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SUBFAMILY FORMICINAE - Genus Cataglyphis Cataglyphis desertorum (Forel)

Cataglyphis desertorum (Forel)

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Ethiopia (Myrmecocystus desertorum, Forel, 1894c: 402, worker; Karavaiev, 1912a: 17, male; raised to species Collingwood, 1985: 286. illustrated, worker; revised status Agosti, 1990a: 1491), collector Ilg, from Harar (type location wrongly given by Bolton, 1995: 135 as "Spain") - no images on Antweb (January 2019) .

{Cataglyphis desertorum}Forel's (1894c) description of desertorum is at {original description}. Emery (1898c) gave notes on desertorum, these are at {original description}. The specimens he examined appear to have been collected from Cairo, Egypt, by Professor J Sahlberg.

As is surprisingly clear from Forel (1894c), the true type location of desertorum was Ethiopia and neither "Spain" nor "Tunisia". Santschi (1929b) gave the following, illustrated description - {original description}. Forel noted it as having relatively short legs and being very dark red in colour. Note: Cagniant (2009: 51) opined that this is not a valid species, examples he had from Hassi Messaoud, Algerian Sahara, matched the Forel types and, he felt, were Cataglyphis savignyi.

The photomontages below are of specimens from Tunisia and Sudan

These specimens appear to be a good match for those described and illustrated by Santschi (1929b) as desertorum; with the domed petiole being very noticeable. The strong setae on the hind tibiae with thick black pubescence (if that is what it is) are a confusing feature not obvious from the poor descriptions of Forel, Emery, or even Santschi.

{Cataglyphis desertorum}As noted above, there are no images of the Forel type on Antweb (July 2014). This photomontage of a worker identified by Santschi is collated from
A worker labelled savignyi but matching desertorum can be seen at

{Cataglyphis desertorum}Major worker from Tunisia, Tozeur, collector T Lackner; sent to me by Peter Hlavac.

The location is south of the main area of ecology studies by Wehner, Wehner & Agosti (1994) but their distribution map (Fig. 11) has Cataglyphis fortis in that area. Earlier, Wehner (1983) had commented that the only Cataglyphis found in the salty plains is C. fortis.

{Cataglyphis desertorum minor}Minor worker from Tunisia

{Cataglyphis desertorum}

The photomontage is of a worker from Sudan, Dongola; 19°26'08.51" N 30°28'38.00" E; 1.1.2008; collector Zuheir Mahmoud (Sudan 60).

{Cataglyphis viaticus desertorum}mage} The status appears to have been confused by Collingwood (1985: 286) who noted - "This is the dullest coloured of the reddish species allied to C. bicolor (Fabricius). The head and alitrunk are often brownish rather than red. The node is less massive than C. niger (André) and has the anterodorsal face forming a flattened curve rather than an evenly rounded dome".

Later, Collingwood & Agosti (1996: 383) wrote

"Cataglyphis sp.
Cataglyphis desertorum. - Collingwood 1985: Fauna of Saudi Arabia 7: 286 [misidentification].
This is the commonest Cataglyphis species throughout Arabia and there are many collections from the southern Sinai Peninsula to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. However, no nest series is known, and only single workers were collected. in COLLINGWOOD (1985), this species appeared under the name C. desertorum Forel, 1894, but Forel's species, described from southern Tunisia, is probably a synonym of C. savignyi (Agosti & Collingwood, in prep.). For this reason, a formal description will be given later."
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