Contents Contents The Ants of Egypt
SUBFAMILY FORMICINAE - Genus Tapinolepis (Emery)

Note this page replaces the Anoplolepis page

Revised after Bolton (2003: 267) - separating Anoplolepis as previously understood into two separate genera Anoplolepis (in Tribe Lasiini; with Zealleyella as a junior synonym) and Tapinolepis (in Tribe Plagiolepidini; with Mesanoplolepis as a junior synonym).

Bolton's prime separation points are :-
Anoplolepis - mandible with 6-9 teeth, when closed not concealed by clypeus; dorsum of head behind clypeus with erect stout setae; eye behind mid-length of head, and anterior arc of torus around eyes posterior to and not touching clypeal margin; ocelli absent (sometimes one median ocellus in largest workers); metatibia with a large distinct apicoventral spur, with a coarse seta on each side; anterior face of gaster without distinct concavity.
Tapinolepis - mandible with 5 teeth, when closed mostly concealed by clypeus; dorsum of head behind clypeus without erect stout setae; eyes set variably around midlength of head but anterior arc of torus around eyes touching and slightly indenting clypeal margin; three ocelli distinct; metatibia with a divergent pair of large coarse setae on each side, no median spur; anterior face of gaster with distinct cavity, into which the petiole fits when alitrunk and gaster in horizontal alignment.

The genus Anoplolepis was originally described as a subgenus of Plagiolepis by Santschi (1914b: 123), raised to genus by Emery (1925b: 16), it appears as a full genus in Bolton (1994, 1995), but was not separated in Bolton (1973a). Most were originally placed in Formica or Plagiolepis.

The original separation of Anoplolepis as a subgenus of Plagiolepis (Santschi 1914b) appears to be a main ground of having the metanotum indistinctly defined or obsolete (Arnold, 1922: 578-93). This feature was shared by two subgenera -
Anoplolepis (Santschi, 1914b) with the meso-metanotal suture obsolete, the metanotum-propodeum suture very feeble; dorsum of propodeum not very convex, not higher or only slightly higher than the mesonotum; head hardly narrower in front than behind; monomorphic, although in some, if not all species, some workers are used as honey-storage vessels and have the abdomen grossly distended.
Zealleyella Arnold (1922: 578-9) with the metanotum small, much smaller than the mesonotum, from which it is feebly delimited; propodeum convex and higher than the metanotum; large species often polymorphic.

Emery (1925b) separated Tapinolepis - with one species from South Africa and one from Ethiopia. Santschi (1926a) clarified and restated his definitions of the Genus and the subgenera Anoplolepis, Zealleyella, Mesanoplolepis and Tapinolepis. These are at {original description}; together with a note on Mesanoplolepis he added later (1930b - as to the subgenus having repletes but, unlike Zealleyella, not different morphs in terms of head shape. All but one of the Mesanoplolepis species are from eastern Africa, the odd one is from North Africa.

Note - as Bolton provided no analysis of the individual species, I have retained a separation of Tapinolepis and Mesanoplolepis as subgenera.

Egyptian species - Tapinolepis (Mesanoplolepis) mediterranea (Mayr)

2005, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2019 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.