The Ants of Africa
SUBFAMILY PONERINAE - Genus Centromyrmex
Contents - Ponerinae - PONERINAE Introduction

Genus Centromyrmex Mayr (1866b: 894)


Bernard (1952) "with Santschi" set the Genus in a monogeneric Tribe, CENTROMYRYMICINI, justified by the Genus being the only one amongst "all the ants" with very spiny feet. Brown (1953a) synonymised it with Ponerini.

Diagnostic Features - Middle and hind tibiae and tarsi with abundant down-curved spines and stiff hairs on the outer surface (Mayr, 1866b: 894). Mayr's (1866b) description is at {original description}; the type species C. bohemanni (now regarded as a junior synonym of C. brachycola Roger, 1861a) is from Brazil.

Centromyrmex s.s. includes the three Neotropical species, alfaroi, brachycola and gigas, which were reviewed by Kempf (1976b)

I posted a revisionary study with the first ever key to global species on 20.ix.2007 - see Centromyrmex 2007. This was not referrred to by Bolton & Fisher (2008) despite it including separations and amendments now recognised by them.

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B.L. 2008c. Afrotropical ants of the ponerine genera Centromyrmex Mayr, Promyopias Santschi gen. rev. and Feroponera gen. n., with a revised key to genera of African Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa, 1929, 1-37 - weblink - [10 Nov. 2008]

They have reversed the inclusion of Promyopias Santschi (1914d: 323, as subgenus of Myopias), provisionally synonymized by Brown (1973b: 184) - in a single entry "Promyopias Santschi 1914 = Centromyrmex" - and confirmed by Bolton (1994, according to Bolton, 1995, although the 1994 work had no arguments to support the synonymy). The species previously noted as Centromyrmex silvestrii has been placed in a revived genus Promyopias.

Comments on Bolton & Fisher (2008)

They make sweeping remarks on several aspects but without providing evidence that they claim or, at least, imply, was available to them. For instance, their claim as to similarities between the Asian C. hamulatus and the Afrotropical bequaerti-group
Viz - sharing the shape of the head capsule. Assuming the Karavaiev drawing is accurate then there is little similarity, the close similarity is between hamulatus and feae, allowing for hamulatus to be excetionallly longer than wide; the alitrunk profile shows nothing in common with the bequaerti-group.

I find it quite baffling that these authors gave no links to the images available on well before their publication and do not refer to let alone include the Antweb photographs of C. alfaroi, brachycola or feae. Also, they state "the holotype [queen] of rufigaster cannot be found", yet it is shown on Antweb at

Species list following Bolton & Fisher (2008).

Afrotropical species
bequaerti group
bequaerti (Forel, 1913) = rufigaster (Arnold, 1916)
secutor Bolton & Fisher, 2008
feae group
angolensis Santschi, 1937
decessor Bolton & Fisher, 2008
ereptor Bolton & Fisher, 2008
fugator Bolton & Fisher, 2008
longiventris Santschi, 1919
praedator Bolton & Fisher, 2008
raptor Bolton & Fisher, 2008
sellaris Mayr, 1896 = constanciae Arnold, 1915 = congolensis Weber, 1949 = arnoldi r guineensis Bernard, 1953

Oriental & Malesian species
feae group
feae (Emery, 1889) = donisthorpei Menozzi, 1925
feae subsp. ceylonicus (Forel, 1900)
feae subsp. greeni Forel, 1901
hamulatus group
hamulatus (Karavaiev, 1925)

Neotropical species
brachycola group
alfaroi Emery, 1890
brachycola (Roger, 1861) bohemanni Mayr, 1866 = brachycola var. paulina Forel, 1911
gigas Forel, 1911

Key to the workers of Centromyrmex globally [revised from Taylor (2007) this website, see linked archive page]. The reference numbers are to Antweb specimens shown in Bolton & Fisher

(2008) unless denoted by *
1 {short description of image}Alitrunk profile flat to smoothly convex; petiole without a distinct peduncle; head elongated (HL > HW) and near rectangular, mandibles short and arcuate. Afrotropical bequaerti-group; polymorphic {Centromyrmex bequaerti head}
-- {short description of image}Mandibles broad and elongated with numerous teeth which may be reduced to denticles; HW = or > HL; monomorphic {Centromyrmex heads} 3
Afrotropical bequaerti-group
2 {Centromyrmex bequaerti large worker}Highly shiny all over; propodeum with a short bulla; petiole about equally long and wide, narrower anteriorly with domed profile; example of a large worker; TL up to 10.3 mm - CASENT0102992 * {Centromyrmex bequaerti large worker} .
-- {short description of image}Highly shiny all over; petiole longer than wide, narrower anteriorly with weakly convex dorsum but sharp transitions from vertical faces to dorsum in profile; example of a small worker, TL 4.7 mm upwards - CASENT0005922 {short description of image} Congo Basin east into Zimbabwe - bequaerti
-- {Centromyrmex secutor}TL 4.5-7.3; separated from bequaerti by the long bulla on the propodeum, almost reaching the base of the spiracle; decilivity of the propodeum with erect pubescence - CASENT0178749 {Centromyrmex secutor head} Gabon - secutor
-- {Centromyrmex sp undet Angola}Weakly shiny with the head semi-matt due to fine sculpturation; petiole much longer than wide, narrower anteriorly with convex dorsum and rounded transitions from vertical faces to dorsum in profile - SAM-HYM-C007975 *. This is quite different from bequaerti although seemingly listed as examined by Bolton & Fisher (2008) {short description of image} Angola species undetermined
Head as wide or wider than long, mostly cordiform (heart-shaped); mandibles broad and elongated
3 Alitrunk profile an elongated arc or slightly impressed at metanotal suture; first gaster segment without margination below the helcium Neotropical species in brachycola-group (Bolton & Fisher, 2008) 4
-- Alitrunk profile uneven, concave at the metanotal suture and with a convex propodeum and mostly with a marginate pronotum - 6
Neotropical brachycola-group (Bolton & Fisher, 2008)

4 {short description of image}Very large, TL ca 12 mm; mandibles distinctly dentate in basal half
Southern Amazon Valley - gigas
-- TL < 8 mm - 5
5 {Centromyrmex alfaroi}TL 7.75 mm; with relatively short petiole rectangular seen from above - CASENT0010795 * {Centromyrmex alfaroi head} Costa Rica - alfaroi
-- {short description of image}First segment of gaster without an angular margin below helcium; scapes almost reach occiput; TL ca 6 mm - CASENT0178344 * . .
. {Centromyrmex brachycola} .{Centromyrmex brachycola} Brazil & Bolivia - brachycola
feae-group (part Bolton & Fisher, 2008)
6 Petiole with short but narrow peduncle, approximately rectangular in dorsal view and domed in profile Malesian species 7
-- Petiole with narrow elongated peduncle, pear-shaped in dorsal view Afrotropical species 8
feae-group (part Bolton & Fisher, 2008)- Malesian species
7 {Centromyrmex hamulatus}TL 7-9 mm; HL slightly > HW; ventral process of petiole consisting of two short teeth (B&F) {Centromyrmex hamulatus head} Sumatra - hamulatus
-- {Centromyrmex feae}TL 4.5-5.0 mm - CASENT0102120 * {short description of image} Myanmar - feae
Afrotropical feae-group (part Bolton & Fisher, 2008)
8 Petiole with narrow elongated peduncle, pear-shaped in dorsal view, broadly domes in profile; head with near parallel sides - 9
-- Petiole with short but narrow peduncle, approximately rectangular in dorsal view and domed in profile - 10
9 {Centromyrmex fugator}TL 4.7 mm; basal margin of mandible straight to weakly concave; yellow to light brownish-yellow - CASENT0178747 {Centromyrmex fugator head} Zare - fugator
-- {Centromyrmex praedator}TL 6.4 mm; basal margin of mandible shallowly convex; yellow to brownish-yellow - CASENT0102928 {Centromyrmex praedator head} Zare - praedator
Petiole domed in profile, near rectangular in dorsal view
10 {Centromyrmex decessor metatibia}Apical third of metatibia with more than 3 thickly spiniform setae on the anterior surface; also one or more such setae on the dorsal surface - 11
-- {C. angolensis metatibia}Apical third of metatibia with only 1-2 thickly spiniform setae on the anterior surface; and no such setae on the dorsal surface - 12
Apical third of metatibia with more than 3 thickly spiniform setae on the anterior surface; also one or more such setae on the dorsal surface
11 {Centromyrmex raptor}TL 9.8-10.0 mm; mandibles serially dentate, with 10-12 small teeth; with a dark alitrunk and yellow-orange gaster - CASENT0102927 * {Centromyrmex raptor head} Congo Basin - raptor
-- {Centromyrmex decessor}TL 7.0-7.9 mm; mandibles with 5-6 spaced out teeth; glossy brownish-yellow to light brown, head darkest - CASENT0102993 * {Centromyrmex decessor head} Zambia & Zimbabwe - decessor
Apical third of metatibia with only 1-2 thickly spiniform setae on the anterior surface; and no such setae on the dorsal surface
12 {C. angolensis metatibia}Metatibia with a single thick spiniform seta at the inner apex . 13
-- Metatibia with two thick spiniform seta at the inner apex - 14
13 {Centromyrmex angolensis}TL 4.3-6.2 mm; metatibia with a single thick spiniform seta at the inner apex; head relatively narrow, CI 98-103; yellow to light brown - CASENT041747 {Centromyrmex angolensis head}
{C. angolensis metatibia}
West Africa & Congo Basin into Angola - angolensis
-- {Centromyrmex sp Zaire}TL ca 6.4 mm; mandible with has 5-6 spaced out but well developed teeth, the basal angle has a distinct tooth giving a sharp angle; overall this has longer narrower mandibles, with much more distinct punctures' scapes distinctly surpassing the occiput' SAM-HYM-C007974 * (among B & F angolensis) {Centromyrmex sp Zaire}
{short description of image}
Zare species undetermined
14 HW 0.90-1.13; CI 108-118; mandibles relatively long - sellaris and synonymies according to Bolton & Fisher (2008) - 15
-- HW 0.65-0.81; CI 98-101; mandibles relatively short - 16
15 {Centromyrmex sellaris}TL 5.3 mm (Mayr); pronotum amd mesonotum profile near flat - SAM-ENT-0011511A {short description of image} right across tropical forest zone - sellaris
. {Centromyrmex constanciae}TL 5.0-5.8 mm; mandibles with masticatory margin near smooth; reddish-brown, all over very shiny {short description of image} East Africa - constanciae
. {Centromyrmex congolensis}TL 6.3 mm; shiny, HW 1.2 X HL; masticatory margin of mandible with 10 feeble denticles {short description of image} Congo Basin - congolensis
HW 0.65-0.81; CI 98-101; mandibles relatively short
16 {Centromyrmex longiventris}TL 3.5-3.6 mm; promesonotum profile slightly more convex, gaster long and slender (2.2 mm); yellow to brownish yellow; CASENT0178742 {Centromyrmex longiventris head} Cameroun & Gabon - longiventris
-- {Centromyrmex ereptor}TL 4.5-4.6 mm; CI 98-101; base of mandible without a distinct tooth and mastixcatory surface more or less edentate; light brownish-yellow; CASENT0081171 {Centromyrmex ereptor head} Congo Basin - ereptor

Contents PONERINAE Introduction
2007, 2008, 2012 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
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