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SUBFAMILY FORMICINAE - Genus Paratrechina - Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille)

Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille)

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 Type location Senegal (Formica longicornis, Latreille, 1802c: 113, worker; Formica vagans, Jerdon, 1851: 124, queen, "exceedingly common in the Carnatic"; André, 1881b: 60, male (from among Egypt, Syria and Palestine); Prenolepis longicornis Roger, 1863b: 10) - no type images (March 2019)
junior synonyms
currens (Paratrechina currens, Motschoulsky, 1863: 14, worker; synonymy Emery, 1892b: 166) from Russia (wrongly stated as Sri Lanka by Bolton, 1995: 313) found in hothouses for plants - no images on Antweb (March 2019)
gracilescens (Formica gracilescens, n. sp., Nylander, 1856a: xxviii, worker; Tapinoma gracilescens Smith, 1858: 56; synonymy Roger, 1863b: 10, & Mayr, 1865: 50, as Prenolepis gracilescens) from France, in the Jardin-des-Plantes, Paris - no images on Antweb (March 2019)
vagans (Formica Vagans N. S., Jerdon, 1851: 124, worker & queen; unresolved junior primary homonym of Formica vagans, Olivier, 1792: 501) from India - no images on Antweb (March 2019)
all forms described (see Bolton, 1995) .

{Paratrechina longicornis}Latreille's (1802c) description is at {original description}; Jerdon's (1851) description of the queen is at {original description}; Nylander's (1856a) description of gracilescens is at {original description}; Nylander's (1856b) illustrated note is at {original description}; Motschoulsky's (1863) note on currens is at {original description}; André's (1881b) description of the male is at {original description}; Forel's (1901h: 605) description of hagemanni is at {original description}; Emery's (1910a) further description of specimens from Egypt, with illustrations, is at {original description}; Arnold (1922: 605) referring to specimens from Durban, South Africa, provided a translation of Latreille's (1802c) description; this with notes is at {original description} and, sexual stages, at {original description}. The line drawing is from Smith, 1947.

Roger (1863b: 10) gave the distribution of Prenolepis longicornis Latr., as Paris;  England, Kew; Madeira; Senegal; Guinea; Asien, Ceilon. Amerika, Chili, Kuba, Mejico.

Motschoulsky's (1863: 13) note on currens follows his description of the genus Paratrechina and the species P. vagabunda from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He wrote no more than - "a second species a little smaller, more slender and of a paler colour on the alitrunk and legs is not uncommon in our hothouses on plants and I have named it Paratr. currens". The hothouses were in Russia (probably Moscow, where Motschoulsky lived). P. vagabunda he had given as TL 2.54 mm (1 line = 2.117 mm), HW 0.53 mm, subelongate, dark erect hairs, piceous, legs femora and tarsi testaceous white.

By comparison Nylander's (1856a: xxviii; and 1856b: 73) description of gracilescens, from hothouses in Paris, gave TL 3 mm. He compared it with Paratrechina vividula (Formica vividula) as noticeably different by its darker colour, the antennae more elongated, more slender and the scape without hairs, and lastly by the elongated alitrunk "uni en dessus", united above, presumably with an even shape, not waisted at the mesonotum as in the Tapinoma nitens of Forster and Mayr, 1853 (now Prenolepis nitens and outside the sciope of this website, but see

Thus, it seems to me the synonymy of currens and longicornis by Emery (1892b: 166) was a mistake. Emery, in fact, noted the P. currens observed by that author (Motschoulsky) in the hot houses of Europe seemed to = P. longicornis Latr. Note Emery wrote “mi pare” and not as he did for another species, “senza alcun dubbbio, identica” (without any doubt). The paler smaller species found in northern hothouses was most likely to have been Paratrechina vividula, described by Nylander (1846a) from hothouses in Helsinki and in Russia (which at that time included modern Finland).

Note that the range of specimens that can be seen in the folders linked from the list of Oxford University Museum specimens varies from quite pale brown to near black with a violet irridescence.

Egypt records - André (1881b: 60, male; 1882b: 203; plate X); Alfieri (1931) listed 13 findings from Cairo and the Provinces of Dakahlieh, Fayoum and Assiout. Photographed specimens from Nagh Shadeed, Aswan, E 32°53' N 24°05'; 8.iii.2003; others from Shrinkash, Mansurah, E 31°35' N 31°10'; 13.v.2003; collected by Mostafa Sharaf.

Sharaf list - Material examined: Shrinkash (Daqahliya, Egypt), 13.v.2003 (19); Talkha (El-Mansoura), 31.vii.2003 (1); Ismailia, 31.xii.1997 (20); Nagh El-Shadeed (Aswan), 8.iii.2003 (1); Damietta, 20.viii.2003 (8); Alag (Qalyubiya), 27.ii.2003 (2); Port Said, 13.xii.1997 (5) (SHC).

Oxford University Museum specimens

Paratrechina longicornis
B Taylor det.
M Sharaf
24°05' N
32°53' E
Nagh Shadeed 3
Paratrechina longicornis
B Taylor det.
M Sharaf
31°10' N
31°35' E

{Paratrechina longicornis}The photomontage is of a worker from Egypt, Aswan, Nagh Shadeed; collector Mostafa Sharaf.

{Paratrechina longicornis}The photomontage is of a worker from Chad, N'Djamena; 12°07'12" N 15°01'25" W; 307 m asl; King 36; collected by David King, 12.ix.2006.

{Paratrechina longicornis} The photomontage is of workers from The Maldives, North Malé Atoll, Ihuru Island, 4°18'36"N 73°25'26"E, 2008, collected by Marco Aita. Collected foraging on the ground.

{Paratrechina longicornis queen} The photomontage is of a queen from Iran, collected by Omid Paknia (ZMGU601).

©2005, 2006, 2015, 2019 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.