The Ants of Africa
Genus Lepisiota
Lepisiota cacozela (Santschi)

Petiole with no more than denticles

Body colour black; with slender pale long, erect hairs; ovoid heads - canescens-group

Lepisiota cacozela (Santschi)

return to key Major return to key Minor {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Congo (Acantholepis capensis Mayr stirps canescens Emery var. cacozela nov., Santschi, 1914b: 124 in key, worker, 1914d: 378; Acantholepis capensis var. cacozela, Stitz, 1916: 395, worker; raised to species Santschi, 1935a: 270; Bolton, 1995, gives a misleading attribution to Stitz, 1916: 295, who merely used the name when identifying a specimen) .

{Lepisiota cacozela petiole}Santschi's (1914b) description is at {original description}. As extracted from key couplets, this is -
WORKER - Petiole scale with a thick profile and only weakly emarginate; alitrunk stocky; base colour black; erect pilosity of whitish, more or less fine, long and abundant hairs; quite shiny; scape with non-erect pubescence, which is shorter on the legs and genae.

Santschi (1935a: 270) had the illustration (right) of the petiole scale and noted how it differed from Lepisiota albata in having a face which narrows anteriorly. From my drawing, etc., the scale shape and general appearance suggests that my Lepisiota species T² (below) may be this species.

Wheeler (1922) listed it from Nigeria, collected at Olokemeji by F. Silvestri; and Zaïre but had it as a variety of Lepisiota canescens, noting that it had longer hairs than the typical canescens and the petiolar scale was thickened at the summit, with scarcely an excised border. Workers were taken from the hollow stem of an unidentified plant.

My feeling is that is a forest zone species whereas the similar but duller looking Lepisiota canescens is a sudano-savannah species.

{Lepisiota cacozela} The photomontage of the type worker is collated from

Oxford University Museum specimens

{Lepisiota cacozela}Nigeria specimens (as Acantholepis species T² and T³, Taylor, 1978: 39). These seem to represent two species; with T² having a single morph (as is typical for the genus) and T³ having a minor morph of similar characters but slightly smaller and a much larger major morph.

T² morph. TL 2.61 mm, HL 0.67, HW 0.62, CI 92, SL 0.76, SI 123, PW 0.44
T³ MINOR. TL 2.36 mm, HL 0.59, HW 0.54, CI 92, SL 0.67, SI 124, PW 0.39
T³ MAJOR. TL 3.21-3.60 mm, HL 0.90-0.99, HW 0.93-1.14, CI 103-115, SL 0.76-0.90, SI 79-82, PW 0.53-0.54
Generally black, with lighter extremities, yellow-brown on tarsi, shiny.
T² and T³ minor with abundant long, white erect hairs. Propodeal prominences moderately acute. Petiole a thick almost emarginate scale; suggestive of it being cacozela.

{Lepisiota species T3}T³ major more massive with a large head which is greater in width than in length. Very abundant long, white erect hairs and long white pilosity on head and alitrunk. Petiole with the dorsal margin straight to slightly concave.

Apart from the curious dimorphism of T³, which seems unusual for the genus, there is a behavioural separation with T² being more common, especially on cocoa in Nigeria, where it can be a sub-dominant, with Crematogaster africana, on 5-10% of trees; and at 53/76 farms (combined result with Lepisiota species, formerly capensis, see above) (Taylor, 1977; Taylor & Adedoyin, 1978). Both forms, however, will tend aphids and coccids, and build tents of vegetable and other debris. Also found foraging on native herbaceous vegetation and trees, and on cashew and kola.

Major workers

{Lepisiota cacozela major} The photomontage is of a major worker from Liberia; collector E Poirier (Yekepa Camp 4 SLAM 4).

Note: A major worker from Ivory Coast shown at and labelled as "Lepisiota megacephala" in Barry Bolton's handwriting is identical to this and the major from Ghana (below).

{Lepisiota cacozela major} The photomontage is of a major worker collected in Ghana by S Sky Stephen, 2006.

Minor workers

{Lepisiota cacozela minor}The photomontage is of a minor worker collected in Ghana by S Sky Stephen, 2006.

{Lepisiota cacozela minor}The photomontage is of  specimens from Congo, Dzio-Dzio, Ngabe, Région de Pool; 3°29'33" S 15°18'33" E; 7 October 2007; collected by sweep netting (fauchage); Yves Braet.

{Lepisiota cacozela}The photomontage is of a specimen from Benin; Collection details - Bonou, Forêt de Gnanhouizoumè, 06°50-55 N 02°20-30'E; Pitfall trap; S Tchibozo; 27.viii.2006.

{Lepisiota cacozela}The photomontage is of a specimen from Cameroun, Awae II; 3°54’30”N 11°25’58”E; highland area; elevation 437 m; aspirator in fallow ; 17.xii.2006; coll. A Fotso Kuate (fk label schoutedeni).

{Lepisiota sp ivo 2 The photomontage of what appears to be cacozela is derived from images at - originals by Gary Alpert, Harvard University; Ivory Coast specimens.

© 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.