The Ants of Africa
Contents - Formicinae - FORMICINAE Introduction

Genus Cataglyphis Foerster (1850b: 493)

In Tribe FORMICINI, previously in Tribe PRENOLEPIDINI. Reviewed by Agosti (1990: 457).

 Diagnostic Features - Legs very long. Antennae 12-segmented and inserted very close to the posterior margin of the clypeus. Eyes and ocelli present, the eyes set behind the mid-length of the head. Mandibles strongly dentate. Psammophore on the anterior ventral surface of the head. Metapleuron with a distinct wide orifice for the metapleural gland; the orifice protected by a line or tuft of guard hairs. Propodeal spiracle an elongate vertical or near-vertical ellipse. Petiole nodiform or squamiform node. Acidopore borne on a conical projection of the hypopigium and surrounded by a fringe of hair.

Foerster's (1850b) genus definition (of the male) is at {original description}. Mayr's (1855: 381) definition of Monocombus (synonymised with Cataglyphis by Mayr, 1861: 44) is at {original description}. Agosti's (1990) review is at {original description}.

Unlikely to be found in the forest zone as the species are confined to savannah and semi-desert. Cataglyphis fortis from North Africa is pictured by Hölldobler & Wilson (1990, page 134) and the genus has been reviewed down to the species-group level by Agosti (1990). Example illustration right.

The "North African" species Cataglyphis bicolor, however, has a "subspecies" seticornis listed by Bolton (1995) as first described from Ghana but this is in conflict with the review by Agosti - although Wheeler (1922) cited the type location for seticornis as "Gold Coast" (from Emery, 1898c). It seems that either or both the following species may be found in coastal West Africa. Both are within the Cataglyphis bicolor group as separated by Agosti (1990). I am quite happy with Ghana as the type location  as there is a curious extension of the savannah in the coastal area.

Agosti (1990) listed the following as found in Africa and east to Sinai (as a whole)
Petiole squamiform
mauritanicus-complex, C. mauritanicus in North Africa
bombycinus-complex - C.bombycinus (deserts of North Africa & Sinai), C. lucasi (Tunisia & Algeria)
sabulosus-complex - C. sabulosus (Israel) plus one undescribed sp
emmae-group; C. emmae from south of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa and relatives in Saudi Arabia
Petiole nodiform
bicolor-group North Africa, below 1500 m (not found in southern Europe)
abyssinicus-complex, C. abyssinicus (Ethiopia)
bicolor-complex, North Africa to Ivory Coast; C. bicolor [Agosti is confusing on this and his list includes numerous varieties, e.g. adustus (Tunisia), basalis (Algeria), oasium (Tunisia), pubens (Morocco), seticornis (Ivory Coast)]; C. saharae (Algeria); and C. viaticus (Spain) with variety desertorum (Tunisia)
Species incertae sedis - C. bicoloripes Walker
diehlii-complex; C. adenensis (Yemen and Egypt); C. diehlii (Algeria); C. isis (Egypt); C. laevior (North Africa)
niger-complex; C. niger (Israel); ? bicolor var. sudanicus (Sudan); C. savignyi (Egypt)
setipes-complex; Morocco and Ghana; bicolor var. congolensis (Chad)
albicans-complex; C. albicans (North Africa), varieties auratus (Sudan), cubicus (Morocco), fezzanensis (Libya), franchettii (Morocco), kairuanus (Tunisia), opacus (Tunisia & Algeria), targuius Algeria, vaucheri (Morocco) [I have elevated franchettii to the status of full species; Collingwood & Agosti (1996) raised auratus to species]
fortis-complex (from the Chotts of North Africa)
lividus-complex; C. lividus (Israel)
Agosti did not divide the following into his complexes - C. argentatus (Egypt); C. cana (Morocco); C. fortis (Algeria); C. otini (Morocco); C. ruber (Algeria); C. semitonsus (Algeria)

Key to workers known from sub-Saharan Africa and Egypt

Based on Emery (1906b), Agosti (1990a) and Collingwood & Agosti (1996, Saudi Arabia key). Now (July 2014) I have compiled an additional key to North African species, building on the keys of Agosti (1990a) and Cagniant (2009).  See Cagniant Key

1 {Cataglyphis albicans petioles}Petiole with anterior face and dorsum meeting at an angle albicans-group - 4
-- {Cataglyphis abyssinicus}Petiole wholly domed; TL of majors more than 9 mm bicolor-group - 8
-- {C. bombycinus petiole}Petiole squamiform - dimorphic, major (if known) with long falciform mandibles bombycinus & emmae-groups - 2
-- {Cataglyphis mauritanicus}Petiole high and angular; TL 9-13 mm; head noticeably longer than wide; head & alitrunk dull, major partly dark (has been described as brightly orange or yellow, gaster opaque, black, as in the drawing)
. {Cataglyphis mauritanicus}Major worker .
. {Cataglyphis mauritanicus minor}Type minor worker probably not in sub-Saharan Africa - mauritanicus
. Petiole scale squamiform - workers usually dimorphic
2 Cataglyphis emmaeTL 3.0-5.5 mm; unicolorous dull brown-black, with allometric almost dimorphic workers
. Cataglyphis emmae mediaMedia worker South of the Atlas Mountains in North Africa - emmae-group - emmae
-- Cataglyphis pallidus headsTL 3.5-4.5 mm; mandible with five teeth, sometimes with extra denticles; if falcate then denticles always indicated; gaster with sparse pubescence; body chestnut-brown or yellow, borders of gaster brownish, shining - the pallidus type location is Turkestan and the single Egypt record seems more likely to be sabulosus or the minor of bombycinus. .
. Cataglyphis pallidus pallidus-group - pallidus
-- Colour mainly yellow or yellow-brown with a darker gaster bombycinus-group - 3
. bombycinus-group .
3 {Cataglyphis bombycinus}Dimorphic, major TL 15 mm, minors TL 5.5-8.0 mm, soldier with falciform mandibles, with a cleft posterior to the apical tooth; erect hairs on maxillary palp segment 3 at least as long as half the segment; gaster brown (separation according to Kugler, 1981). Note - the range of size in "minor" workers and the differing forms of the mandibles, are suggestive of polymorphism .
-- {Cataglyphis bombycinus}Major .
. {short description of image}Media-minor Libya east to Egypt; Sudan & Mali - bombycinus
-- {Cataglyphis sabulosus}Workers only with variable size, TL 3-6 mm, but no major (although one may now be known); erect hairs on maxillary palp segment 3 between one-third and half as long as the segment; gaster never more than light brown .
. {Cataglyphis sabulosus} southern Israel & northern Sinai - sabulosus
-- {Cataglyphis lucasi}Purported major (only form described) TL 5.0 mm; in size and form almost identical to a media of bombycinus, gaster darker and lacking pubescence so appears shiny Tunisia & Algeria - lucasi
-- {Cataglyphis sinaticus}Workers only with variable size but no known major; propodeum with domed profile; gaster dark brown under whitish pubescence southern Israel & northern Sinai - sinaiticus
-- From the short original description this may well be the senior synonym of sinaiticus Egypt and/or Ethiopia - argentatus
albicans-group .
4 Not wholly dark 5
-- Cataglyphis fortisTL 6-9 mm; overall shiny black; larger HW 1.92 ± 0.02 mm, range 1.25-2.45; third segment of maxillary palp longer than fourth; petiole profile more rounded; legs much longer, hind femur 1.72 X AL (Wehner, 1983)
. Cataglyphis fortis North Africa - fortis
-- {Cataglyphis albicans major face}Smaller HW 1.25 ± 0.02 mm, range 0.75-1.75; third segment of maxillary palp equal to fourth; legs with hind femur 1.39 X AL; albicans from the same collecting area as fortis had the head light red-brown, pro- and mesonotum darker red-brown,; antennae, tibiae and tarsi red-brown to lighter (Wehner, 1983)

TL 3.75-8.0 mm; colour debateable - uniform shiny black (?)/ piceous-brown; HW of largest worker < 2 mm; petiole node with flat slope height to length 4.5 : 4
Santschi (1929b key) - head shiny = albicans ss and valbicans vaucheri
head dull = st. iberica (Spain), v. opaca (Tunisia, Algeria)
head semi-shiny (?) = st. odini (Morocco)
. {Cataglyphis albicans major}Major worker from Egypt; colours match the Wehner notes North Africa - albicans
5 Gaster darker than rest of body; black or nearly so 6
-- Gaster not darker than head and alitrunk or only moderately
6 Cataglyphis canaType TL ca 5.3 mm; head red or reddish, gaster piceous, submetallic; head shiny, alitrunk and petiole subopaque; alitrunk clothed in thick long pubescence, gaster dull (Collingwood, 1978: 92); pronotum almost glabrous = v. semitonsa
North Africa (Morocco) - cana
-- {Cataglyphis franchettii}TL 5.5-6 mm; bicoloured, head and alitrunk yellow-red, gaster shiny black; head in full face view with weakly convex occiput
Ethiopia & Egypt (Sinai) - franchettii - new status
7 Cataglyphis auratusMajor TL ca 8 mm; golden brown in colour; the head and alitrunk have fine reticulate sculpture; decumbent pubescence is well developed on the occiput and on the dorsum and sides of the propodeum; the gaster is brilliant with nohairs or pubescence; propodeum profile with near right angle between dorsum and  declivity; propodeum without obvious short erect hairs
Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia - auratus
-- {Cataglyphis lividus}TL 5.5-6 mm; wholly yellow-orange; propodeum profile with rounded obtuse angle between dorsum and declivity; propodeum with obvious short erect hairs (v. mixta and lutea)
Ethiopia & Egypt (Sinai) - lividus - new status
Cataglyphis ruberTL 4.8-7.0; bright orange with darker gaster; the head and alitrunk semi-matt with fine reticulate sculpture; with no obvious pubescence on the occiput or the propodeum; the gaster semi-shiny with no hairs or pubescence; propodeum profile with evenly rounded angle between dorsum and declivity; propodeum with few perhaps only one pair of short erect hairs North Africa east to Kuwait - ruber
. bicolor-group .
8 Head distinctly wider than long diehlii-complex - adenensis, diehlii and isis - 9

Head not wider than long 10
diehlii complex with head distinctly wider than long
9 {Cataglyphis adenensis}TL 6-8 mm; gaster dark contrasting with red head (Kuwait specimen perhaps darker than the type); HL approx = HW; petiole dorsum mildly flattened; petiole squamiform Egypt, Kuwait & Yemen - adenensis
-- {Cataglyphis diehlii}TL range 5.0-9.2 mm; gaster smooth and shiny; Collingwood (1985: 287) noted - "This shining black ant is also distinctive in having the funiculus segments shorter than in C. bicolor or C. niger and allied species. The first funiculus segment is about x 1.3 as long as the second compared with about 1.8 x as long in the C. bicolor group and on this character alone apart from the colour difference, cannot be regarded as a subspecies of C. bicolor". Forel had noted, weakly polymorphic; majors with relatively small heads (cf viaticus & bicolor); propodeum and petiole scale with greyish pubescence; entirely black except sometimes majors with slightly red heads. North Africa - diehlii
-- Cataglyphis isisTL not exceeding 9.5 mm; gaster mildly sculptured and dull; scape with occasional erect hairs; body evenly dark, mandibles reddish; differs from diehlii in having a strongly pubescent alitrunk and occasional erect hairs on the scapes. . Egypt - isis
-- {Cataglyphis laevior}TL 8-9.5 mm; petiole dorsum smoothly rounded; HL > HW; more distinctively bicoloured than the related species
North Africa - laevior
. bicolor complex with head distinctly narrower than long
10 {Cataglyphis abyssinicus}{short description of image}TL 8.0-12.5 mm; petiole with a low dome, distinctly longer than wide; overall smaller and most of head and body somewhat shinier, with reduced sculpturation; gaster by contrast is less shiny than bicolor with a heavier sculpture that matches the rest of the body Ethiopia - abyssinicus complex - abyssinicus
-- Petiole relatively short 11
. Petiole relatively short .
11 Petiole moderately high and angular probably not in sub-Saharan Africa - viaticus-group - 12
-- {Cataglyphis bicolor petiole}Petiole node smoothly domed; maxillary palps long, segment 4 longer than 5+6 bicolor-complex 13
12 {short description of image}TL 9-13 mm; petiole moderately high and angular; head noticeably longer than wide; head & alitrunk brightly orange or yellow, gaster opaque, brown to black Spain, Morocco viaticus
-- {Cataglyphis savignyi petiole node}TL 7-10 mm; petiole with a low weakly angular face; red darker than the type bicolor, appendages and gaster matt black; occipitum, lower head and gaster and legs somewhat shiny; sides of alitrunk and femora pubescent; lower head, thorax and gaster pilous; upper body glabrous Egypt - savignyi
-- {short description of image}TL 7-13 mm; petiole relatively short from South Asia (reported wrongly from Ghana)
- setipes
. bicolor complex - all with the petiole node a moderately high dome
13 {Cataglyphis congolensis}Tl (major?) ca 12 mm; petiole node with low flat dome with a vertical anterior face; red a little darker than the type bicolor (although less so than desertorum), appendages as the body; gaster matt black; occipitum, lower head and gaster and legs somewhat shiny; sides of alitrunk and femora pubescent; lower head, thorax and gaster pilous; upper body glabrous West Africa and Congo Sahel zone - congolensis
-- {Cataglyphis bicolor petiole}Petiole node smoothly domed; petiole as high as long; maxillary palps long, segment 4 longer than 5+6 bicolor-complex - 14
14 {Cataglyphis seticornisTL (type ca 12.5 mm); whole of body and legs with coarse dark erect hairs or setae; major head widest anteriorly coastal arid areas in Ghana & Ivory Coast - seticornis
-- Erect hairs numerous but quite short and fine; major head not widest anteriorly 15
15 Body overall uniformly dark black to blackish red 16
-- Body bicoloured 17
16 {Cataglyphis niger}TL 9-12 mm; body overall uniformly dark black but head often blackish red; propodeum with rounded transition from dorsum to declivity
Ethiopia & Sudan - niger
-- Cataglyphis holgerseniTL ca 12 mm; body uniformly dark black; more angular transition from dorsum to declivity of highly raised propodeum;
Egypt and Saudi Arabia - holgerseni
17 Strongly bicoloured 18
-- Only weakly bicoloured 19
18 {Cataglyphis bicolor}TL 6-10 mm; petiole profile slightly angled forward and with vertical faces below a relatively narrow dome; short erect hairs on all dorsal surfaces; pronotum with very weak pubescence, quite abundant on sides of propodeum and legs; major worker with legs red as with the body, brownish in smaller workers Ethiopia & Sudan - bicolor
-- {Cataglyphis desertorum}TL 7-12 mm; more robust with relatively short legs; profile of promesonotum and propodeum only shallowly convex; petiole perhaps a little higher; mandibles very coarsely striated; hind tarsi with dense coarse adpressed pubescence; matt except for occipitum; relatively weakly bicolour, very dark red, scape darker than rest of head, appendages brown red Ethiopia - desertorum
19 Cataglyphis saharaeTL 8-11 mm; petiole profile a near perfect dome; erect hairs very short, whitish or colourless, and confined to a few on the vertex and occiput, less on the pronotum and two pairs on the petiole, there are none on the propodeum or dorsum of the gaster; the pubescence is very sparse and minute; overall relatively more coarsely sculptured but glossier than bicolor; appendages dark mostly black in all workers Morocco, Algeria & western Sahel - saharae
-- {Cataglyphis nodus}TL 5.0-12.7 mm; petiole node not angled forward; and node lowest dome of group, relatively square;  fine close short pubescence on the tibiae and tarsi; no erect hairs on the scapes; colour always clear red, darker on the largest workers, gaster black; the identifications from Egypt seem likely to have been wrong nodus complex - eastern Europe into west Asia - nodus
-- {Cataglyphis oasium}TL (major) 12 mm plus; ptiole profile slightly angled forward and with vertical faces below a relatively narrow dome; short erect hairs on all dorsal surfaces; pronotum with very weak pubescence, quite abundant on sides of propodeum and legs; workers with legs black; eyes in most if not all red-brown; hairs on anterior of clypeus and mandibles yellow
North Africa & Gambia - oasium
Contents Subfamily Formicinae
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