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SUBFAMILY DOLICHODERINAE - Genus Tapinoma - Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius)

Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius)

return to key Type location French Guyana (Formica melanocephala, Fabricius, 1793: 353, worker; illustrated by Coquebert, 1799, Pl. VI; Emery, 1887a: 249, male; Forel, 1891b: 102, queen)
junior synonyms
australis (Tapinoma (Micromyrma) melanocephalum Fabr., v. australis var. n., Santschi, 1928a: 53, worker) from Samoa, Tutuila, Leone Road, 18.ii.1924, Bryan - see
australe (Tapinoma (Micromyrma) melanocephalum Mayr, v. australe var. n., Santschi, 1928e: 475, worker) from Vanuatu, Santos Is., 8.viii. 1925, P A Buxton - see
familiaris (Formica familiaris, F Smith, 1860b: 96, worker) from Indonesia, Bachian, Mr Wallace - no images on Antweb (March 2019)
nana (Formica nana, Jerdon, 1851: 125, worker) from India - no images on Antweb (March 2019)
pellucida (Myrmica pellucida, F Smith, 1857a: 71, worker) from Singapore, Mr Wallace - see
coronatum (Tapinoma melanocephalum F. var. coronatum n. var., Forel, 1908b: 62, worker) from Costa Rica, Punta Arenas - see
malesianum (Tapinoma melanocephalum F. var. malesiana n. var., Forel, 1913k: 93, worker & queen) from Sumatra - see
(see Bolton, 1995) .

Tapinoma melanocephalum coquebert vs modernFabricius's (1793) description is at {original description}. Emery's (1887a) description of the male is at {original description}. Jerdon (1851) for nana gave a brief description that matches the type form, "found in all parts of India and is very abundant in Mysore". F Smith for familiaris (1860b) and gave a brief descriptions that match the type form. Forel's (1908b) description of coronatum is at {original description}. Forel's (1913k) description of malesiana does not appear to differ significantly from the type form. Santschi (1928a) gave v. australis as differing from the type in having longer palps and from var. malesiana in the darker colour of the head and a paler gaster. Santschi (1928e) gave australe as, TL 1.5 mm, pale yellow or a little darker, head brownish; palps slightly more dilated.

Illustration collated from Coquebert (1799), much enlarged, plus modern Gabon specimen.
Coquebert, De Montbret, Antoine Jean. 1799. Illustratio Iconographica Insectorum Quae in Musaeis Parisinis Obseravit et in Lucem Edidit J.C. Fabricus prćmiseis ejusdem descriptionibus ... . Decas I-III. Paris: (1798)-1825

{Tapinoma melanocephalum} Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1978: 49). WORKER. TL 1.49-1.71 mm, HL 0.45, HW 0.37, SL 0.42, PW 0.23
Colour of head and alitrunk dark yellow-brown, gaster yellow, extremities pale yellow. Dense fine pubescence all over, erect setae on clypeus and gastral apex only. Alitrunk in profile near smoothly convex, with slight metanotal depression in the convexity and the propodeal declivity straight. A domestic species which is common in houses.

Found in Ghana at the Mampong Cemetery Farm on cocoa mistletoe by Room (1971, 1975) and on cocoa at Kade by Majer (1975, 1976b), using pkd, with 20-27 workers per sample.

Also from Conakry, Guinea (by Silvestri, in Wheeler, 1922).

Hölldobler & Wilson (1990, page 213-5) describe it as an 'opportunistic nester', utilising almost any crack or crevice.

{Tapinoma melanocephalum}The photomontage is of workers collected in Gabon, Pongara NP; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 58).

{Tapinoma melanocephalum}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. 

©2005, 2006, 2015, 2019 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
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