The Ants of Africa
Genus Camponotus subgenus Tanaemyrmex
Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) acvapimensis Mayr

acvapimensis species-group
Small (for genus) TL soldier < 10 mm; minor heads sub-ovoid to square; alitrunk profile interrupted shallowly convex but propodeum markedly angular; mostly dark near black.

Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) acvapimensis Mayr

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type locality Ghana (Camponotus acvapimensis n.sp., Mayr, 1862: 664, minor worker) collected at Akwapim Mountains - see below
junior synonyms
flavosetosus (Camponotus (Myrmopiromis) flavosetosus, sp.n., Donisthorpe, 1945d: 271, major & minor workers; synonymy by Brown, 1956a: 39) from Togo, collected by H.E. Box, 1 major and 3 minors on cocoa, near Flabo Falls, 11.xi.1944 - see below
poultoni (Camponotus akwapimensis Mayr v. Poultoni n. v., Forel, 1913c: 353, worker; Forel, 1915c: 348, male) from Nigeria, at Lagos, by W.A. Lamborn - see
In the earlier publications the name akwapimensis appears several times (e.g. Santschi, 1935), although other versions include acwapimensis, ackwapimensis and aquapimensis (Wheeler, 1922). Curiously, Mayr himself spelt the name of the locality as "Akwapimgebirge" and then spelt the species name acvapimenis .

With fresh specimens from Tanzania, close to the type location, I have reverted Camponotus (Myrmosaga) mombassae (Forel, 1886f: 180, soldier) from Kenya, to its original status as a species - the synonymy was attributed to Wheeler (1922: 948) in Bolton (1995: 84). Wheeler gave no indication of actually sighting any specimens other than those from the Congo Expedition and, like a number of other such synonymies, it now is clear the synonymy was not justified, even the subgenus status is different.

Mayr's (1862) description is at {original description}. Forel's (1886) description of mombassae is at {original description}. Arnold (1922: 656) gave a translation of Mayr's (1862) description; this is at {original description} and {original description}. Donisthorpe's (1945b) description of flavosetous is at {original description}.

{Camponotus acvapimensis}The photomontage of the holotype minor worker is collated from

{Camponotus acvapimensis}The photomontage of the type major of flavosetosus is collated from

{Camponotus acvapimensis}The photomontage of a syntype minor worker of flavopliosus is collated from

{Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) acvapimensis} Nigeria specimens (Taylor, 1978: 5)
Major worker - TL 7.28 mm, HL 2.18, HW 1.96, SL 1.49, PW 1.28
Minor worker - TL 5.38 mm, HL 1.40, HW 1.15, SL 1.49, PW 0.87
Colour black or very dark red-brown, lighter on extremities. Appearance dull due to fine reticulate sculpturation on head and alitrunk, gaster very finely transversely striate. Coarse erect hairs most abundant on gaster, fine pilosity very sparse. Declivity of propodeum smoothly rounded and petiole a sharp scale.

Forel (1915c) described akwapimensis variety poultoni as having the largest workers with TL up to 8 mm; also with longer and more abundant whitish pilosity. The males (not before described) he had as TL 11.5-12.0; a little larger than the type, otherwise indistinguishable. Specimens from St. Gabriel, Zaïre, collected by Kohl, on fruits and nectar; once found in a termite nest.

Collingwood (1985), recording it from Saudi Arabia, noted that in profile the dorsal outline of the alitrunk is more or less continuous; the gaster and body uniformly dark, legs paler; occiput with at least one seta at each corner; plus abundant dorsal and gula hairs.

By origin probably a savannah species, it nests in insolated ground and is found throughout West Africa, extending eastwards right across tropical Africa. According to Lévieux, in Ivory Coast savannah, at Ferkéssédougo, it may numbers as many as 2,000,000 individuals per hectare. He also described how workers reproduce in queenless nests. Later, he described it how it is predated upon by Myrmicaria opaciventris (as Myrmicaria nitidans, presumably a mis-spelling of Myrmicaria nitida) and defends a given area. There are several papers (Lévieux, 1967, 1973, 1978, 1982, 1983a; Lévieux & Louis, 1975). From the last, one can gather remarks on the species - it was described as terricolous, gathering most of its food from ground level or not far above, even when its foraging goes to some height; it constructs tents over Homopterans, from which it procures most of its sugars; its foraging is inhibited when heavy rain makes leaf surfaces wet. It was found to be primarily diurnally active but workers would forage also at night (Lévieux, 1972).

In Ghana, recorded from seedling cocoa on the edge of a swollen-shoot outbreak by J. Paine, at Kwahu (25.xi.1944) (Donisthorpe, 1945b). Leston (1973) regarded it as a dominant and stated that, although largely a savannah species, it was almost certainly to be found wherever a grassy clearing occurred in the forest zone, and in cocoa its presence was indicative of a poor canopy and the absence of shade. Room (1971) found it on herb foliage at the Mampong Cemetery Farm and reported it as nesting in dead wood on the ground; he also collected it twice in his cocoa canopy survey and, later, listed it from cocoa mistletoe (Room, 1975). Majer found it in 21.5% of his 144 pkd samples at Kade, with 200-450 workers per sample (1975, 1976a, b, c). Two workers were collected by pkd from the canopy of Amelonado cocoa, and an average of eight workers per sampling area on the ground at CRIG by Bigger (1981a). Belshaw & Bolton (1994b) collected two workers at Bunso, as 'tourists' in leaf litter under secondary forest and cocoa. Evans (1973) described its role as a vector of Phytophthora pod rot of cocoa, but seemed to regard it as most important along the edge of farms and probably most significant early in the season. This was added to by Firempong (1975), who also worked in Ghana and described it as having a facultative association with the black citrus aphid, Toxoptera aurantii.

In Nigeria, it was reported, as Camponotus akwapimensis, as attending larvae of a Lycaenid butterfly pest of Pigeon Pea by Lamborn (1915), probably on the Moor Plantation farm, Ibadan. Lamborn described how the ants grouped around the feeding tunnel of the larva, thus revealing infested pods. We found it in cocoa farms with a broken canopy, as a dominant on about 4.5% of trees, and 33/76 farms, in wetter areas (Taylor, 1977; Taylor & Adedoyin, 1978). An avid tender of Homoptera, including aphids, stictococcids and pseudococcids, over which it often constructs roofs, or tents, of soil particles. Taylor & Griffin (1981) found it to be a significant vector of cocoa black pod disease by transporting contaminated soil for its tents. Those results, from the E5/1 study, also enabled a mapping of the species in a large cocoa block and showed how the pattern of light and shade was a key factor in such a situation. Also found foraging on native trees and low vegetation, as well as on cashew, coffee, kola, oil palm and plantain. Adenuga & Adeboyeku (1987) report it as attending Homoptera on citrus, cocoa, coffee, mango, okra and pigeon pea.

Common to very common in the Guinea, Mt. Nimba survey collections, although sometimes absent; with no obvious ecological pattern, being found at both forest and savanna locations, up to 1600 m at Mount Tô (Bernard, 1952).

Ragge (1980) reported the apparent mimicry of Camponotine ants by grasshopper nymphs of the genus Eurycorypha, including a nymphal specimen in the British Museum which was labelled "associated with Camponotus acvapimensis"; he does denote from where that specimen came but mentions others from CRIG, in Ghana, and Efulen in Cameroun.

Oxford University Museum specimens

{Camponotus acvapimensis major}The photomontage is of a major from Benin; Forêt de Gbèvozoumè; collector S Tchibozo.

{Camponotus acvapimensis minor}The photomontage is of a minor from Benin, as above. This is an exact match for the type minor worker.

{Camponotus acvapimensis major}Major. The photomontages here and below (minor and queen) are of specimens collected in Ghana by S Sky Stephens, 2006.

{Camponotus acvapimensis minor}Minor from Ghana

{Camponotus olivieri pax minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker from Cameroon, 30 km east of Poli (ca °29' N 13°29' E) at a Sudan-Guinea savannah location (McKey Wolbachia project) Cameroon 129.

{Camponotus acvapimensis major}The photomontage is of a major from Gabon, Pongara National Park; collector Yves Braet.

{Camponotus acvapimensis minor}Minor from Gabon, as above.

{Camponotus acvapimensis queen}Queen from Ghana, S Sky Stephens.

{Camponotus acvapimensis male}Male from the Central African Republic; collector P Annoyer

© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
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