Introduction The Ants of Africa
Chapter 2 - Geography and History - Congo Basin Countries

Congo Basin

As of November 2001, I have included species from the Congo Basin, i.e. the forest area contiguous with that of southern Cameroun, in the list. Thus the lists now include species with their type locations in the Central African Republic, (French) Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, plus the forest areas of Zaïre (Democratic Republic of Congo). However, I have not included species from the last where the main distribution seems to be eastwards or southwards from there.

Haldeman (1849a) reported the collection of Dorylus (Anomma) burmeisteri rubellus at American Mission at "Gaboon, 15' north of the equator".

André (1895a) identified ants collected by Albert Mocquerys, in the Ogooué, which he gave as "Congo Français". Bolton (1973b), giving the type location for Polyrhachis sulcata, had this as "Congo (Brazzaville)". The Ogooué, however is the river delta area, to the east of Port-Gentil in Gabon, about 0°48' S 8°58' E. In February-March 1901, L. Fea collected ants on the Islands of São Tomé and Principé. The ants were mostly described by Menozzi (1922a).

Neal A. Weber (1942a, 1943c) undertook a study of the Imatong (or Lolibai) Mountains of south-west Sudan. Much of the ant fauna he described is of the Congo Basin faunal group.

The collecting efforts of Brian Fisher and colleagues associated with the California Academy of Sciences have enabled Brian Fisher to include many species in the assemblage of high quality photographs to be found at I have edited the images to produce photomontages for the individual species. The sampling areas include locations in Cameroun, Gabon, and the Central African Republic (notably the Nzanga-Ndoki National Park (in the triangular area protruding southwards between Cameroun and Congo).

{Ecological regions}

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Central African Republic

Summary of known collectors
Dr Decorse (Santschi, 1912b); Degallier (Taylor, 2005w); B L Fisher (Taylor, 2005w); Le Moult (Santschi, 1920d); Schubotz (Stitz, 1916); N A Weber (Weber, 1949b, 1950, 1952, 1964; Bolton 1976, 1983, 1987).

Oubangui-Chari, or Ubangi-Shari, was a French territory in central Africa which later became the independent country of the Central African Republic on August 13, 1960. It followed the establishment of the Bangui outpost in 1889, and was named in 1894. Oubangui-Chari in 1910. Note the borders are reduced to the southeastern section of the present-day CAR. The French did not establish a colonial administration until 1903, upon defeating Egyptian forces (the territory was claimed by the Egyptian Sultan). The Oubangui-Chari territory was merged with the Chad colony in 1906. In 1910, it became one of four territories of the Federation of French Equatorial Africa, (with Chad, Middle Congo, and Gabon), initially with Chad as "Oubangi-Chari-Chad", and made into an autonomous civilian colony in 1915. Chad was separated in 1920 [Map dated 1910 is from]

Fort Crampel now known as Kaga Bondoro 6° 58' 60N 19° 10' 60E; Fort Possel 5° 1' 0N 19° 15' 0E

Note - in his Catalogue, Bolton (1995) gave the type locations of a number of species and varieties collected by Schubotz at Fort Crampel, between Fort Crampel and Fort Possel, and in that general area, and reported by Stitz (1916) as being in "Congo" (i.e.) the Congo Democratic Republic) not the correct Central African Republic. These are Camponotus (Myrmotrema) foraminosus flavus, Camponotus (Tanaemyrmex) brevicollis, Crematogaster (Crematogaster) ochraceiventris, Messor regalis sculpturatus, and Messor ruginodis; also Dorylus (R.) fimbriatus crampeli (Santschi, 1919b) and Tetraponera lemoulti (Santschi, 1920d).

Congo Democratic Republic

Summary of known collectors
Beirnaert (Santschi, 1939c); J Bequaert (Forel, 1913b); Bondroit (Santschi, 1912b); H Brauns (Mayr, 1895); H du Buysson (Santschi, 1919a); Cabrera (Santschi, 1913c); P Charleuf (Santschi, 1917b, 1920b, 1921c, 1926a); Dr Daniel (Emery, 1895j); Dinklage (Forel, 1910f); Dybowski (Santschi, 1910c); E Fauconnet (Forel, 1910e); L Fea (Bolton, 1983); Dr Gallard (Santschi, 1926a); Gerard (Santschi, 1939c); Haberer (Stitz, 1916); Lemarinel ((Forel, 1909b); H Pobeguin (Santschi, 1911c, 1915c); Riggenbach (Santschi, 14c, 1920b); E S Ross & R E Leech (Taylor, 2005w); F Roubaud (Santschi, 1911c); H Schouteden (Santschi, 1928f; Bolton 1973b); Dr Sieben (Forel, 1911f); Soyaux (Forel, 1907a; Stitz, 1916); Prof Gallio Valerio (Santschi, 1910c); v Volxem (Emery, 1899e); J Vrydagh (Santschi, 1939c); Waelbroek (Forel, 1909b); N A Weber (Brown, 1954k): A Weiss (Santschi, 1910c, 1911c, 1911g, 1913c,1926c); G F de Witte (Bolton, 1973b); R P Zimmermann ((Santschi, 1910c).

Zaïre (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Summary of known collectors
Rev P Augustin (Bolton, 1975b; Santschi, 1913c, 1919h, 1924b, 1926a, 1937g); Dr Bayer (Forel, 1913c, 1913h, 1916; Santschi, 1923e, 1926a); J Bequaert (Bolton, 1974a; Brown, 1952e, 1975; Forel, 1913b; 1913c, 1913h; Santschi, 1919h, 1920b, 1920c, 1923e, 1924b, 1926a, 1928d, 1930a, 1935a; Wheeler, 1922); Bergerhoff (Stitz, 1911b); Bondroit (Santschi, 1916b, 1919a, 1926a); Lt Bonnevie (Santschi, 1926a); Dr Bornstein (Santschi, 1923e); J C Bradley (Bolton, 1980, 1983); H Brauns (Mayr, 1895); H J Bredo (Bolton, 1974b; Santschi, 1935a); Comte A de Briey (Forel, 1913h); L Burgeon (Bolton, 1980; Forel, 1913h; Santschi, 1919c, 1923e, 1924b, 1926a, 1926c, 1930a, 1933b, 1935a); F Busschodts (Emery, 1899e; Forel, 1909b); Buttgenbach (Forel, 1909b, 1913b); Buttner (Stitz, 1910); Du Buysson (Santschi, 1938a); Cabra (Forel, 1909b); P Callewaert (Santschi, 1923e, 1924b, 1930, 1935a); de Callone (Santschi, 1923e); R P Celis (Bolton, 1981a); F Chaltin (Santschi, 1919c, 1935a); Charlier (Santschi, 1923e, 1924b); P Charleux (Santschi, 1919h); Dr Christy (Bolton, 1974a; Santschi, 1919c, 1935a, 1937b); A Collart (Brown, 1952e; Bolton, 1975a; Santschi, 1933b, 1937g); P J Curtis (Bolton, 1983); Dr Daniel (Forel, 1911f, 1913h; Wheeler, 1922 list); Degreef (Santschi, 1923e); A Dejean (Bolton, 2002; Dejean, 1994; Taylor, 2005w); Deleval (Forel, 1909b, 1913h; Santschi, 1923e); Dr A Dubois (Bolton, 1980; Forel, 1911f; Santschi, 1937b); Duchesne (Forel, 1909b); Elskens (Santschi, 1920b); A E Emerson (Bolton, 1975a; Weber, 1964); Dr Etienne (Forel, 1910e, 1911f); Fauconnet (Forel, 1910a); Flamand (Forel, 1913h); Lt Floridon (Santschi, 1923e, 1933b); Galli-Valerio (Santschi, 1915c); J de Gaulle (Santschi, 1924a); Dr Gerard (Santschi, 1912d, 1915c, 1916b, 1919c, 1919h, 1920b, 1921c, 1923e, 1926a, 1930a, 1933b, 1935a); J Ghesquiere (Bolton, 1974b; Santschi, 1937g); Gilson (Santschi, 1935a); De Giorgi (Santschi, 1923e, 1924b, 1928f); Goffart (Santschi, 1937a); T Gregg (Bolton, 1975b, 1976,1980, 1981b, 1983; Brown, 1957b); G Hagemann ( (Forel, 1901h); C P Haskins (Bolton, 1975a; Haskins, 1941); F H Hendricks (Weber, 1964); P Hendrard (Bolton, 1973b); R P Hulstaert (Bolton, 1974b); Ct Hutereau (Forel, 1913h; Santschi, 1928f); R F Hutsebaut (Bolton, 1974b); T H E Jackson (Bolton, 1981b); A Jullien (Forel, 1909b); V Kino (Santschi, 1928f); Kinsbergen (Forel, 1909b); H Kohl (Emery, 1908b, 1912b; Forel, 1909b, 1915c, 1916, 1918a, 1920a; Santschi, 1921c, 1926a; Wasmann, 1904b, 1911, 1915b, 1917); N H L Krauss (Bolton, 1974a, 1980, 1981b); A Koller (Forel, 1913h); Lamarche (Forel, 1909b); don Lopez (Forel, 1909b); H O Lang (Bolton, 1980; Santschi, 1926a); Herbert O Lang & James P Chapin (Wheeler, 1922); Laplume (Forel, 1913h); Laurent (Emery, 1899e); N Leleup (Bolton, 1981a; Gotwald, 1976); Lemaire [Lemarinel] (Forel, 1909b); Prince Leopold (Santschi, 1935a); Leplae (Forel, 1913h); Leyder (Forel, 1909b); E Luja (Emery, 1908b; Forel, 1905b, 1909b, 1910e, 1911c, 1911f, 1911h, 1913a, 1913b, 1913h, 1915c; Santschi, 1910c, 1923e, 1924b, 1925c, 1928f, 1930a, 1933b, 1935a; Wasmann, 1904b, 1917; Wheeler, 1922 list); A Machado (Bolton, 1983); A Mackie (Bolton, 1980); Dr J Maes [G Maes] (Forel, 1913h; Santschi, 1930a, 1935a); Majella (Bolton, 1987a; Santschi, 1926a); M Maldague (Bolton, 1981a, 1981b, 1983); R Mayne (Bolton, 1980; Forel, 1911f, 1913h, 1916; Santschi, 1919c, 1923e, 1924b, 1925c, 1926a, 1930a, 1933b, 1935a); Mecklenburg (Forel, 1913h); Le Moult (Santschi, 1937b); Dr Mouchet (Bolton, 1975b; Santschi, 1923e); Dr Murtula (Santschi, 1924b); Myers (Bolton, 1981a); S A Neave (Bolton, 1975); Me de Paoli (Santschi, 1926a); de Pauw ((Forel, 1909b); A Pilette (Santschi, 1919c); Pons (Forel, 1913h); E Poppe (Santschi, 1924b, 1930a); A Raignier & J van Boven (Bolton, 1975a; Raignier & van Boven, 1955); Dr Rechenbach (Santschi, 1924b); A Reichensperger (Santschi, 1928f, 1930a); Dr Rodham (Santschi, 1924b); Rodbain (Santschi, 1933b); Rollin (Forel, 1909b); E S Ross & R E Leech (Bolton, 1974a, 1974b, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981b, 1982, 1987); Rovere (Forel, 1911f, 1913h; Wheeler, 1922 list); Dr Sagona (Santschi, 1924b); H Schouteden (Bolton, 1973b, 1974a, 1980; Santschi, 1923e, 1924a, 1924b, 1926a, 1926b, 1926c, 1928d, 1930a, 1933b, 1935a, 1937a, 1937b); Schubotz (Stitz, 1911b, 1916); Scops (Boven, 1972); Seeldrayers (Emery, 1899e; Wheeler, 1922 list); F Silvestri (Santschi, 1914d); Y Sjöstedt & W Leche (Wheeler, 1925b); Solon (Forel, 1909b); P Staner (Bolton, 1973b); Dr Stappers (Santschi, 1926a, 1928f); R L Steavert ((Bolton, 1980); Lt Styczinski (Forel, 1913h); Tinant (Bolton, 1975a); S D Torti (Bolton, 2000; Taylor, 2005w); Tosquinet (Forel, 1909b); P Vanderijst (Bolton, 1975a; Santschi, 1919c, 1926a,.1928f); P Vanschuytbroeck (Bolton, 1981a); Miss Gert Vinall ((Santschi, 1933b); Waelbroeck (Emery, 1899e); Wasmann (Forel, 1901d); N A Weber (Bolton, 1976, 1980, 1981a, 1982, 1983, 1987; Brown, 1950b, 1952e, 1959c, 1960c, 1975; Weber, 1949a, 1949b, 1950a, 1952); Weyns (Forel, 1909b); M Wilwerth (Emery, 1899e; Santschi, 1910c); G F de Witte (Santschi, 1938a); R P Zimmermann (Santschi, 1937a, 1937b).

As can be seen in the distribution information under the individual species, a good number of the ants of the West African forests can be found also in Zaïre, and, indeed eastwards across the great Congo Basin into the forests of southwest Uganda and Sudan.

Among the most assiduous of early collectors was Father Hermann Kohl, who lived at the St. Gabriel Roman Catholic Mission near Kisangani [then Stanleyville]. He made a particular study of ants inhabiting plants, perhaps in collaboration with a botanist, Professor Laurent, and the ants were identified by Forel (1909b, 1916, etc.). He also collected guests of Dorylus (Anomma) species, as late as 1910 (Wasmann, 1904b, 1911)

An early collector of some significance was Raymond Mayné, Government Entomologist of the then Belgian Congo, who made a special study of insects on cocoa in Mayumbe District. His own publications included those in 1917 and 1934 on insects of cocoa and vegetables (cited in Entwistle, 1972). Mayumbe (or Mayombe) District (5°S, 13°E) was in a region of dense tropical forest, not very far from the coast and lying due north of Boma. Luja had collected myrmecophilous plants in 1903 (in Wheeler, 1922, Part IV by J. Bequaert). Caryl P. Haskins collected in the dense temperate rain forests of the Mikeno Sector, in Ituri Forest (Ituri River, 1°30' N, 26°-30° E) and on the Ruindi Plains during the summer of 1938. He paid particular attention to the formation of colonies by young isolated Ponerine females (see Pachycondyla soror).

The major work beyond any doubt is the massive study, by W.M. Wheeler, of the ants collected by the American Museum Belgian Congo expedition of Herbert O. Lang (a mammalologist) and James P. Chapin (an ornithologist) in 1909-15 (Wheeler's text gives no clear indication of the time scale, but the photographs taken by Lang, have dates which suggest several trips, each from about June to September, in each of the years 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914 and 1915), together with work by Dr. Joseph Bequaert from 1910-1915 (Wheeler, 1922). All four were on the Scientific Staff of the American Museum of Natural History in September 1922. Wheeler provided a Map of collection locations prior to 1920 with the comment - "Those who may believe that little entomological exploration has been carried out in the dark continent will also be astonished when they scan the lists of localities and the names of collectors who have secured the materials for the taxonomists".

Although I have extracted much of the information on the ants, the full text of the expedition reports now (March 2002) has been placed on the web at and is well worth a visit.

Dr H Schouteden, Editor of the Revue Zoologique Africaine, spent much of 1920-22 in the Belgian Congo. The ant specimens he collected and placed in the Museum at Tervueren were identified over several papers by Santschi (1923e, 1933b, 1935a, 1937a).

Albert Raignier and J. van Boven (1955) published the results of a major study of the Driver Ants (Dorylus species) of Yangambi, near Kisangani [Stanleyville]. A description and summary of their very detailed work can be found in the Dorylus (Anomma) chapter.

The general ecology of ants and termites in the forest zone has been described by Dejean et al. (1986) - Mosaics - Zaïre.

{short description of image}Equatorial Guinea = formerly Spanish Guinea, Fernando Po Island & Rio Muni)

Summary of known collectors
Mainland Collectors - de Brazza (Santschi, 1910c); M Boko (Taylor, 2005w); H Brauns (Mayr 1895); H Eidmann (Menozzi, 1942c); L Gain (Santschi, 1924b); Petit & Tschoffen (Forel (1909b): Tessmann (Stitz, 1910);
Annobon I. - Cambridge Univ Exped (Bolton, 1983); L Fea (Bolton, 1983); A Reichensperger (Santschi, 1918c);
Bioko collectors - R Buchholz (Mayr, 1902); G S Cotterell (Bolton, 1980); H Eidmann (Menozzi, 1942c); Helgoland Exp 1886 (Mayr, 1895); L Conradt (Forel, 1901e, Stitz, 1910; Santschi, 1910g, 1924a, 1937b); L Schultze (Forel, 1910; Stitz, 1916); Zenker (Stitz, 1910).

Menozzi (1942) reported collections made by Professor H. Eidmann on the island of Fernando Po (75 species) and at Bata in Equatorial Guinea (16 species), during 1939-1940.


Annobon Island

Santschi (1918c) reported collection of ants on Annobon Island by Reichensperger.

{short description of image}The island of Annobon lies just south of the equator 223 miles off Central Africa’s western coast and to the south-west of Port Gentil, Gabon. It has been Equatorial Guinean territory since 1778 following the Treaty of El Pardo between Portugal and Spain, the former colonial power in Equatorial Guinea. In earlier times the island had considerable strategic significance and was used by European explorers as a stopping point in their expansion throughout Africa, searching for new lands away from home. Of a volcanic origin like her sister islands, Fernando Póo, São Tomé and Principe, Annobon, until the most recent decades, had extraordinary fertile land, abundant rainfall and a variety of food, including plantains, bananas, pineapples, mangos, avocados and many edible tubers typical of the tropics. With a volcanic crater fed by a fresh water lake (Lake Mazufin) that irrigates all its slopes, Annobon had a dense and lush vegetation. During colonial times ships went there from different countries to get timber, cotton and oranges. Today all this activity remains in the world of memories, ever since the accession to power in Guinea, in 1968, of Francisco Macías Nguema and his nephew Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Quote from


Summary of known collectors
J A Barra (Bolton, 1983); H Brauns (Mayr, 1895); Brunck (Bolton, 1980); M Buchner (Forel, 1886f); Buttner (Forel, 1886f); Chalot (Santschi, 1919a); A Dejean (Bolton, 2002); B Delage-Darchen (Delage-Darchen, 1972b); Dinklage (Forel, 1901h); W H Gotwald (Bolton, 1976b, 1981b, 1983); L Fea (Bolton, 1983); F Faure (Santschi, 1919a, 1923e); B L Fisher (Taylor, 2005w); Hupfer (Forel, 1901h); Jullien (Santschi, 1910c); S Lewis (Bolton, 2002): I Lieberburg (Bolton, 1975, 1976b, 1980, 1983, 1987; Snelling, 1979b); A Mocquerys (André, 1892a, 1895a; Emery, 1899e); S van Noort (Taylor, 2005w); H Petersen (Forel, 1901h); F Silvestri (Santschi, 1914d); Soyaux (Forel, 1901h); A Tinant (Bolton, 1973b); A Weiss (Santschi, 1910c); J O Westwood (Savage, 1849c).

São Thomé

Summary of known collectors
J Derron (Bolton, 1983); L Fea (Menozzi, 1922a, 1924b; Bolton, 1983); Gradwell & Snow (Bolton, 1980); Gravier (Santshi, 1915c); B Malkin (Brown, 1952e; Bolton, 1983, 2000); A Mocquerys (Santschi, 1915c); Schubotz (in 1911, Stitz, 1916); de Seabra (Santschi, 1920i; Wheeler, 1922, list).

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