The Ants of Africa
Genus Tetraponera
Tetraponera unidens Santschi - new status

Tetraponera unidens Santschi - new status

return to key Type location Zaïre (Tetraponera ophthalmica Em. stirps unidens n.stirps, Santschi, 1928d: 60, illustrated, queen) Mongendé, 13.iv.1921, Dr H Schouteden - see below
junior synonym nasuta (Tetraponera nasuta, Bernard, 1952: 222, illustrated, queen; Terron, 1971: 74, all forms) from Guinea - see below .


{Tetraponera nasuta} {Tetraponera unidens queen}Santschi's (1928d) description of unidens is at {original description}.

New Status - from Santschi's description and illustration, together with the specimens from Cameroun, that I have identified and photographed, it seems highly likely that unidens is readily separable from Tetraponera ophthalmica and, so, merits the status of a full species. Moreover, it seems identical with the later described nasuta and so that must be reduced to the status of a junior synonym.

Ward (1990:489) gave the "current nominal combination" as Tetraponera nasuta Bernard (1952: 22; from Guinea); and Tetraponera ophthalmica unidens Santschi (1928: 60; from Zaïre); with the annnotation that he had examined specimens, as well as others of T. ophthalmica Emery (1912: 98; from Cameroun).


{Tetraponera unidens queen} The photomontage of the type queen is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0913721.


{Tetraponera nasuta}Tetraponera nasuta Bernard -
type location Guinea, Mt. Nimba, holotype dealated queen only, from Zouépo, forest, 1250 m, collector Lamotte; also from Cameroun (Terron, 1971: 74, who described all morphs).

QUEEN (nasuta) - TL 5.1, HL 1.3, HW 0.6 mm; entirely clear yellow-orange, except for thin brown bands on the posterior two-thirds of each gastral tergite; all of body shiny, finely shagreened. Hairs rare; but sparse, recumbent golden pubescence. Head cylindrical, narrowing in the posterior quarter - the most elongated of known Tetraponera; with a unique elongated anterior process on the clypeus, Eyes relatively enormous - 0.46 X 0.30 mm. Thorax also special in the form of the pronotum, which is waisted; most of thorax finely reticulated, without large puncturations or ridges. Petiole very slender, sculpted as the thorax. Gaster elongated and shiny. Anterior legs with slender femora and tibia dilated as other genus members (after Bernard, 1952).

Unique in having a major caste with unknown functions (Terron, 1971). Worker TL 4.1-4.7 mm; Soldier TL 4.6-4.9 mm; see - {short description of image}.


{Tetraponera unidens queen} The photomontage of the phragmotic soldier is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0091649, where it is labelled as Tetraponera ophthalmica. The answer to Terron's question as to the function of the major morph may be that it is a phragmotic form used to block nest entrances - as the head in lateral profile is flattened dorsally, to some extent ventrally and has an abrupt flattened anterior; there also are shallow scrobes into which the flattened scapes fit so that they are below the main plane of the face.


Oxford University Museum specimens

Tetraponera unidens
B Taylor det.
Cameroun
G Debout & A Dalecky
Cameroon 20

25.iii.2001
MAM
2°34.07' N
9°53.80' E
on Leonardoxa africana africana
1
{album}
Tetraponera unidens
B Taylor det.
Cameroun
G Debout & A Dalecky
Cameroon 17
25.iii.2001
MAM
2°34.07' N
9°53.80' E
on Leonardoxa africana africana
2

Tetraponera unidens
B Taylor det.
Queen
Gabon
Y Braet
Gabon 63

14.v-11.vi.2006
Pongara
00°34' N
09°19' E
South Point Wingombe, lagoon edge
1
{album}

{Tetraponera unidens major} The photomontages are of workers collected in Cameroun - south-western tropical coastal forest area between Edéa and Campo, Mamelles (McKey Wolbachia project Cameroon 20).

Major


{Tetraponera unidens minor}Minor


{Tetraponera unidens minor}The queen, as T. nasuta, illustrated by Terron (1971).


{Tetraponera unidens queen} The photomontage of the nasuta queen is collated from http://www.antweb.org/specimen.do?name=casent0913721.


{Tetraponera unidens queen} The photomontage is of a queen collected in Cameroun, as above.


{Tetraponera unidens queen} The photomontage is of a queen from Gabon, Pongara National Park; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 63).

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© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.

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