The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY FORMICINAE - Genus Tapinolepis
Contents - Formicinae - FORMICINAE Introduction

Revised after Bolton (2003: 267) - separating Anoplolepis as previously understood into two separate genera Anoplolepis (in Tribe Lasiini; with Zealleyella as a junior synonym) and Tapinolepis (in Tribe Plagiolepidini; with Mesanoplolepis as a junior synonym). Note - as Bolton provided no analysis of the individual species, I have retained a separation of Tapinolepis and Mesanoplolepis as subgenera.

Bolton's prime separation points are :-
Anoplolepis - mandible with 6-9 teeth, when closed not concealed by clypeus; dorsum of head behind clypeus with erect stout setae; eye behind mid-length of head, and anterior arc of torus around eyes posterior to and not touching clypeal margin; ocelli absent (sometimes one median ocellus in largest workers); metatibia with a large distinct apicoventral spur, with a coarse seta on each side; anterior face of gaster without distinct concavity.
Tapinolepis - mandible with 5 teeth, when closed mostly concealed by clypeus; dorsum of head behind clypeus without erect stout setae; eyes set variably around midlength of head but anterior arc of torus around eyes touching and slightly indenting clypeal margin; three ocelli distinct; metatibia with a divergent pair of large coarse setae on each side, no median spur; anterior face of gaster with distinct cavity, into which the petiole fits when alitrunk and gaster in horizontal alignment.

Genus Tapinolepis (Emery, 1925b: 18)

In Tribe PLAGIOLEPIDINI (see Bolton, 2003: 107, 267)

Emery (1925b: 18) as subgenus of Anoplolepis; type species Plagiolepis tumidula - his definition is at {original description}.


Emery (1925b) separated Tapinolepis - with one species from South Africa and one from Ethiopia. Santschi (1926a) clarified and restated his definitions of the Genus and the subgenera Anoplolepis, Zealleyella, Mesanoplolepis and Tapinolepis. These are at {original description}; together with a note on Mesanoplolepis he added later (1930b - as to the subgenus having repletes but, unlike Zealleyella, not different morphs in terms of head shape. All but one of the Mesanoplolepis species are from eastern Africa, the odd one is from North Africa.

Bernard (1952) noted an unlabelled queen from Guinea (among the Mt. Nimba survey collection?), probably of the sub-genus Mesanoploplepis Santschi, of which queens were very poorly known. Bolton (1995) listed five species regarded as of this subgenus, all except Anoploplepis simulans (type location Tunisia) have type locations in southern Africa. Also it is only simulans of which the workers, males and queens are known. The South African species trimenii is known by workers and queens.


Provisional key to workers from all Africa (based primarily on historical sources)

1 {Anoplolepis tumidula}Petiole scale low and strongly inclined anteriorly; eyes forward of midpoint of head; segment 2 of funiculus much shorter than segment 3 Tapinolepis subgenus Tapinolepis - 2
-- {Anoplolepis macropthalma}Petiole scale only slightly inclined anteriorly; eyes behind midpoint of head; together segments 2 and 3 of funiculus longer than segment 1 Tapinolepis subgenus Mesanoplolepis - 3
-- Queen and male only known; dark brown - image of queen on species page
Kenya (Fundu Island) - bothae
2 Tapinolepis subgenus Tapinolepis -
2 Tapinolepis candidaTL 1.6-2.0 mm; head rectangular HL one-sixth > HW, narrowing behind, with slightly convex sides and almost straight occiput; eyes small and flat in anterior quarter of sides; scape just reaching occiput; petiole scale short, inclined and concealed by gaster; no erect hairs, pubescence fine and abundant but not concealing shiny reflective appearance of body; colour pale yellow, slightly rusty, appendages whitish-yellow South Africa - candida
-- {Anoploplepis tumidula}TL 2.5 mm; longer in size; head near rectangular with parallel sides; scape surpassing occiput by 1.5 to 2 times apical width .
. {Anoploplepis tumidula}. Eritrea - tumidula
Tapinolepis subgenus Mesanoplolepis -
5 TL 2.0-2.5 mm 6
-- TL > 2.5 mm 7
6 Tapinolepis decolorTL 1.7-2.5 mm; head subquadrate, angles rounded; scapes scarcely surpass occiput; colour flavo-testaceous, head darker, apex of gaster fuscous dull South Africa - decolor
-- Scapes surpass occiput by ca one-fifth of length 6A
6A Tapinolepis n sp Benin RVA 2949TL ca 2.4 mm, HW 0.5, HL 0.63, SL 0.58, PW 0.32; CI 81 SI 117; EL 0.19; propodeum shallowly domed with 135 angle; colour brownish-yellow but gaster with distinctive large pale areas on the dorsum, laterally dark brown
Senegal specimen slightly larger but otherwise very similar
Benin - n sp Benin RVA
-- Tapinolepis pernix TL 2.5 mm, without gaster 1.4 mm, HW 0.58, HL 0.67, SL 0.6, PW 0.32; EL 0.15; propodeum with 135 angle; colour uniform brownish-yellow Sudan - pernix
. TL > 2.5 mm -
7 Base colour yellow to yellow brown
8
-- base colour dark brown to near black
9
8 {Tapinolepis deceptor}Scapes surpass occiput by no more than one-fifth their own length; TL 2.7-3.2 mm; HL one-sixth > HW; ocelli distinct, reddish ochreous, petiole brownish ochreous, gaster first segment and anterior of second yellowish, remainder black Zimbabwe - deceptor
-- {Tapinolepis trimenii}TL 2.5-3.2 mm; NOTE replete TL 4.6-6.0 mm; head quadrate, occiput feebly convex; eyes large occupying one-third of sides, three very minute ocelli present; scapes scarcely surpass occiput; propodeum dorsum straight and short, declivity longer and very oblique; petiole scale in profile with very thin dorsal edge; overall dull due to microscopic reticulo-rugosity; clothed with fine whitish yellow pubescence; colour pale ochreous, funiculus darkening to apex, petiole scale, gastral apex and patch on all gaster segments brownish; alternate colouration all over yellowish brown South Africa - trimenii
9 Scapes surpass occiput by no more than one-tenth of length 10
-- Scapes surpassing occiput by more than one-tenth their own length 11
10 TL 3.0 mm; scapes surpass occiput by one-tenth of length; eyes occupy a quarter of sides of head; overall microscopic punctate rugulosity; pubescence whitish on head and alitrunk; colour dark brown or blackish brown, appendages largely ferruginous - no images
Zimbabwe - macgregori
-- Tapinolepis litoralisTL 3.3 mm; scapes surpassing occiput by no more than their apical width; propodeal dorsum twice as long as declivity; whole body dull, with microscopic pruinose pubescence, at some angles greyish; colour brownish-black, mandibles reddish-yellow, most of appendages brown with part ochreous Zimbabwe - litoralis
11 {Tapinolepis simulans}TL 2.4-2.6 mm; head rectangular HL slightly > HW, occiput weakly concave, angles strongly rounded; eyes one-third of sides of head; scapes surpass occiput by one-quarter of their own length; propodeal dorsum weakly convex, declivity slightly concave; petiole scale short very inclined partly covered by gaster; shiny, finely reticulo-punctate, sides of head very shiny; colour black or black-brown, appendages mostly testaceous
. {Tapinolepis simulans} North African - simulans
-- TL > 2.7 mm 12
12 Tapinolepis mediterranea majorTL 2.7-3.0 mm; mandibles with 4-7 teeth, densely striate, clypeus strongly transverse, anterior margin rounded; scape without erect hairs quite long; propodeum dorsum horizontal, declivity oblique fairly short, petiole squamous erect anterior more convex than posterior; dull appearance, head subtly and finely coriaceous-rugulous, alitrunk similar, gaster more finely sculptured; colour fuscous brown-black, mandibles ochraeous, tibia and tarsi pale-yellow .
. Tapinolepis mediterranea minorThe specimens from Sudan show distinct dimorphism Egypt, Sudan and Kenya - mediterranea
-- Petiole scale very thin apically in lateral view 13
13 {Anoplolepis macrophthalma}TL 3.2 mm; frontal carinae very divergent, scape surpassing occiput by less than one-quarter of own length; propodeal dorsum convex, declivity flat; petiole scale squamiform, dorsal edge flat; colour black, appendages pale ochreous but apex of funiculus brownish .
. {Anoplolepis macrophthalma} Zimbabwe - macrophthalma
-- Tapinolepis melanariaTL 2.8-3.1 mm; NOTE has replete form, TL 4.5 mm; scapes surpass occiput by one-fourth of their length, so as to reach middle of pronotum ; HL one-sixth > HW, eyes occupying nearly one-third of side of head; petiole scale very thin apically in lateral view; whole body near glabrous and shiny; propodeal dorsum same length as declivity; colour black; appendages ochraeous Zimbabwe - melanaria
Contents Subfamily Formicinae
2007, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

href="tapinolepis.htm"