The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY MYRMICINAE - Genus Solenopsis
Contents - Myrmicinae - MYRMICINAE Introduction

Genus Solenopsis Westwood (1840b: 86)

In Tribe SOLENOPSIDINI.

Diagnostic Features - Monomorphic or polymorphic. Antennae 10-segmented with a 2-segmented club. Mandibles with three or four teeth. maxillary palp geniculate. Clypeus strongly longitudinally bicarinate, the median area sharply elevated and deeply inserted between the frontal carinae. Promesonotal suture absent; metanotal groove impressed; propodeum unarmed.

Westwood's (1840b) genus description is at {original description}, Note: Westwood compared his type-species, S. mandibularis (junior synonym of S. geminata), with the Pheidole providens of Sykes (1835, as Atta providens; placed in Pheidole by Westwood, 1839) but that is a peculiarly wrong comparison - see Ants of Egypt - Pheidole providens for more information.
Arnold (1916: 242) gave a genus description, this is at {original description}.

Key to major and minor workers, based primarily on historical description and type images

¤ Queen only known South Africa - capensis
Soldiers
1 {Solenopsis globularia}Postpetiole highly distinctive in being almost flat in profile and widely ovoid from above; uniformly dark red-brown (Congo specimens) Congo - first record of an otherwise Caribbean/USA species - globularia
-- Postpetiole generally not much wider than long and globose in profile 2
2 Clypeal carinae very short and divergent, not terminating in two angles or the teeth quite small; plus the clypeus is quite truncate and only very feebly produced anteriorly in the centre; sides of head noticeably arcuate 3
-- Clypeal margin distinctly produced anteriorly with carinae long and ending in sharp teeth 6
3 Small with majors not exceeding TL 2.0 mm 4
-- Larger with major TL at least 3.0 mm 5
. Major TL no more than 2.0 mm .
4 {Solenopsis orbuloides minor}major - TL 2.0 mm; eyes quite large; pilosity quite short; last segment of the funiculus enlarged and obtuse; petiole pedicel quite long; base of gaster quite strongly attenuated; clear yellow

West Africa - orbuloides
-- {Solenopsis africana}Worker - TL 1.0-2.0 mm; eyes of a single facet; scape shorter than fugax; pronotum only moderately convex; petiole node as long as it is high, with a long pedicel and no ventral process; head slightly more punctuate than fugax but less than punctaticeps; shiny and smooth; dull yellow; major with reddish head .
. {Solenopsis africana}Major (non-type) .
.
{Solenopsis africana}Minor (type) Kenya - africana
-- Solenopsis ugandensisType minor worker - TL 1.2-1.3 mm; head rectangular, a little longer than wide; occipital border feebly convex; eye of a single black facet set at 0.4 of head length; scape reaches posterior fifth of head; gaster not truncate basally; smooth and shiny except posterior alitrunk which is finely reticulo-punctate and matt; pilosity short curved and quite abundant; rust-red, head & gaster yellowish-brown, appendages yellow .
. Solenopsis ugandensiscongolensis type major worker - TL ca 1.8 mm (minors identical)
Uganda - ugandensis
-- {Solenopsis orbula}TL 1.3-1.5 mm; head elongated; eyes of a single facet or absent; very few erect hairs; clear pale yellow .
. {Solenopsis orbula} Mediterranean for comparison - orbula
-- Solenopsis semilaevisType minor worker - TL 1.1-1.3 mm; head rectangular, a little longer than wide, CI 81; occipital border feebly convex; eye of a single black facet set at 0.4 of head length; scape reaches posterior quarter of head, SI 72; gaster not truncate basally; smooth and shiny except posterior alitrunk which is finely reticulo-punctate; pilosity short curved and quite abundant; reddish-yellow, gaster slightly darker South Africa - semilaevis
. Major TL at least 3.0 mm .
5 {Solenopsis geminata tramp type}TL up to 5.0 mm; head distinctly longer than wide; scapes reach about 3/4 point of face; propodeum (only in minor?) with carinate lateral borders Pan-tropical tramp (West Africa & Congo Basin form) - geminata type
-- {Solenopsis geminata innota}TL up to 4.3 mm, head near-square with straighter sides and smaller clypeal teeth; scapes almost reach the occiput West Africa & Congo Basin - geminata innota
-- {Solenopsis saevissima}TL up to 3.0 mm; head subrectangular, narrowed behind, slightly longer than wide; clypeus bicarinate but only weakly bidentate; scape reaching or slightly surpassing the occipital border; dorsum of alitrunk shallowly concave but propodeum not bordered; mandibles densely striate but rest of head and body smooth, apart from weak dispersed piligerous puncturation, and very shiny; yellow brown with appendages paler and darker transverse bands on the gaster (based on moelleri description) Tramp (possibly wrongly identified from Africa) - saevissima
. Clypeal margin distinctly produced anteriorly with carinae long and ending in sharp teeth .
6 {Solenopsis maligna}Head near rectangular with parallel sides and straight occipital margin 7
-- {Solenopsis gnomula face}Head with at least shallow convexity of occipital margin 8
7 {Solenopsis maligna}TL only 1.5 mm; with abundant erect pilosity; petiole with short peduncle; brownish yellow Congo - maligna
-- TL 2.8-3.0 mm; head a little longer than wide, occipital margin near straight and lateral angles only slightly rounded; scape about two-thirds length of face; eyes of no more than three facets wide; propodeum with smoothly curved transition from dorsum to declivity; close to orbuloides but with much longer and more abundant pilosity (presumably yellow) Fernando Po - georgica
8 Head elongated with near straight sides and only shallow convexity of occipital margin; 9
-- {Solenopsis punctaticeps}Head near square with at least moderately convex sides and deeper convexity of occipital margin 10
9 {Solenopsis gnomula}TL up to 2.6 mm; eye of a single facet; wholly shiny; basically yellow head of major somewhat darker .
. {Solenopsis gnomula} Ethiopia - gnomula
-- Solenopsis insinuansWorker - TL 2.0 mm; head rectangular (shorter than africana, maligna and gnomula), narrowest posteriorly and with occipital border feebly convex; eye of a single facet; scape reaching occipital border; gaster with truncate anterior border; erect pilosity fine often curved, more abundant than africana; propodeum smooth (reticulate in ugandensis); pale yellow; smooth with very fine pilgerous puncturation and greasy appearance; Uganda - insinuans
. Head near square with at least moderately convex sides and deeper convexity of occipital margin .
10 {Solenopsis punctaticeps}TL up to 3.6 mm; scapes reaching only about two-thirds of face; whole body with rather long erect pale yellowish pilosity; colour dirty ochreous, gaster with apical half of each segment reddish brown-yellow .
. {Solenopsis punctaticeps fur major}Major of ssp fur .
. {Solenopsis punctaticeps} Panafrican - punctaticeps
-- {Solenopsis zambesiae}TL 2.0 mm (? worker); anterior of clypeus with only a central pair of small teeth; alitrunk overall much narrower than punctaticeps; head and anterior alitrunk with very short, dense erect yellowish pubescence; straw-yellow, head and anterior alitrunk darker; moderately shiny but head and anterior alitrunk densely puncturate with much larger, deeper punctures than punctaticeps Zimbabwe - zambesiae

Solenopsis species A242

From Ghana, listed by Room (1971), from below leaf litter under cocoa and in soil under Euphorbia at the Mampong Cemetery farm.


Solenopsis species A227

From Ghana, listed by Room (1971), from in soil under Euphorbia at the Mampong Cemetery farm.


Bernard (1952) wrote of Paulian and Delamare having taken workers of this genus abundantly at Banco, Ivory Coast and from Guinea, Mt. Nimba, Lamotte had taken two different queens, one from savanna at Kéoulenta, the other from the crest at Mount Tô but these were unidentifiable as queens of the genus are very similar one to another and poorly known.

Contents MYRMICINAE Introduction
© 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
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