Introduction The Ants of Africa
Chapter 2 - Geography and History - Nigeria

Summary of known collectors
Bates or Bates collection (Forel, 1911e); B Bolton (Bolton, 1969, 1973a, 1973b, 1974a, 1974b, 1975a, 1976, 1980, 1981a, 1981b, 1983, 1987; Brown, 1978c; B Taylor, 2005w); R H Booker (Bolton, 1975b; Booker, 1968; Taylor, 2005w); H Brauns (Mayr, 1895); E Classey (Bolton, 1982); J Cloudsley-Thompson (Bolton, 1973b); W A C Cockburn (Bolton, 1973b); B R Critchley (Bolton, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1987, 2002); J C Deeming (Bolton, 1987); Duke (Forel, 1910f); W Eguagie (Taylor, 2005w); H Fischer (Forel, 1901h; Santschi, 1919b); J de Gaulle (Santschi, 1910g); F D Golding (Santschi, 1933b, 1937b); W A Lamborn (Forel, 1913c; Lamborn, 1914, 1915c, 1920); Lenfant (Santschi, 1910g); C Longhurst (Bolton, 1980, 1987); A Hollande (Bernard, 1952); B Lasebikan (Bolton, 1980); Luke (Forel, 1907a); J T Medler (Baroni Urbani, 1977c; Bolton, 1973b, 1974a, 1975a, 1982, 1987; Taylor, 2005w); E A Mill (Bolton, 1987); J Noyes (Rigato, 2002); E S Ross & K Lorenzen (Bolton, 1980); A Russell-Smith (Bolton, 1983, 1987); W A Sands (Brown, 1962b); D Simpson (Bolton, 1980); F Silvestri (Santschi, 1914d, 1915c); J J Simpson (Santschi, 1933b); G Strachan (Bolton, 1973b); B Taylor & S F Adedoyin (Bolton, 1980, 1981b, 1982, 1983; Snelling, 1979a; Taylor, 2005w); G C Webb (Weber, 1964); K Whitney (Bolton, 1982); M G Wood (Bolton, 1973b); E Zavattari (Menozzi, 1926a).

A broad review of fifty years of tree crop entomology in Nigeria by Gerard (1967), showed that studies on ants between 1913 and 1963 were few and most information was restricted to general references at the genus level. Early records include collections by J.C. Bridwell at Olokemeji (726'N, 337'E, some 30 km west of Ibadan, and on the railway line between Abeokuta and Ibadan), including Messor regalis (from Benue River from 8N, 7-10E) (date unknown, although a paper he published in 1919 was on parasitic wasps in Nigeria); and the 1912-1913 expedition of Professor F. Silvestri, who visited Olokemeji and Lagos, collecting specimens described by Santschi (1914b, 1914d). Messor regalis was collected also by Staudinger at Benue (no date). Dorylus gribodoi was collected at Lower Benue by Lenfant, and Dorylus savagei at Warri, Forcados River (530'N, 545'E) by Henry Fischer (Wheeler, 1922). M.G. Wood collected Polyrhachis viscosa at Madaki (Bolton, 1973b). Many of the locations are shown on Map 5, with the western cocoa area enlarged in Map 6.

A.D. Peacock was Entomologist to the Agriculture Department, Southern Nigeria, with its headquarters at Ibadan, presumably Moor Plantation, in 1911-1912. He reported on entomological pests and problems in the area, amongst which he listed Oecophylla longinoda as being a problem to cocoa harvesters on account of its bites (Peacock, 1914). Just after, W.A. Lamborn described spending a year, May 1913 to May 1914, as Entomologist in the Agricultural Department of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria. Curiously in modern terms, his qualification was given as M.D., thus, he held a degree in medicine. Initially he was based at the Department Headquarters at Moor Plantation, Ibadan. He described Agege, 12 miles (19 km) north of Lagos, as the cocoa centre of the Colony. He too wrote about Oecophylla longinoda and Pachycondyla tarsata on cocoa, and also noted Camponotus acvapimensis attending a Lycaenid butterfly larva which bored into the pods of cow pea. He collected Dorylus helvolus at Agege and Camponotus maculatus at Oni Camp east of Lagos (Wheeler, 1922). H.E. Box (see the section on Ghana) visited Owena in December 1943 and February 1943, from where he described an attempt to use Oecophylla longinoda to control mirids. He also reported on mirids in the Abeokuta, Ijebu Ode and Ondo areas. Bernard (1952) listed the collection of Cataulacus pullus at Lagos by A. Hollande.

The greatest amount of information comes from work at CRIN, an acronym restricted to the modern headquarters at Gambari (CRIN in 1975), and not its original home (where it was earlier known as the West African Cocoa Research Institute, Nigeria), at Moor Plantation, on the southwest edge of Ibadan (no. 7 on the map). A fair amount of information on ants and mealybugs can be found in the book by P.F. Entwistle, apparently the studies were by R.G. Donald (in the mid-1950s) and himself (in the late 1950s to around 1965), both working on cocoa insects, especially mealybugs (Entwistle, 1972). The references to ants collected by various methods at CRIN include those of R.H. Booker (1968) and Barry Bolton, who were stationed there during part of their time with the International Capsid team. The latter's findings, during 1969, seem not to have been specifically published although his generic revision papers (listed under the specific genera) give some information and his labels were on some 103 specimens in the CRIN museum.

In making my own collections, in 1974-76, I was primarily concerned with species actually or likely to be encountered on cocoa trees. This narrow restriction applied even more tightly to the activities of my staff. The wide range of ages of the various cocoa plots and the variations in tree spacing, shade cover, etc., however, provided a good spectrum of possible habitats. Additionally, we explored the ant populations of indigenous forest trees (by examining all trees in an area which was being clear-felled) and those on several of the tree crops also studied at CRIN (kola, cashew, oilpalm, coffee, plantain/banana) (Taylor, 1978). From time to time on CRIN, moreover, I made wider searches and examinations of shrubbery, other trees, fallen trees, logs on the ground and so-on. However, I did not utilise light traps, pitfall traps or Berlese funnel techniques, which might have yielded sexual stages or minute soil or leaf litter dwellers. A map of CRIN as it was in 1975, with plot numbers, is given in Plan 1.

On a wider scale much information came from our survey of 76 farms scattered across the whole of the cocoa-growing area of western Nigeria. Where species are known from only no more than one or two locations, these places are named and can be found listed and mapped in Taylor & Adedoyin (1978). Map 6 has a general map of the Nigerian cocoa belt. A summary list of ants found on cocoa was published (Taylor, 1981) and fuller information was given in my ant guides (Taylor, 1978, 1979, 1980a, 1980b & 1981).

Bill Eguagie, a CRIN entomologist, also reported ant findings from a number of cocoa farms and other tree crops, (Eguagie, 1971, 1975). More recently from CRIN, there is the report by Adedeji (1984). His work, however, has to be interpreted with some caution because of an apparent confusion between nests and tents.

Other collections of importance were made at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) which is just to the north of Ibadan and is more savannah than forest in its ecology. Most collections there were by Brian Critchley, in the early 1970s. The main focus of the work by himself and colleagues, including A. Russell-Smith (see Monomorium invidium, on 28.iv.1981), was on the impact of pesticides on soil fauna, and the ant specimens mainly came from pit-fall traps in pasture or field crops. Other species collected included Monomorium cryptobium).

At Ile-Ife, a group based in the University of Ife, headed by Professor J.T. Medler, and among whom was B.A. Lasebikan, undertook wide surveys of insects of Nigeria, in late sixties to mid-1970s. Also from that University, A.O. Adenuga, has investigated ant-Homoptera interactions on cocoa and several other crops. His first paper (Adenuga, 1976) has to be regarded with caution because of the uncertainty of the identifications, or, at least, what appear to be misspellings of several taxonomic epithets. A second paper (Adenuga & Adeboyeku, 1987), however, seems reliable (with ant identifications by Barry Bolton) and the specific notes on findings, at the University Farm at Ile-Ife, are incorporated in the appropriate sections. Ewuim, Badejo & Ajayi (1997) used pitfall traps to monitor the activity of ants in a forest floor and a one-year fallow plot in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, at monthly intervals from November 1980 to October 1981, with similar studies in October 1987 and June 1988. They also made manual collections of ants from the ground surface of the plots. Ten species of ants were collected, the most common of which was P. crassinoda.

At Mokwa, in the southern Guinea savannah area north of the Niger River (918'N, 55'E), there was much work on termites in the early 1970's. The Mokwa Agricultural Research Station is set in primary savannah woodland, with an annual rainfall of 1175 mm. The importance of ants as predators of termites led to a distinct effort to investigate their impact, with most of the work being done by C. Longhurst (there in 1975-77) (Longhurst & Howse, 1979a, b; Longhurst et al., 1979).

Also in northern Nigeria, the Ife group led by Professor Medler collected at N. Bussa in Kano State. There are a few records of collections by W.A. Sands, for instance of Epitritus laticeps, which was near Zungeru, on the Kaduna Road (957'N, 645'E), in 1956. D. Simpson collected at Zaria (11N 725'E in 1969 (Tetramorium khyarum, Bolton, 1980). E.S Ross and K. Lorenzen made a collection at Damaturu, probably in 1966. Cardiocondyla zoserka was found near Abuja (Gurara Falls, 916'N 72'E) by Eric Classey in 1972). Monomorium bicolor was collected at Bakura and Sokoto (133'N 515'E) by E.A. Mill, and from near Lake Chad by John Deeming (then at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria).


Adedoyin, S.F. and S.K. Subair, Farmer's companion - a handbook on farm management aand crop farming in Nigeria. LAA Publication, Fadeyi, Yaba, Lagos, 1989 (160 pages)

1998-9, 2003, 2006 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
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