Tetraponera lepida Wheeler stat. nov.
Type location Congo (Tetraponera
mocquerysi variety lepida, Wheeler, 1922: 106, worker &
queen) collected at Faradje, by Lang & Chapin
worker & queen
only described .
Wheeler's (1922) description,
as a variety of Tetraponera mocquerysi,
"WORKER - Length 6.5-7.0 mm. Differing from the typical form of the
species in color, the thorax, petiole, gaster and coxae being very dark
or black; the head, mandibles, antennae, legs, anterior and posterior
ends and the ventral surface of the petiole brownish yellow. Vertex
with a large, transversely elliptical black spot reaching on each side
nearly to the orbit. In one specimen the posterior portion of the
pronotum is red. Shape of head and thorax, sculpture and pilosity of
the body very much as in the typical form.
FEMALE - Length 6.5 mm. Very similar to worker.
Posterior borders of gastric segments brownish. Wings grayish hyaline,
with pale brown veins and dark brown pterostigma.
Described from two workers from Faradje (type locality)
and one from Yakubu and a single female from Garamba (Lang and Chapin)."
The photograph of the type held in the MCZ, Harvard,
shows the head is quite different from that of Tetraponera
(which is near rectangular). Apart from the larger size, however, the
specimen I drew from CRIN, Nigeria, seems identical in shape and
colouration. The fresh specimen from Congo (below) confirms the
Photographs of a further cotype are on The Smithsonian
Institute website at http://ripley.si.edu/ent/nmnhtypedb/public/namelisttemplates/longoutput-namelist.cfm?publicconsumption=1&typeid=371
Ward (1990: 488) gave the "current nominal combination"
as Tetraponera mocquerysi lepida, with the annnotation that he
had examined a specimen (presumably from the Wheeler collection).
It seems quite possible that this species is synonymous
triangularis, or at least the
variety illota, which was
described from a collection at Olokomeji, Nigeria, very close to CRIN,
as with my specimens (below). What I take as the type form T. triangularis
is larger overall, with three distinct ocelli, a more rectangular head
in full face view, and, a denser covering of fine pubescence on the
pedicel and gaster.
Tetraponera species Nigeria
specimens (Tetraponera species, Taylor, 1976: 39). WORKER. TL
9.31 mm, HL 1.71, HW 1.40, SL 0.84, PW 1.12
Colour dark red-brown to black, orange extremities. Shiny but with fine
pubescence all over and abundant erect hairs. Margination between
dorsal and lateral alitrunk distinct with slight concavity of lateral
surfaces. Eye length 0.78 mm (0.45 of HL). Two ocelli.
Moderately common on shrubs and bushes at the Cocoa Research Institute
of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre, but not often on cocoa.