The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY MYRMICINAE - Genus Myrmicaria - key to workers
Contents - Myrmicinae - Genus Myrmicaria Introduction

Genus Myrmicaria Saunders (1842: 57)

Key to workers of African species

The following key to the Myrmicaria of Africa is translated and quite extensively adapted by me from that of Santschi (1925c: 133), plus later described species. The latter includes my separation of congolensis to full species and removal of it and its subspecies from opaciventris.
Santschi's key was described by Bolton (1995) as "out of date" but there is no more modern revision of the Genus. Using Santschi's and other illustrations, I have also designed the key to be both textual and visual.
I have not taken the separations beyond the level of species, i.e. I have not included Santschi's separations of "subspecies". Where appropriate, I have noted the variations in the main species sections.


-- Male only known (description unavailable) Ethiopia - tigreensis
1 {Myrmicaria exigua}TL 3.3-4.3 mm. Funiculus segments slender except for the last which is a distinct large club. Petiole node much longer than wide. Thoracic rugae mostly longitudinal, medially commonly faint. Lower angles of pronotum (mesokatepisternal tooth) rounded.  West Africa & Congo Basin (arboreal) - exigua
-- Otherwise and with a three-segmented antennal club. 2
2 Pedicel with nodes which are longer than they are high 3
-- Pedicel with nodes which are higher than they are long 4
2 Pedicel with nodes which are longer than they are high 3
3 {M. nigra pedicel profile}Brown-black; TL 5.5 mm; petiole node longer than high or wide; node rounded and compressed; TL 5.5 mm; South Africa - nigra
-- {Myrmicaria opaciventris}TL 6.0-6.5 mm; dull (dirty) ferruginous; antennae, pedicel and gaster fuscous, subopaque; general body form like eumenoides; postpetiole with distinct ventral angular anterior process; clypeus carinate; scapes striated; head and alitrunk longitudinally rugose, vertex of head weakly subreticulate; lateral pedicel finely rugose; postpetiole and basal gaster subtly punctate, so that the latter appears matt; mostly nitidous widespread in wooded areas - opaciventris
. Pedicel with nodes which are higher than they are long .
4 Pronotum with little sculpturation restricted to transverse rugae and with no median longitudinal ruga 5
-- Pronotum with at least a median longitudinal ruga 6
5 {Myrmicaria anomala}TL 5.2 mm; brownish-black with sparse whitish pilosity; pronotum dorsum with only partial transverse rugae and straight anterior margin; petiole with high node (no photos)
South Africa (high montane) - anomala
-- {Myrmicaria laevior}TL 3.9-4.2 mm; yellow brown; erect pilosity yellowish; petiole node wider than long; antennal segments very short South Africa - laevior
. Pronotum with at least a median longitudinal ruga .
6 {M. arnoldi pedicel profile}TL 6.5-8.2 mm; postpetiole lower than petiole; red-brown; without a promesonotal suture; (no photos)
Zimbabwe - arnoldi
-- Postpetiole at least as high as the petiole 7
7 Petiole profile near square with distinct vertical anterior and posterior faces plus a clearly separate dorsal face 8
-- Petiole profile with distinctly sloping anterior and posterior faces plus a variably separate usually domed dorsal face 9
8 {Myrmicaria fusca}TL 4.3 mm; central area of head and pronotum polished apart from the median carinae; clypeus without a median carina; yellow brown
Zaire - fusca
-- {Myrmicaria rustica}TL 7.5-8.0 mm; dorsum of propodeum with a strong transverse ridge; dark brown, head and gaster brown black East Africa - rustica
-- {Myrmicaria consanguinea}TL 4.3-5.5 mm; central area of head and pronotum polished apart from the median carinae; clypeus without a median carina; brown or darker East Africa - consanguinea
-- {Myrmicaria taeniata} TL (max) 7.5-8.5 mm; relatively pale scapes with almost no longitudinal striae; the longitudinal striae on the promesonotum reaching right to the anterior; the fine but clear spiculate sculpture on the base of the gasterorange-brown, gaster and frons darker
West Africa & Congo Basin - taeniata
. Petiole profile with distinctly sloping anterior and posterior face plus a variably separate usually domed dorsal face .
9 {funiculus of Myrmicaria distincta}Segment 3 of the funiculus not or little longer than segment 2 10
-- Segment 2 of the funiculus longer than segment 3 {funiculus of Myrmicaria laevior} 11
10 {Myrmicaria distincta}TL 5-0-6.8 mm; alitrunk with erect hairs short and sparse; propodeum with few or only a pair of erect hairs; reddish yellow, with tarsi and gaster brown; striations on front of head distinctly arcuate; clypeus longitudinally carinate and mandibles striate; dorsum of pronotum with narrowly spaced fine longitudinal striation;  base of gaster slightly dull due to microspiculation
East Africa - distincta
-- {Myrmicaria n sp SenegalTL ca 8.0 mm; alitrunk with abundant long erect hairs; propodeum with several erect hairs; striations on front of head straight, clypeus and mandibles near smooth; dorsum of pronotum with relatively few, widely spaced coarse longitudinal striations; seen from above propodeal spines with only a small distance between the bases; pedicel of petiole uniquely short, no longer than the node, and relatively thick, with distinct longitudinal striations; base of gaster wholly smooth and shiny
new species Senegal
-- {Myrmicaria abyssinica}TL 5-0-6.8 mm; alitrunk with no obvious erect hairs red-brown parts darker,
Ethiopia - abyssinica
. Segment 2 of the funiculus longer than segment 3 .
11 {Myrmicaria foreli pallida}TL 4.5-5.5 mm; funiculus segment 3 twice as long as wide; thick-set; blackish brown with upper head black, pedicel and base of gaster mid-brown, rest of gaster yellowish brown South Africa - foreli
-- Funiculus segment 3 more than twice as long as wide; generally larger 12
12 {Myrmicaria salambo}TL 6-7 mm; ventral surface of petiole with two fine spines (not present on cotypes); clypeus without a median carina; reddish brown; gaster brownish yellow; legs, including the coxae and lower pleurae, darker than the thorax, mandibular teeth and antennae blackish .
. {Myrmicaria salambo} Zare & Senegal - salambo
-- Ventral surface of petiole without spines 13
13 Mesokatepisternal tooth (from base to apex) as long as the height of the pronotum, readily visible in dorsal view
14
-- Mesokatepisternal tooth less prominent 15
14 Myrmicaria striataTL 7.5-8 mm; dark brown to blackish; front of head with several longitudinal striations Tanzania; Katanga, Zare - striata
-- Myrmicara pilosaTL 5.5-6.0 mm; erect hairs black; front of head smooth apart from a median longitudinal carina
Zimbabwe & Mozambique - pilosa
15 With abundant but very short erect hairs; head longitudinally striate without cross-meshes; petiole node conical, anterior face very oblique; TL 6.5-7.0 mm (no photos of worker)
So Tom I - striata
in part, ssp insularis
-- Otherwise; from mainland Africa 16
16 {M. natalensis body profile}Anterior face of petiole node more vertical than posterior, with the superior angle more acute than the anterior (basal) angle 17
-- {M. striatula body profile}Petiole profile conical and more symmetric 18
17 {M. reichenspergeri alitrunk dorsum}TL 6-6.5 mm; pronotum dorsum with all rugae straight and longitudinal, median very elevated; pronotum with concave basal face; yellow-brown;
.
. {M. reichenspergeri alitrunk dorsum} Tanzania - reichenspergeri
-- {M. natalensis alitrunk dorsum}TL 5.5-7.0 mm; pronotum dorsum with rugae arched or transverse anterior to the anastamose cup of pronotum; gaster smooth and shiny; bright ferruginous, antennae, legs and gaster much darker .
. {Myrmicaria natalensis navicula} widespread East & Southern Africa savannah species - natalensis
18 {Myrmicaria striatula profile}TL 5.5-6.0 mm; colour dark red-brown, gaster black and wholly shiny; both petiole and postpetiole nodes higher than long and in profile about equal; dorsum of propodeum fairly concave forward; central area of head largely smooth and shiny each side of the median ruga
.
. {Myrmicaria striatula} Tanzania, possibly only Kilimanjaro area; Congo Basin (?) - striatula
-- {M. fumata linearis body profile}Otherwise (e.g. fumata linearis) 19
19 {M. fumata alitrunk dorsum} Pronotum rugae all parallel 20
-- {M. congolensis alitrunk dorsum} Pronotum rugae arched, transverse before meeting the median ruga at a right angle (example congolensis) 23
. Pronotum rugae parallel .
20 {Myrmicaria faurei}TL 6.5-6.7 mm; propodeal spines unusually long and downcurved; colour black, shiny;
South Africa - faurei
-- Propodeal spines more typical; pronotum with fainter and sparser rugae 20
20 TL 5.6-6.0 mm; p{Myrmicaria basutorum}ronotum dorsum with only 5 longitudinal rugae; colour pitch black and shiny
Lesotho - basutorum
-- Pronotum dorsum with more than five longitudinal rugae 21
21 {Myrmicaria rhodesiae}TL 6.8-8.8 mm; pronotum dorsum with seven thin rugae; colour black
Zimbabwe - rhodesiae
-- {Myrmicaria fumata}TL 5.6 mm; linearis up to 7.5 mm; pronotum dorsum with nine rugae; more or less reticulated and meshed with the longitudinal rugae best developed;  dark brown red; shiny West Africa and Zare - fumata
. Pronotum rugae arched, transverse before meeting the median ruga at a right angle .
24 Propodeum profile with sharp rise from metanotal groove and a transverse ridge or sill; TL 7.7-9.5 mm; occipitum and face densely reticulate; dark red-brown, gaster dark brown, smooth and shiny
25
-- Dorsum of propodeum flat, raised behind the metanotal groove but without a transverse ridge or sill; TL 5.5-7.0 mm 26
25 {Myrmicaria baumi}TL 7.7-9.5 mm; propodeum profile with sharp rise from metanotal groove and a transverse ridge or sill; prodeum dorsum weakly concave and longitudinally striate; head wider than long; occipitum and face densely reticulate; dark red-brown, gaster dark brown, smooth and shiny
Angola & Cameroun - baumi
-- Camponotus occidentalisTL 5.5-7.0 mm; dorsum of propodeum concave and smooth; head longer than wide, pedicel nodes weakly striate
West Africa - occidentalis
26 {Myrmicaria irregularis}TL 5.5-7 mm; frons with only one fine stration each side of the median line; dorsum of propodeum smooth; gaster hardly sculpted anteriorly, often darker; bright ferruginous, antennae and legs, sometimes gaster, much darker Zare, Angola & Mozambique - irregularis
-- {Myrmicaria congolensis}TL 5.5-7.7 mm; dorsum of promesonotum with densely packed fine longitudinal striations; propodeum longitudinally rugose; gaster largely matt; red-brown; gaster always dull;
Whole of western Africa - congolensis
-- {Myrmicaria nitida}TL 5.5-6.5 mm; dorsum of promesonotum with sparse fine longitudinal striations; postpetiole with narrow profile; head with fine, purely longitudinal striations on the front; general appearance shiny Cameroun - nitida
Contents MYRMICINAE Introduction
2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

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