Plagiolepis (Plagiolepis) mediorufa Forel
Type location Zaïre (Plagiolepis
pygmaea, var mediorufa, Forel, 1916: 437, not illustrated;
raised to species by Wheeler, 1922: 213)
worker only known (see
Bolton, 1995) .
Forel's description (1916, my translation) was -
WORKER- TL 1.1-1.4 mm; different from type (of pygmaea) by
having a narrower head, which is not impressed, especially convex
behind, with convex sides. Characteristic colour is head and gaster
brown; thorax of a more or less reddish yellow; coxae and funiculi
brown; rest of appendages yellowish.
Congo, St Gabriel, by Kohl, in a myrmecophytic plant.
Raised to full species by Wheeler (1922: 213) with the
following comments -
numerous workers from Kisangani (Stanleyville; by Lang and Chapin),
taken from the leaf-pouches of Cola laurentii (also reported by
Bequaert, 1922: 418). This form was originally described as a simple
variety of the Palearctic P. pygmaea (Latreille), from
specimens taken by Kohl "dans une plante myrmécophile," near
Stanleyville. It should, in my opinion, be regarded as a distinct
species on account of its peculiar habitat, for pygmaea nests
in the soil under stones. Moreover, the worker mediorufa, is
decidedly smaller, with much shorter antennae, the median funicular
joints especially being distinctly shorter than long, whereas in pygmaea
they are longer than broad. The head is proportionally smaller and
narrower, with more rounded sides and with the occipital border
straight or slightly convex, not concave as in pygmaea. [Pl.
pygmaea has a curious distribution with a type locality of France;
a subspecies minu from Greece; and two subspecies, bulawayensis
and mima, from Zimbabwe].
Collingwood (1985), describing species from Saudi
Arabia, separated pygmaea (which he noted as being South
European, not found south of the Maltese Islands) by its uninterrupted
outline to the dorsal alitrunk; eyes about the middle of the head;
first funiculus segment as long as combined 2 to 4; 2 & 3 subequal,
broader than long and each much shorter than 4; larger than 1.5 mm;
colour pale brown to dark brown, eye length two fifths or more of head