The Ants of Africa
Genus Cataulacus
Cataulacus traegaordhi Santschi

Cataulacus traegaordhi Santschi

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server}Type location South Africa (Cataulacus traegaordhi n.sp., Santschi 1914e: 24, illustrated, all forms) - see below
junior synonyms
marleyi (Cataulacus Marleyi n. sp., Forel, 1914d: 219, worker; Arnold, 1917: 399, queen) from South Africa - see
suddensis (Cataulacus pygmaeus E. André suddensis subsp. nov., Weber, 1943c: 378, worker & male) from Sudan - no images on Antweb (September 2014)
ugandensis (Cataulacus trägårdhi Santschi var. ugandensis nov., Santschi, 1914b: 110, worker) from Uganda - see
Bolton (1982) lists it, without details, as being known from Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroun; plus Zaïre and numerous other sub-Saharan countries; all forms known .

Revived from synonymy with Cataulacus pygmaeus (as in Bolton, 1974a: 48) by Bolton (1982: 359) but without fresh, full descriptions of either species. Thus, some of the information below may refer to pygmaeus.

{Cataulacus traegaordhi}Santschi's (1914e) description is at {original description}. Santschi's (1914b) description of ugandensis is at {original description}. Arnold (1917: 399) gave a translation, this is at {original description}. Forel's (1914d) description of marleyi is at {original description}. Arnold (1917: 398) gave a translation of marleyi, with a description of the queen, this is at {original description}. Weber's (1943c) description of suddensis (as pygmaeus ssp suddensis) is at {original description}.

Cataulacus traegaordhiThe photomontage of the type worker is collated from

Oxford University Museum specimens

Cataulacus traegaordhi
B Taylor det.
South Sudan
A Omer
S 1-12

South Sudan
8.4666667° N
30.3166667° E
Thal Jath
Cataulacus traegaordhi
B Taylor det.
J-F Vayssieres
RVA 3096.9
09°14'07'' N
02°11'52'' E
Isoberlinia doka

Cataulacus traegaordhi
B Taylor det.
A Fotso Kuate
Cataulacus sp3
03°54'30" N
11°25'58" E
Quadrat in fallow
Cataulacus traegaordhi
B Taylor det.

Y Braet
Gabon 110

00°34' N
09°19' E
Sesame & forest, sweep net


{Cataulacus traegaordhi}The photomontage is of a specimen from South Sudan, from Thal Jath; collector Awatif Omer, 2006 (Sudan 12). This appears close to the original Santschi description and drawing.

{Cataulacus traegaordhi} Nigeria specimens (as Cataulacus pygmaeus, Taylor, 1979: 13). WORKER. TL 3.70-4.40 mm, HL 0.94-1.10, HW 0.92-1.06, SL 0.48-0.52, PW 0.72-0.90
Occipital corners denticulate, with an adjacent second denticle. Sides of head behind eyes denticulate. Sculpturation of head and dorsal altitrunk a rugoreticulum, coarser on the alitrunk, tending posteriorly to a fine irregular widely spaced rugation. Simple erect hairs on all dorsal surfaces. Sides of alitrunk marginate especially strong on the pronotum and denticulate throughout. Propodeal spines broad, dorsoventrally flattened. Subpetiolar process variable sometimes with the posteroventral angle acute, subpostpetiolar process short and simple.

My collections were the first positive identifications from Nigeria (at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre, edge of Block W22, on a flower head). Although Eguagie (1971) reported it, from Araromi near Ibadan, the specimens were not in the CRIN collection nor seem to have been seen by Bolton (1974a); possibly they were those listed under lujae in the later paper by Bolton (1982).

{Cataulacus traegaordhi ugandensis}This appears, as with the specimen below, to be a match for the Santschi (1935b) description of ugandensis, with the broader head and finer sculpturation on the face; the shorter more convex alitrunk; and, being generally shiner.

{short description of image}In the earlier blanket consideration, Bolton (1974a) described pygmaeus as mainly found in savannah and open wooded areas, but also from forests. My findings of traegaordhi were from low vegetation in unshaded areas at CRIN. It nests in stems or twigs and will tend small coccids. I suspect that in West Africa this is a species of open areas within forests and pygmaeus is from tree savannah areas. The distribution outside West Africa, however, suggests that the taxonomic situation is not fully resolved. In the earlier list, under pygmaeus, there were findings from Liberia, at Harbel (W.M. Mann); and Ivory Coast, near Abidjan (W.L. Brown) but these records seem to have been lost in the 1982 paper.

The records from Mt. Nimba, Guinea, given by Bernard (1952) as traegaordhi, came from both forest and savanna locations. Workers were abundant in savanna (Kéoulenta and Ziéla) but also from forest at N'Zo and Ravine 3 of Mount Tô (Camp II, 1500 m). Bernard commented on the discontinuous geographical distribution of the (single) species, being common in Natal, Uganda and Congo (Belgian, more rare) with the suprising banality at Nimba (numerous workers, three queens and one male, collected by Lamotte). The most common habitat was under bark and in twigs, as had been found for the type collected by Traegaordh in Natal at around 2000 m (after Bernard , 1952). The savanna records may well have been of Cataulacus pygmaeus.

Taking the surmise of traegaordhi as a forest species, it was collected by Room (1971) from on cocoa trees, plus on the ground around the nest trees at the Mamfe-Mampong cocoa farm in Ghana. His report includes reference to it nesting in cocoa canopy. It also occurred in 63 of his 168 canopy samples at other farms and he describes it as a highly specialized species distributed at apparent random in relation to any of the dominant ants. In his studies of the fauna of cocoa mistletoe (Room, 1972a, 1975), it was the second most frequent insect on mistletoe plants, on the basis of presence/absence, ranked 8th in occurrence at the cocoa/mistletoe junction (78 of 630 samples), but was only 20th in terms of abundance (185 individuals). Curiously Bolton's (1974a) summary is at odds with Room's information. Other Ghana records are from Accra (O.W. Richards), Larteh (D. Leston), Pokoase and Koforidua (N.L.H. Krauss) (Bolton, 1974a).

The photomontage is of a specimen, appearing to match the ugandensis form, from Gabon, Pongara National Park; collector Yves Braet (Gabon 110). 

{Cataulacus traegaordhi}The photomontage is of a worker from Cameroun, Boga; collector A Fotso Kuate (Cataulacus sp 3).

{Cataulacus traegaordhi}The photomontage is derived from that shown on, taken by Mike Lush, Gambia, 3.iv.2007.

© 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.