora less so, middle tibia covered with sharp spines, the others with far fewer and more slender spines, tarsi spinose.
Shining; head finely striate-punctate, the frons largely smooth except for piligerous punctations, thorax with similar piligerous punctations, and irregularly striate, gaster and appendages smooth except for the same piligerous punctations. Pilosity of yellow, upright hairs of variable lengths, clypeus with two long, fine hairs projecting over the mandibles, inner surface of mandibles below the denticles with shorter hairs, entire surface generally with scattered hairs; pubescence confined to the legs distally and the funiculi. Brownish yellow, appendages slightly darker.
HOLOTYPE: One worker taken March 1, 1948, at Niangara, Belgian Congo. It was just beneath the soil surface under a thin cover of dead leaves of mango and oil palm. The ant seemed completely helpless when exposed to the daylight and writhed about when placed on the ground or in my palm. It made no attempt to run away, curling and uncurling without stinging, though it had a long, stout sting. Obviously its habitat was exclusively hypogaeic, as the lack of eyes also indicates. This remarkable ant has its middle tibia much more spinose than the fore and hind tibia, while the fore tibia is much more massive and differently proportioned compared with the others. It is possible that these structures, together with the generally stout legs, including large, globose coxae, protect the legs from being severed at any point by the strong mandibles of soldier termites. They are adapted for locomotion through the tenuous galleries of termites, where the ants may encounter their prey. The pair of hairs on the anterior clypeal margin and the short, stout hairs below the denticles on the mandibles must serve a sensory purpose to inform the ant when it has moving prey to seize. The scattered hairs over the entire surface are also doubtless sensory in lieu of eyes.
From C. constanciae Arnold of Rhodesia the present species differs distinctly in larger size, in less angular thorax and propodeum, and in other ways. It appears to differ from C. sellaris Mayr of the Cameroons in larger size (C. sellaris is given as 5.3 mm, and Santschi remarks that his specimens are still smaller) and in other ways though comparison is difficult because Mayr's description consists primarily of a comparison with an Indo-Malayan species, C. feae Emery.

{Centromyrmex guineensis} Bernard's (1952) description of guineensis is at {original description}.

A subterranean ant usually found with termites, either in or under rotten logs, sometimes in outer galleries of termite mounds. The tarsal spines give traction on the walls of underground tunnels and are a good example of special structural modifications. According to Lévieux (1976a, 1983b), from Ivory Coast, at Lamto, the colony size is around 400 adults and the main food is termites.

Belshaw & Bolton (1994b) mention, without naming species, that the Centromyrmex found in Ghana are obligatory termitolestic.

{Centromyrmex sellaris} Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1976: 190). WORKER - TL 5.32, HL 1.06, HW 0.93, SL 0.68, PW 0.78
Colour golden-brown, shiny with sparse erect hairs. Head coarsely punctate. Mandibles strongly down-curved. Eyes absent. Pronotum and mesonotum flat dorsally, pronotum strongly marginated anteriorly and laterally. Metanotal groove absent, propodeum pinched in and concave dorsally at midlength, posteriorly convex with almost vertical declivitous face. Coxae large, especially of anterior legs. Tarsi of all legs with numerous down-curved spines and stiff hairs. Apical tibial spurs of midlegs both small and simple. Hind tibiae with one large pectinate and one simple spur.

Found at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre, by me. Specimen listed by Bolton & Fisher (2008) but without reference to Taylor (1976).

{Centromyrmex sellaris]The photomontage is collated from Collection Information: CASENT0066705; Locality: Zambia (N. Rhodesia): Central: Lusaka, Leopard Hill, Kapuka Farm; 12°33'17"S 030°17'44"E 1300 m; Collection codes: BLF13551; Collected by: B.L.Fisher et al.; Habitat: miombo woodland; Date: 30 Nov 2005; Method: ex soil.

This is the specimen shown by Bolton & Fisher (2008, Figs 25-26). However, note the scape on this specimen appears not to surpass the occiput, unlike on all the others shown above. The petiole also is not parallel sided

© 2007, 2008, 2012 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.