The Ants of Africa
Genus Platythyrea
Platythyrea conradti Emery

Platythyrea conradti Emery

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Cameroun (Platythyrea Conradti n. sp., Emery, 1899e: 464, worker & male) no location, collected by Conradt - see below
junior synonym monodi (Platythyrea monodi n. sp., Bernard, 1952: 185, worker; synonymy Brown, 1975: 8) from Guinea, Mt. Nimba, alt. 1000 m; 2.vi.1942, collector Lamotte - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?name=casent0913730
worker and male described (see Bolton, 1995) .


{Platythyrea conradti}Emery's (1899e) description is at {original description}. Bernard's (1952) description of monodi is at {original description}.


{Platythyrea conradti}The photomontage of the type worker is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0903795.


{Platythyrea conradti} Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1976: 9). WORKER. Size rather variable but approximately: TL 12.5 mm, HL 2.55, HW 2.3, SL 2.55 and PW 1.87
Colour generally black but with dull grey appearance due to dense pubescence, extremities red-brown. No denticles on propodeum or petiole.

Fairly common in Nigeria. Found on 1% or more of cocoa trees at CRIN, but always in small numbers (Taylor, 1977). Nests found in dead branch ends and crevices on live trees. Usually forage singly on cocoa and surrounding shrubs, tend Homoptera and may build debris tents. Listed by Eguagie (1971) from Agodi near Ibadan.


Wheeler (1922) noted a West Africa finding by Fulleborn; plus others from Congo areas. The latter included the Forel (1915c) note of Kohl's collection from in a small hollow tree trunk, at St. Gabriel, Zaïre.

Bernard (1952) described monodi from a single worker collected at Mt. Nimba, Camp IV, by Lamotte, 2.vi.1942. He described the principal differences from conradti as being an absence of the ashy-grey pubescence; and a considerably shorter and more rounded thorax, specimen TL 11.0. The latter is clearly shown in his illustration .


{Plathyrea conradti monodi}Brown (1975: 46) examined the monodi type and felt that it compared well with specimens of conradti from the Banco Forest Reserve, near Abidjan, Ivory Coast, although the monodi "has a very slightly higher and shorter petiolar node"; a characteristic shared with some specimens of conradti from French Congo(determined by Santschi). He, Brown, had collected the Banco specimens from a nest in a hollow trunk of a small living tree, with an entrance about 1.5 m above ground. He noted also that the male had wings with a distinctive light and dark pattern.  The male I show below has wings with the same pattern.

Colony size in Ivory Coast some 300-500 adults (Lévieux, 1976a); feeding habits mainly eating moth larvae (Noctuidae) (Lévieux, 1976c).

Given as fairly common on young cocoa in Ghana by Strickland (1951a), who regarded it as a chance migrant from leaf litter. Leston (1970) described it as a stump-nesting predatory ant and the only ponerine which ascended trees. Later, however, it was found in twenty-six of the 168 cocoa canopy samples collected by Room (1971) in southern Ghana; it appears to have been found on those trees which had none of the common dominant ants. Collected by pkd at Kade by Majer (1975, 1976b) with 1-3 workers in two samples. Two workers were collected by pkd from the canopy of Amelonado cocoa at CRIG by Bigger (1981a), and it was found as a 'tourist' in one sample of leaf litter at Old Tafo (Belshaw & Bolton, 1994b). Marchart (1968, cited in Entwistle, 1972) used radiotracers to study predators of mirids and found P. conradti to be among them; colonies are described as being less than 100 strong and foraging solitary.


It was among the non-dominant species recorded in the Cameroun forest canopy studies at Campo by Dejean and colleagues. They noted it as nesting in the middle stratum only (hollowed branches) with 5 findings on the 30 trees examined. Other studies in Cameroun by Déjean & Suzzoni (1997) have thrown light on how the species is one of the few ponerines able to be truly arboreal. This is attributed to its development of a remarkable method of transporting sugary liquids. Ponerines cannot do this by filling and distending the crop portion of the gut, unlike many higher ants. What conradti has done is to utilise the surface tension inherent in fluid droplets to transport sizeable amounts adhering to the underside of the head and alitrunk. These collections are taken back to the nest and mostly deposited on the walls of the nest (where nestmates can imbibe) or deposited on the ventral side of the larvae. As an added social element nest-mates also feed on droplets while they are being carried, a form of mutual behaviour Déjean & Suzzoni term the social bucket. The place of Platythyrea conradti in the arboreal mosaic was described as non-dominant, the species avoiding conflict with a dominant by being active only during the early hours of the day, when Dejean & Suzzoni stated that dominants are only slightly active.


Oxford University Museum specimens

Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Ivory Coast
Erena Dupont
ii.2014
Taï National Park
5˚45'00" N
7˚07'00" W
01
1
{album}
Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Ivory Coast
Erena Dupont
iii.2014
Taï National Park
5˚45'00" N
7˚07'00" W
10
1
{album}
Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Ivory Coast
Erena Dupont
v.2014
Taï National Park
5˚45'00" N
7˚07'00" W
07
7
{album}
Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.

Benin
S Tchibozo
Benin 4

27.viii.2006
Bonou
06°50-55' N
02°20-30'E
Forêt de Gnanhouizoumè, Pitfall trap
1
{album}
Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Benin
S Tchibozo


29.i.2007
06°55’03.7 N
02°24’44.6 E
Forêt de Gnanhouizoumè
Forêt fourmis (forest ants)

1
{album}
Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Benin
S Tchibozo

28.ii.2007
06°55’32.8 N
02°29’13 E
Forêt de Gbèvozoumè
Lisière fourmis (forest edge/ border ants)

1

Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Queen
Rep. of Congo
D De Bakker & JP Michiels
ex Y Braet
18.ix.2007
Mayombe
05°37'16" S
13°05'54" E
266 m asl
Canopy fogging

1
{album}
Platythyrea conradti
B Taylor det.
Male
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
Ei
01.ii.2005
Dzanga-Sangha
02°49'07.9" N
16°09'28.3" E
377 m; Camp 2; 20h-7h
Sur plate-forme à 35 m du sol dans un Azobé (Lophira alata, Ochnaceae)
1
{album}

{Platythyrea conradti}The photomontage is of a worker from Benin, Bonou, the Forêt de Gnanhouizoumè; collector S Tchibozo (Benin 4). 


{Platythyrea conradti}The photomontage is of a worker from Benin, Forêt de Gnanhouizoumè; collector S Tchibozo (Benin 2010-01).


{Platythyrea conradti queen}The photomontage is of a queen from Congo,  D De Bakker & JP Michiels; Mayombe, 18.ix.2007.

Is this a dealate queen or an "ergatogyne" or ergatoid queen? I really do not know.


{Platythyrea conradti male}The photomontage is of a male from the Central African Republic, Dzanga_Sangha NP, Camp 2; collector Philippe Annoyer (CAR EL).


{Platythyrea conradti}The photomontage of a worker from Nigeria is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=SAM-HYM-C002301A
Collection Information; Specimen Code SAM-HYM-C002301A; Locality Nigeria: Ajassor Ikom, E. Nigeria; 06°00'00"N 008°41'00"E; Collection codes: SAM-HYM-C002301; Date: 1 Feb 1958; Collected by: Nat. Mus. S. Rhodesia

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© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 , 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

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