The Ants of Africa
Genus Lepisiota
Lepisiota - analysis of "L. capensis"
Lepisiota capensis species page

Lepisiota capensis (Mayr) - listing as in Bolton (1995: 227)

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Africa (Mayr, 1862: 699, worker; Mayr, 1862: 770, male; also Mayr, 1866: 57, male; Emery, 1877b: 366, queen)
subspecies
acholli (Acantholepis capensis Mayr, acholli subsp. nov., Weber, 1943c: 382, illustrated, worker & queen) from South Sudan
issore (Acantholepis capensis Mayr, issore subsp. nov., Weber, 1943c: 383, illustrated, worker & queen) from South Sudan
thoth (Acantholepis capensis Mayr, thoth subsp. nov., Weber, 1943c: 383, illustrated, worker & queen) from South Sudan
anceps (Acantholepis capensis Mayr v. anceps n. var., Forel, 1916: 438, workerr) from Zare
specularis (Acantholepis laevior Santschi stirps specularis n. st., Santschi, 1935a: 278, worker) from Zare
guineensis (Acantholepis capensis Mayr var. guineensis nov. var., Mayr, 1902: 296, worker) from Ghana, Accra, by R. Buchholz
junodi (Acantholepis capensis Mayr r. Junodi n. stirps, Forel, 1916: 438, worke) from South Africa
minuta (Acantholepis simplex For. v. minuta n. var., Forel, 1916: 438, worker) from South Africa
simplicoides (Acantholepis capensis Mayr var. simplicoides n. var., Forel, 1907g: 86, footnote, worker) from South Africa
laevis (Acantholepis laevis n. sp., Santschi, 1913c: 312, illustrated, worker) from Senegal, St. Louis by Claveau,
lunaris (Acantholepis lunaris n. sp., Emery, 1893f: 250, illustrated, worker) from Sri Lanka
simplex (Acantholepis simplex Forel, 1892a: 43, in key, worker; Forel, 1892e: 350, queen & male)
validiuscula (Acantholepis capensis Mayr var. validiuscula n. var., Emery, 1897e: 602, workerr) from Somalia
subopaciceps (Acantholepis capensis Mayr v. subopaciceps n. v., Santschi, 1937d: 235, worker) from Angola
(see Bolton, 1995).


Mayr's (1862) brief description is at {original description}, Mayr (1865: 57) gave a full description of the worker, plus that of the male, and illustrations, these are at {original description}. Emery's (1877b) description of the queen is at {original description}, Arnold (1920a) provided a translation of Mayr's (1862) description with a fuller description of his (Arnold) own, this is at {original description}. Emery's (1897e) description of validuscula is at {original description}; Mayr's (1902) description of guineensis is at {original description}; Forel's (1907g) description of simplicoides is at {original description}; Santschi's (1913c) description of laevis is at {original description}; Forel's (1916) description of simplex minuta, junodi and anceps is at {original description}; Arnold (1920a) also provided a translation of several varieties - validiscula, simplicoides, minuta, junodi, simplex - on {original description} plus laevis, alexisi and hirsuta elevata (this latter from Kenya, raised to species by Santschi, 1914b) - on {original description}. Santschi's (1937d) description of subopaciceps is at {original description}; and, Weber's (1943c) descriptions are at - acholli - {original description}, issore - {original description}, and thoth - {original description}.

Wheeler (1922) listed many findings from throughout sub-Saharan Africa and perhaps Sri Lanka. These included Sierra Leone (Mocquerys) and Guinea (Los Islands, by H. Brauns; plus laevis from Conakry, by F. Silvestri).


{Lepisiota capensis}

Lepisiota capensis (Mayr) revised status

{link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Africa (Mayr, 1862: 699, worker; Mayr, 1862: 770, male; also Mayr, 1866: 57, male; Emery, 1877b: 366, queen), (see Bolton, 1995; has see also Bingham, 1903: 316; Arnold, 1920a: 568).

{Lepisiota capensis}Mayr's (1862) brief description is at {original description}, Mayr (1865: 57) gave a full description of the worker, plus that of the male, and illustrations, these are at {original description}. Emery's (1877b) description of the queen is at {original description}, Arnold (1920a) provided a translation of Mayr's (1862) description with a fuller description of his (Arnold) own, this is at {original description}.


{Lepisiota capensis ex Alex Wild} Re-definition of true capensis
There seems little doubt that the true type form has the propodeum with quite pronounced blunt prominences; the petiole scale is only moderate in height and has low spines on the dorsal margin. The overall appearance is near black and shiny, with the antennae wholly brown or blackish. The pilosity is short, dark and fairly sparse.

See also the note on true capensis, i.e. from the Cape of Good Hope, by Emery (1897) in his description of canescens - {original description}. Santschi (1937d) noted the capensis type has antenna which are entirely brown or blackish.

Some of the confusion may stem from Forel (1892a: 43) where his key had - capensis (from South Africa, Madagascar and Indian continent) with "erect pilosity whitish, abundant on body, none on tibiae and scapes". also "petiole scale narrow with two short spines" - This clearly was erroneous in both those aspects.

The photograph right is of Lepisiota capensis from Cape Town, South Africa, and is from one of three superb Myrmecos.net originals taken by Alex Wild (click to see original).


Analysis of so-called subspecies of capensis

NOTE - Arnold (1920a) provided a translation of several varieties - validiscula, simplicoides, minuta, junodi, simplex - on {original description} .

Dark brown with abundant coarse dark pilosity; generally stockier - petiole scale bidentate
validiuscula (Emery) {Lepisiota validiuscula}(var of capensis, Emery, 1897e: 602, worker); {original description}
TL 2.8-3.3 mm; jet black appendages brown, scape ochreous-yellow; scape surpasses occiput by ca 1/2 its own length; longer coarser and more abundant erect pilosity
Of validiscula, in Southern Africa and Zimbabwe, Arnold (1920a) noted - "Generally distributed and very common. Nesting usually under stones; an industrious attendant on Aphididae and Coccidae".
Wheeler (1922) had validiscula a larger more robust form, with abundant, erect, dark brown pilosity; Santschi 1937d) appears to have a matt appearance
Somalia & Nigeria ? validiuscula [species T]
Black with sparse coarse dark pilosity; petiole scale bidentate; very small TL 1.5 mm
minuta (Forel) (var of simplex, Forel, 1916: 438, worker; var of capensis, Arnold, 1920a: 572 - {original description}
WORKER - TL 1.5 mm; more robust, short scapes just surpassing occiput; jet-black
South Africa - minuta
Black with sparse fine dark pilosity; petiole scale without teeth may be ermarginate - TL 2.4-2.8 mm - simplex, simplicoides and subopaciceps
simplex (Forel) (Forel, 1892a: 43, in key, worker; Forel, 1892e: 350, queen & male; as ssp in Forel, 1907g: 86, footnote; Arnold, 1920a: 572; but species in later Forel papers and Santschi, 1914d: 378)
Forel (1892a) simply had - "as capensis, but more slender; mesonotum more narrowed; metanotum simply enlarged and angular posteriorly; petiole scale feebly scalloped without teeth; very shiny throughout, almost smooth and near glabrous
Arnold (1920a) had - TL 2.4-2.8 mm; propodeum profile flat ? (type concave); pilosity longer, finer and much more abundant than type; metanotum and propodeum nitidulous; petiole scale without any sign of teeth
Somalia - simplex
simplicoides (Forel) (Forel, 1907g: 86, footnote, worker) - {original description}
Forel's (1907g) description was very brief but has - "transitional to simplex"
Santschi (1914b: 125) in a key to the then known species, separated simplicoides as having reduced protuberances on the propodeum and the petiole scale scalloped but only weakly dentate
South Africa; Lesotho - simplicoides
subopaciceps (Santschi) (var of capensis, Santschi, 1937d: 235, worker; ) - {original description}
WORKER - TL not given; appears to have a matt appearance, with quite strong reticulation on head; petiole scale less strongly incised than validiuscula; rectilinear toward summit;
noted simplicoides as differing only in the petiole scale being more clearly scalloped at the summit
Angola - subopaciceps
Black with sparse coarse dark pilosity; petiole scale bidentate - true capensis - TL at least 2.8 mm
capensis (Mayr) {Lepisiota capensis} see above -Mayr (1862, 1865)
WORKER - TL 2.8-3.2 mm; metanotum with two blunt protuberances; petiole scale bidentate and emarginate (an excised rounded shape); with sparse pilosity; shiny black, appendages brown
South Africa
Black with sparse coarse rufous pilosity; petiole scale bidentate; small TL 2.0-2.3 mm
lunaris (Emery) (as species, Emery, 1893f: 250, illustrated, worker; race/spp of capensis by Forel 1895e: 458, 1906b: 86, 1909e: 395) - {original description} (plate unavailable)
Emery's description - "a stocky form of capensis" - TL 2.0-2.3 mm; scape surpasses occiput by about 1/3 its own length; metanotum with rounded lateral cones; petiole with short sharp spines, arcuate upper margin; black, appendages rufous; microscopic pubescence sparse; erect hairs large, obtuse but few in number
Forel (1895e) referred without qualification to - "the race lunaris of the capensis";
Sri Lanka
Black, very shiny, with pale pilosity, very small TL 1.7 mm
laevis (Santschi) {Lepisiota capensis laevis} (as full species; Santschi, 1913c: 312, illustrated, worker; stirps of simplex Santschi, 1914d: 378; status as species, Santschi, 1935a: 278; as ssp of capensis, Bernard & Cagniant, 1963: 163) - {original description}
WORKER - TL 1.7 mm; clypeus with strong arcuate carina; mandibles smooth; eyes occupy about one-third of side of head; scapes surpass occiput by about 1/3 of own length; petiole scale narrowed apically, slightly scalloped and somewhat inclined; pale or whitish erect pilosity, short thick hairs are whitish on gaster and around mouth; very shiny; black, basal third of scapes and tarsi clear yellow brown, rest of antennae and legs brown
Bernard & Cagniant (1963: 163) give no authority for regarding it as a subpecies of capensis, but note this small (less than canescens) and very shiny form is very common in the plains of black Africa
Senegal - laevis
Black with pale pilosity, TL ca 2.0 mm
specularis (Santschi) (st of laevior - laevis, Santschi, 1935a: 278, worker; ssp "current status", Bolton, 1995: 228)
WORKER - TL 2 mm; head rectangular, slightly longer than wide, but as wide apically as posteriorly; sides convex, occiput and posterior corners slightly rounded; eyes larger than one-third the sides and set at midpoint of face; in full face view the eyes just reach the sides of the face; clypeus convex and faintly carinate, anterior border very arcuate; postclypeal notch short and feeble; frontal carinae as long as the eye, more spaced and longer; scapes surpass occipital border by less than one third their length; funiculus segments 2 and 3 less than quarter longer than wide; together a little longer than segment 1; alitrunk short, pronotum slightly wider than long, widest anteriorly; metanotum shorter than mesonotum, spiracles moderately raised; pronpodeum dorsum slightly raised above axis of alitrunk profile; twice as wide anteriorly as the median width; dorsally convex transversely and longitudinally; posteriorly slightly concave between the angles, which spread as short obtuse cones; petiole scale feebly excised and subdentate; several long hairs on genae and at the apex of the gaster, other short hairs on the gaster; pubescence very short and very sparse; smooth and very shiny except mesonotum and propodeum which were somewhat reticulo-punctate and matt; black, mandibles, distal scape and tarsi yellow.
Santschi regarded it as a form intermediate to simplex and laevis. With simplex the head is bigger and more narrow anteriorly and rounded behind the eyes; plus a smaller pronotum. With laevis the antennae are entirely yellow and the scape longer, pronotum as simplex. With tenuipilis the eyes are set more forward, the gaster pilosity is more abundant, longer and finer. With minuta the scape is shorter. It also resembles L. curta Emery (type location Somalia) by its pronotum, but that is more sculptured and the head is narrower.
Bernard (1952) reported it (as Acantholepis (Pseudacantholepis) laevis ssp specularis) as common at Guinea, Mt. Nimba, Mt. T at 1600 m. He noted this was a race known from Oubangui, of a species frequently found in Senegal, Guinea, Congo, etc.
Zare - specularis
Black with pale pilosity, TL range 2.2-2.7 mm
acholli (Weber) {Lepisiota acholli}(ssp of capensis, Weber, 1943c: 382, illustrated, worker & queen) - {original description}
WORKER - TL 2.2-2.4 mm; HL slightly > HW; scapes surpassing occiput by over 1/3 of their own length; petiole with feeble teeth; moderately abundant yellowish-white pilosity, pubescence sparse white appressed; black, appendages blackish-brown
Soudanian savannah - affinis
anceps (Forel) {Lepisiota anceps}(var of capensis, Forel, 1916: 438, worker) - {original description}
WORKER - TL 2.4-2.7 mm; pilosity as on depilis; petiole scale and propodeum as with simplex; NOTE: depilis has species status [Emery's (1897e) description is on {original description}. Compared with capensis, head more truncate with less rounded corners, erect hairs short more scarce, on gaster dorsum restricted to tranverse row at posterior of each segment; pubescence less copious; overall subopaque, metanotum and propodeum opaque.
Zare - anceps
Brown or lighter with dark pilosity; petiole bispinose
guineensis (Mayr) {short description of image}(as var of capensis, Mayr, 1902: 296, worker) - {original description}
WORKER - Yellow-brown and has well developed petiolar spines, raised here to status of a distinct species; from Accra, by R. Buchholz
Ghana - guineensis
Brown or lighter with pale pilosity; petiole scale with entire margin
issore (Weber) {Lepisiota capensis issore} (ssp of capensis,Weber, 1943c: 383, illustrated, worker & queen) - {original description}
WORKER - TL 2.4 mm; resembling simplex (cotype in MCZ) but larger, head less rectangular, long hairs more numerous and appendages darker; head broadest at posterior; scapes surpass occiput by about 1/3 their own length; a rounded transition from dorsum to declivity of the propodeum with only blunt tubercles; petiole node expanded laterally, dorsally emarginate; nest in dead tree branch
Sudan - issore
thoth (Weber) {Lepisiota capensis thoth}(ssp of capensis, Weber, 1943c: 383, illustrated, worker & queen) - {original description}
WORKER - TL 2.1-2.4 mm; HL > HW; occiput straight; eyes moderately convex, set closer to occiput than anterior margin; scapes surpass occiput by 1/3 to 1/2 of own length; a rounded transition from dorsum to declivity of the propodeum with blunt prominences; petiole scale with entire dorsal margin; pubescence of minute scattered appressed hairs; long, whitish hairs most numerous on gaster, dark brown, appendages slightly paler
Sudan - thoth
Brown or lighter with pale pilosity; short antennal scapes (surpassing occiput by no more than 1/4 of own length); petiole scale with long spines
junodi (Forel) (as r of capensis, Forel, 1916: 438, worker) - {original description}
WORKER - as translated by Arnold, 1920a) - probably referrable to incisa, head narrower than curta; scapes surpass occiput by barely 1/4 of own length; shallow incision of alitrunk; with long petiolar spines and yellowish erect pilosity on body; white subdecumbent hairs on legs and scapes; probably a variety or junior synonym of incisa
South Africa - Lepisiota incisa r junodi
Contents
2007, 2009, 2013 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

href="lepisiota_capensis_analysis.htm"