The Ants of Africa
Genus Tetramorium
Tetramorium aculeatum (Mayr)

Tetramorium aculeatum (Mayr)

return to group key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Ghana (Macromischa aculeata, Mayr, 1866a: 507, worker; André, 1889: 224, queen; Mayr, 1902: 292, male) - see below
junior synonyms
andricum (Tetramorium aculeatum Mayr subsp. andricum n., Emery, 1908b: 187, all forms) from Zaïre, collected at Kisangani [Stanleyville] by H. Kohl - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?name=casent0904857
major (Tetramorium aculeatum Mayr v. major n. var., Forel, 1915c: 344, worker) from Zaïre, collected at St. Gabriel, by Kohl - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0909119
militaris (Macromischoides aculeatus Mayr stirps militaris n. st., Santschi, 1924b: 209, illustrated, worker) from Zaïre, collected at Basongo by H. Schouteden - http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0913979
pulchellus (Macromischoides aculeatus Mayr var. pulchellus n. var., Santschi, 1924b: 208, illustrated, worker) from Zaïre - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=rmcaent000017782
rubroflava (Tetramorium aculeatum Mayr v. rubroflava n. var., Forel, 1916: 420, worker) from Zaïre, collected at St. Gabriel, by Kohl - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0904859
wasmanni (Macromischa wasmanni n. sp, Forel, 1901d: 300, worker; Mayr, 1902: 292, queen & male) from Zaïre, Kinshasa [Leopoldville], collected by Wasmann - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?name=casent0904858
inermis (Bernard, 1952: 249, worker) from Guinea, Mt. Nimba, at G'ba, by Lamotte - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0915426
melanogyne (Santschi, 1923e: 285, worker & queen) from Congo, Brazzaville, by A. Weiss - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0913978
viridis (Macromischoides viridis spec. nov., Weber, 1943c: 367, illustrated, all forms) from Sudan
zumpti (Macromischoides sp. zumpti n. sp., Santschi, 1937b: 101, illustrated, worker) from Cameroun, Kumba, by F. Zumpt, 12-16.x.1935 - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0913981
unavailable names
abdominalis (Macromischoides aculeatus Mayr stirps wasmanni v. abdominalis n. var., Santschi, 1924b: 209, illustrated, worker) from Zaïre, collected at Kasai, Kondué, by E. Luja - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0913982
gladiator (Tetramorium aculeatum Mayr st. andricum var. gladiator n. var., Santschi, 1919c: 248) from Zaïre, Congo da Lemba by R. Mayné- http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=rmcaent000017783
Unpublished name donisthorpei by Santschi - see http://www.antweb.org/specimenImages.do?code=casent0913983
all forms known (see Bolton, 1995) .


{Tetramorium aculeatum andricum}Mayr's (1866a) description is at {original description}. André's (1889) description of the queen is at {original description}. Forel's (1901d) description of wasmanni is at {original description}. Mayr's (1902) notes are at {original description}. Emery's (1908b) description of andricum, together with his thinking on the species being a Tetramorium is at {original description}. Santschi (1910c: 385) had notes, these are at {original description}. Forel's (1915c) description of major is at {original description}. Forel (1916) has further notes and a description of rubroflava at {original description}. Santschi's (1919c) description of gladiator is at {original description}. Santschi's (1923e) description of melanogyne is at {original description}. Santschi's (1924b) descriptions of pulchellus, abdominalis and militaris, plus an illustrated comparison of the propodeum and pedicel forms, and a key to the varieties, is at {original description}.

{Tetramorium aculeatum}Santschi's (1937b) description of zumpti is at {original description}. Weber's (1943c) description of viridis is at {original description}. Bolton's modern description (1980: 353, illustration only of alitrunk variability and pedicel) is at {original description}.

Sexuals


{Tetramorium aculeatum} Nigeria specimens (as Macromischoides aculeatus, Taylor, 1979: 59). WORKER. Size variable but TL around 4.00-4.40 mm. Larger specimens HL 0.93, HW 0.84, SL 1.17, PW 0.58
Colour dark brown but somewhat variable. Sculpturation primarily of rather sinuous longitudinal rugae on the head, alitrunk and, more faintly, the pedicel. Abundant erect hairs all over. Mandible denticles moderately developed. Clypeus near flat, smooth and the margin entire. Head with a nearly perfect oval shape in full face view; short frontal carinae, no antennal scrobes. Petiole with a long, narrow, anterior peduncle. Bolton (1980) described it as a very variable species, that being the source of the large number of subspecies, strains and varieties which previously had been described. Thus, the variant described and illustrated below has to be regarded as aculeatum.


{Tetramorium aculeatum variant}

Tetramorium aculeatum (Mayr), colour variant

Nigeria specimens (as Macromischoides species T¹, Taylor, 1979: 61). WORKER. TL 5.29 mm, HL 0.96, HW 1.12, SL 1.28, PW 0.78
Colour very dark red-brown. Sculpturation rugoreticulate, rugae dominant, on head and alitrunk, longitudinal except on dorsal pronotum, where transversely arcuate, and oblique on the lateral mesonotum. Abundant rather coarse long hairs all over. Mandibles with denticles much reduced except the apical pair. Clypeus with spiculate central area and anteriorly marginate. Frontal carinae of head short and no antennal scrobes. Metanotal groove impressed; propodeum with a pronounced anterior dorsal carina; propodeal spines noticeably curved upwards but relatively short when compared to the common T. aculeatum.
In Nigeria, I collected a single specimen from a vine on a shade tree in a cocoa plot, Onipe 1/1, Plot C, at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre. It is very distinctive in appearance and is larger than the queen of the common T. aculeatum, which was found on neighbouring cocoa trees. Thus, despite Bolton's determination of it as aculeatum (personal communication, 1976), it seems to merit the separate treatment and the drawing. In general the features all fit those described for the larger specimens by Bolton (1980). An alternative is that it was a specimen of Tetramorium rimytyum or that rimytyum merits no better status than that of a variety of aculeatum. Also near the variety major in size and form, but not colour.

See - Comparison of described varieties


{Tetramorium aculeatum}The photomontage of a syntype worker is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0919643.


Oxford University Museum specimens

Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Cameroun
A Fotso Kuate
Tetramorium aculeatum
9.v.2007
Awae II
03°54'30" N
11°25'58"
Quadrat in fallow
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Cameroun
A Fotso Kuate
Sample 47
3.ix.2008
Nkolbisson
03°54'30" N
11°25'58"

2
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Rep. of Congo
E Vingerhoedt
ex Y Braet
xi.2009
Owando
0°28'" S
15°52' E

2
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
NP

06.vi.1998
Dzanga-Sangha
02°53’ N
16°15’ E
Bayanga-Lidjomba
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
EU-02

06.ii.2005
Dzanga-Sangha
02°50’01.8" N
16°08’13.7" E
Camp 3; 17h-18h,
Fauchage et à vu dans petite saline à proximité du camp; 537m asl
2

Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
GP
09.x.2008
Dzanga-Sangha
03°07'06.4" N
16°07'59.2" E
373 m; Camp de transit 1; 18h30-3h; Bord fleuve Sangha
1

Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
HS

10.x.2008
Dzanga-Sangha
03°06'14.6" N
16°08'52.1" E
493 m; Camp de transit 2; 18h30-3h;
Au dessus d'une chute d'eau (ruisseau Songo 1) à proximité du camp
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Male
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
IB
13.x.2008
Dzanga-Sangha
03°03'58.3" N
16°08'59.6" E
528 m; Camp 1; 17h30-3h;
A la base de l'Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon, Sterculiaceae) à 50 m du Camp
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
IC
13.x.2008
Dzanga-Sangha
03°03'58.3" N
16°08'59.6" E
528 m; Camp 1; 17h30-3h;
A 20 m de l'Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon, Sterculiaceae) dans la forêt
1

Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Male
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
IN
13.x.2008
Dzanga-Sangha
03°03'58.3" N
16°08'59.6" E
528 m; Camp 1; 21h10-3h
Sur plate-forme à 54 m du sol dans un Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon, Sterculiaceae) à 50 m du camp
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
IU
13.x.2008
Dzanga-Sangha
03°03'58.3" N
16°08'59.6" E
528 m; Camp 1; 18h-7h;
A la base de l'Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon, Sterculiaceae) à 50 m du Camp
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
Di-03

20.i.2005
Dzanga-Sangha
03°55’13.2" N
16°36’46.1" E
U.V : 2h-6h, après Sefka (entre Bambio et croisement Nola/Berberati),
dans layon forestier; from on a reduviid bug;
collected in forest, 1st hour of the morning; 536m asl
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Male
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
Di-03
20.i.2005
Dzanga-Sangha
03°55’13.2" N
16°36’46.1" E
U.V : 2h-6h, après Sefka (entre Bambio et croisement Nola/Berberati),
dans layon forestier; from on a reduviid bug;
collected in forest, 1st hour of the morning; 536m asl
1

Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
EE 06

31.i.2005
Dzanga-Sangha
02°49’07.9" N
16°09’28.3" E
377m; Camp 2;
prélèvements à 35-40m du sol dans un Azobé (Lophira alata, Ochnaceae), 11h-17h
2
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
LS

15.xi.2010
Dzanga-Sangha
2°27'11.6"N
16°04'58.7"E
343 m; jour, à vue derrière le village, Molongo, strate arbustive (Casside land)


1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Queen
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
MI
19.xi.2010
Dzanga-Sangha
2°28'45.9"N
16°13'15.0"E
396 m; nuit, à vue, au camp de transit 2 (près lac 1)
1
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
MP1

20.xi.2010
Dzanga-Sangha
2°28'54.1"N
16°13'38.2"E
395 m; nuit, équipe 1, UV : 20h-4h, bord lac 2
2
{album}
Tetramorium aculeatum
B Taylor det.
Male
Central African Republic
P Annoyer
OT1

29.xi.2010
Dzanga-Sangha
2°28'08.6"N
16°13°32.1"E
385 m; nuit, équipe 1, UV : 18h30-6h, petite clairière dans forêt à 20 m du bord du lac 5
"AA1"

2
{album}

{Tetramorium aculeatum}The photomontage is of a worker from the Central African Republic, Dzanga-Sangha NP; site EE; collector Philippe Annoyer (CAR Camp 2).


{Tetramorium aculeatum}The photomontage is of a worker from Cameroun; Awae II; collector A Fotso Kuate (fk tetramorium aculeatum).


Forel (1909d), reporting specimens from Sankuru, Zaïre, collected by Luja, noted that his variety wasmanni was a small form with very short propodeal spines, including on the female. Later (1915c) he described the variety major - TL 4.2-4.8; black; appendages and mandibles brown; gaster and pedicel of petiole red-brown; otherwise as type but simply much larger; from St. Gabriel, Zaïre, by Kohl, constructing larger more solid nests than wasmanni.

Common throughout West Africa. Wheeler (1922) listed findings from Guinea (Los Islands, H. Brauns), Sierra Leone (Mocquerys), Cameroun (Sjöstedt; Abo by R. Buchholz; Victoria, F. Silvestri; Ekona, by Hintz) and many Congo locations.


{Tetramorium aculeatum nest}A very widely distributed, major dominant of closed canopy cocoa, on up to 15% of trees in Nigeria (Booker, 1968; Taylor, 1977; Taylor & Adedoyin, 1978), and other tree crops with suitable, large softish leaves on the underside of which, or between which, the ants build their well-known 'felt' nests (right, clickable image). Tends Homoptera, including the report by Adenuga & Adeboyeku (1987) of it attending Pseudococcus hargreavesi. Also found on native shrubs and trees, and on cashew, coffee and kola.

Its biology in Ghana was described by Strickland (1951a, as M. aculeatus), who noted a negative association with mealybugs and their attendant ant species. Leston (1973) also regarded it as a dominant, writing that it needs areas of good dense canopy cocoa or cocoa under fairly heavy top shade. Later it was collected from cocoa canopy and herbs under cocoa by Room (1971) at the Mampong Cemetery farm, plus 19 collections from the 168 samples of insolated cocoa canopy. He described it as a potentially common dominant which rarely holds a large territory, and established a negative association with Oecophylla longinoda. Majer (1972) (also as M. aculeatus) found it to be a clear dominant on cocoa at Kade; he later described finding it in 70% of his 144 pkd samples at Kade, with around 1500 workers per sample (Majer 1975, 1976a, b, c). Also from cocoa mistletoe (Room, 1975). Bigger (1981a) recorded as one of the three most common species on a block of Amelonado cocoa at CRIG, occupying areas inhabited also by Crematogaster clariventris and avoiding Oecophylla longinoda. At that stage Bigger referred to it as a sub-dominant, arguing that it was inadequately aggressive to counter the true dominants. Later, he seems to accept it as a true dominant (Bigger, 1993b) and Campbell (1994) argues that it dominates cocoa lacking in Homoptera. On a wider scale, it was found on leaf litter, as a 'tourist', at Kade, under cocoa, and the Atewa Forest Reserve, under primary and secondary forest, by Belshaw & Bolton (1994b). Strickland (1951a) also described it being found nesting on kola, plantain and several forest trees, adding that it did not appear to have any marked host preferences.

Bernard (1952) reporting the Mt. Nimba survey work in Guinea, noted that curiously few specimens were collected by Lamotte. The new subspecies "inermis" was based on 6 workers found on a path at G'ba; the specimens being close to the race andricum, a small form known from Congo and Uganda, but the Nimba specimens had the propodeal spines (normally long) reduced to short teeth. In a footnote, Bernard added that workers had been sent to him by A. Balachowsky, from a "station lower in Guinea"; "very aggressive, the workers had a remarkable clavigerid Coleopteran in their nest".
[E.B. Britton, in Insects of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1972, Chapter 30, Coleoptera, has an illustration (p. 546) of such a beetle, noting "the CLAVIGERINAE (Coleoptera: Pselaphidae) are specialised for life in ants' nests, having highly modified antennae, reduced maxillary palps, and trichomes in the form of a hollow or hollows at the base of the abdomen surrounded by tufts of yellow hair".]
Bernard also reported the collection of two dealated queens of ssp "andricum" from station B 8-40, N'Zo and Mount Tô at 1600 m; and, a single yellowish male of "Macromischoides sp." from Zouépo (B6-100), this had a slimmer thorax, with brown spots and two obtuse epinotal teeth, he could not be certain if it was a male of inermis, as the male of andricum was very different.

Jackson (1984) found it as the dominant on 28-30% of cocoa trees in two study plots at Nko'emvon in Cameroun. She described how it was negatively associated with Crematogaster africana, Crematogaster gabonenis and Oecophylla longinoda but thought its habitat preference was for thinner canopy - thus differing from the situation in Ghana and Nigeria. The latter difference she ascribed to perhaps being a result of opportunity for colonisation and its relations with the other dominants.

In Liberia it was common on trees at lowland and upland areas (Carroll, 1979).

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