The Ants of Africa
Genus Tetramorium
Tetramorium sericeiventre Emery

Tetramorium sericeiventre Emery

return to group key return to listIran list {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Eritrea (Emery, 1877b: 370, worker; not from Ethiopia as in Bolton, 1987) collected at Sciotel by O Beccari
Junior synonyms (most synonymy by Bolton, 1980: 332):
arenarium (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. arenarium n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 126, worker; Santschi, 1937g: 82, male) from Tunisia - see
bipartita (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. bipartita n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 126, worker) from Kenya - see
blochmannii (Forel, 1887: 384, worker; Forel, 1910f: 19, queen & male) from Madagascar
cinnamomeum (Tetramorium sericeiventre Emery v. cinnamomeum n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 124, worker, description in key; Arnold, 1926: 249, worker) from Mozambique - see
continentis (Tetramorium Blochmanni Forel. subsp. continentis n. subsp., Forel, 1910e: 426, worker; Forel, 1913b: 319, queen; Arnold, 1917: 279, male; synonymy with T. sericeiventre by Santschi, 1918b: 125) from South Africa, Natal - see
debile (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. debile n. var., Forel, 1894b: 80, worker) from Ethiopia, Ilg - see
femoratum (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. sous-esp. femoratum n. subsp., Emery, 1895h: 37, worker) from South Africa, Makapan - see
gamaii (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. Gamaii n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 128, worker) from Zimbabwe, Gwari, Arnold, 1912 - see
hori (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. Hori n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 125, worker) from Sudan, Khartoum, Karawayew - see
hortensis (Atopula hortensis, Bernard, 1948: 173, illustrated; all forms; synonymy by Bolton, 1976: 363) from Libya
jasonis (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. Jasonis n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 127, worker & queen; also from Dimbroko, by Le Moult, in Wheeler, 1922) from Ivory Coast, Jacqueville, by Lohier - see
munda (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. munda n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 127) from Guinea, Kakoulima, F. Silvestri - see
neuvillei (Tetramorium Neuvillei n. sp., Forel, 1907c: 135, worker) from Ethiopia, Diré Daoua - see
nigriventre (Tetramorium blochmanni For. v. nigriventre n. v., Stitz, 1910: 144, worker; but type location, as a variety of blochmanni, given as Togo, at Misahöhe by Smend, in Stitz, 1910, and Wheeler, 1922) from Cameroun
vascoi (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. var. Vascoi n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 128, worker & queen) from Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, G Arnold - see
vividum (Tetramorium sericeiventre Emery v. vividum n. var., Santschi, 1926b: 242, worker) from Mozambique, Inahngovu, G Arnold, - see
Unavailable names:
colluta (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. femoratum Em., v. colluta n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 129, worker) from South Africa - see
defricta (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. inversa Sants., v. defricta n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 129, worker) from Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, coll. G Arnold - see
evidens (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. inversum Sants., v. evidens n. var., Santschi, 1928f: 206, worker) from Zaïre, Kondué, E Luja - see
georgei (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. continentis For., v. Georgei n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 131, all forms) from Zimbabwe - queen, see
gladiator (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. continentis For., v. evidens n. var., Santschi, 1928f: 206, worker) from Zimbabwe, Cloudland, 6000 feet asl, Yambu Monts - see
kenyense (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. femoratum Em., v. kenyenses n. var., Santschi, 1933b: 106, worker & queen) from Kenya, Kiambou, R H Le Pelley - see
platonis (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. continentis For., v. Platonis n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 130, worker) from Botswana, Wroughton - see
transversa (Tetramorium sericeiventre Em. stirps. femoratum Em., v. transversa n. var., Santschi, 1918b: 128) from South Africa - see
all forms described (see Bolton, 1995) .

{Tetramorium sericeiventre}Emery's (1877b) description is at {original description}. Arnold (1917: 294) gave a translation, with femoratum; this is at {original description}. Forel's (1884) description of blochmannii is at {original description}. Forel's (1894b) description of debile is at {original description}. Emery's (1895h) description of femoratum is at {original description}. Forel's (1907c) description of neuvillei is at {original description}. Forel's (1910e) description of continentis is at {original description}. Stitz's (1910) description of nigriventre is at {original description}. Arnold's (1917) translation of continentis is at {original description} Santschi's (1918b) description of varieties are at {original description}, {original description}, {original description} and {original description}; in his key cinnamoneum was among those with dense sculpturation but concolorous and reddish, TL 3.3-3.5 mm. Arnold (1926) gave translations of several varieties (including most of the Santschi, 1918b, descriptions), these are at {original description}, {original description} and {original description}. Santschi's (1926b) description of vividum is at 17. Santschi's (1928f) descriptions of evidens and gladiator are at 18. Santschi's (1933b) description of kenyensis is at 19. Santschi's (1937g) description of the arenarium male is at 20.

{Tetramorium sericeiventre} Bolton's modern description (1980) is at 21 and 22 - TL 3.3-4.4 mm, in Bolton (1980: 332), illustrated, head, clypeus and mandibles, alitrunk and pedicel profile, pedicel dorsum.

Santschi (1910c) noted inversa as being larger, TL 3.5-4 mm, and more robust than the type, with heavier sculpturation but a less silky appearance to the gaster. Bernard's (1948) description of "Atopula hortensis" is at {original description} This also contains ecological and biological observations.

{Tetramorium sericeiventre from Nigeria} Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1980a: 51). WORKER. TL 3.92 mm, HL 0.93, HW 0.78, SL 0.90, PW 0.59
Head, alitrunk and pedicel densely and finely punctate with overlying rugoreticulation; rugae longitudinal especially on the head and dorsal alitrunk. Gaster with extremely fine puncturation. Erect hairs stout, sparse and moderately long. Propodeal spines relatively long, narrow and triangular, pointing slightly upwards. Petiole node with a sloping anterior face merging through a rounded obtuse angle into the dorsum with a slightly convex profile; posterior face near vertical. Colour orange-brown, except the gaster which is very dark near black.

{short description of image} Basically a savannah species but found nesting in insolated ground in the forest zone. Found foraging below the soil surface. Bolton (1980) lists numerous West African findings.

In Nigeria, including the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre (B. Bolton; B. Taylor), IITA (B. R. Critchley), Ibadan and Nsukka (W.H. Gotwald & R. Schaefer), Mokwa (C. Longhurst), Ile-Ife and Gusau (J.T. Medler), Bauchi (Walker). Wheeler (1922) had nigriventre from Ibadan (F. Silvestri), plus the type form from Old Calabar (Bates, in Forel, 1911) and Ibadan (F. Silvestri).

In Ghana, Room (1971) found it in leaf litter under cocoa and on open ground at the Mampong Cemetery site. That was listed by Bolton (1980), plus many other findings - Asesewa and CRIG (B. Bolton), Dahwhenya (C. A. Collingwood), Krobo (A.H. Strickland), Besuso, Larteh and Legon (D. Leston).

Lévieux & Diomande (1978) in their description of the activity of Pachycondyla sennaarensis at Ferkéssédougou, Ivory Coast, mentioned that Tetramorium sericeiventre was an active predator on other ants, and that twice they had seen it transporting Pachycondyla sennaarensis workers to its nest.

Other West African records are Liberia, at Harbel (W.M. Mann); Senegal, near Dakar (W.L. Brown); Ivory Coast, at ORSTOM (W.L. Brown); and Cameroun, at Nkolbisson (no details). Wheeler (1922) had the type form and nigriventre also from Guinea (Conakry and Kakoulima, F. Silvestri); plus the type form from Sierra Leone; and arenarium from Senegal (at Fello, by Claveau). The nests of continentis in Zaïre were described as "small nests in sand" some 50 cm deep with crater-like entrances, the crater rims being entirely of sand particles, with no food debris; the ants were busy even in a fairly bright midday sun (see illustration left and "click").

{Tetramorium sericeiventre holotype}The photomontage of the holotype from Eritrea is collated from

Oxford University Museum specimens

{Tetramorium sericeiventre type form} The photomontage is of a worker from Gabon, Pongara National Park, Pointe Ngombé; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 19).
This is close in general configuration and colour to the type form. The head width is not much less than the head length. The overall sculpturation on the head, alitrunk and pedicel is distinct but weak. The mandibles are only weakly sculptured, appearing almost smooth from some angles. The gaster is relatively pale and more brown than black.

{Tetramorium sericeiventre} The photomontage is of a worker collected in Cameroun - 30 km east of Poli (ca °29' N 13°29' E) at a Sudan-Guinea savannah location (McKey Wolbachia project - Cameroon 126).

A single specimen in a sample of numerous Monomorium bicolor - a species with a very similar colouration. This seems a match for the variety nigriventre, as described from Cameroun by Stitz (1910), i.e. more brightly coloured and more coarsely sculptured than the type form.

{Tetramorium sericeiventre}Photomontage of a worker from South Sudan, Adock; collector Awatif Omer (Sudan 14-1).

This seems close to the description given by Santschi (1918b) for n. var hori, from Khartoum; with the rugulose petiole and dark colour. The characters also match those given by Bernard (1948) for "Atopula hortensis", particularly distinct are the sparse stouter erect hairs and the relatively slender overall shape; with noticeably longer legs (the hindfemur is as long as the alitrunk dorsum) and longer propodeal spines. Given more specimens, I suspect that hori could be argued as a clearly distinct species, junior synonym hortensis; being a species distributed across the Sahara or Sahel. 

{Tetramorium sericeiventre}Photomontage of a worker from Ghana, collected by S Sky Stephens, 2006. 

{Tetramorium sericeiventre} Bernard (1952) described it as a common African insect, from the Tunisian steppes to Transvaal, with at least 8 races and 30 varieties. In Guinea, several workers collected from Mt. Nimba - from Kéoulenta savanna, and Mount Tô Ravine I - differed from known forms by their darker red-brown colour, stronger reticulation (masking the longitudinal striation) and a head vertex which was more deeply impressed. He felt that it may have represented a simple summation of montane development, as a queen taken at Nimba more clearly matched the type form.

{Tetramorium sericeiventre hortensis}The photomontage here is of a slender form from Gabon, Pongara National Park;  collectors L Volait & L V Guieu (Gabon 17); that seems a close match to Bernard's (1948) illustration of hortensis.

© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2017 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
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