The Ants of Africa
Genus Lepisiota
Lepisiota laevis (Santschi) - revived status

Petiole with no more than denticles

Small black species - very small TL 1.7 mm

Lepisiota laevis (Santschi) - revived status

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Senegal (Acantholepis laevis n. sp., Santschi, 1913c: 312, illustrated, worker; stirps of simplex Santschi, 1914d: 378; status as species, Santschi, 1935a: 278; as ssp of capensis, Bernard & Cagniant, 1963: 163) collected at St. Louis by Claveau - see below
variety specularis (Acantholepis laevior Santschi (= laevis) st. specularis n. st., Santschi, 1935a: 278, worker; ssp "current status", Bolton, 1995: 228) from Zare - link below
worker only described .

{Lepisiota laevis}Santschi's (1913c) description is on {original description} Santschi's (1935a) description of specularis is on {original description}

WORKER - TL 1.7 mm; clypeus with strong carina and arcuate anterior margin; mandibles smooth; eyes occupy about one-third of side of head; scapes surpass occiput by about 1/3 of own length; petiole scale narrowed apically, slightly scalloped and somewhat inclined; pale or whitish erect pilosity, short thick hairs are whitish on gaster and around mouth; very shiny; black, basal third of scapes and tarsi clear yellow brown, rest of antennae and legs brown.

Bernard & Cagniant (1963: 163) gave no authority for regarding laevis as a subspecies of capensis, but noted this small (less than canescens) and very shiny form is very common in the plains of black Africa.  The true capensis have short dark erect hairs.

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

The type worker of specularis can be seen at Apart from being slightly larger, as shown also by the range of fresh workers below, this appears identical to the laevis type worker.

Santschi's (1935a) description of specularis was - WORKER TL 2 mm; head rectangular, slightly longer than wide, but as wide apically as posteriorly; sides convex, occiput and posterior corners slightly rounded; eyes larger than one-third the sides and set at midpoint of face; in full face view the eyes just reach the sides of the face; clypeus convex and faintly carinate, anterior border very arcuate; postclypeal notch short and feeble; frontal carinae as long as the eye, more spaced and longer; scapes surpass occipital border by less than one third their length; funiculus segments 2 and 3 less than quarter longer than wide; together a little longer than segment 1; alitrunk short, pronotum slightly wider than long, widest anteriorly; metanotum shorter than mesonotum, spiracles moderately raised; propodeum dorsum slightly raised above axis of alitrunk profile; twice as wide anteriorly as the median width; dorsally convex transversely and longitudinally; posteriorly slightly concave between the angles, which spread as short obtuse cones; petiole scale feebly excised and subdentate; several long hairs on genae and at the apex of the gaster, other short hairs on the gaster; pubescence very short and very sparse; smooth and very shiny except mesonotum and propodeum which were somewhat reticulo-punctate and matt; black, mandibles, distal scape and tarsi yellow.
Santschi regarded it as a form intermediate to Lepisiota simplex and Lepisiota laevis. With simplex the head is bigger and more narrow anteriorly and rounded behind the eyes; plus a smaller pronotum. With laevis the antennae are entirely yellow and the scape longer, pronotum as simplex. With tenuipilis the eyes are set more forward, the gaster pilosity is more abundant, longer and finer. With Lepisiota minuta the scape is shorter. It also resembles Lepisiota curta Emery (type location Somalia) by its pronotum, but that is more sculptured and the head is narrower.

Oxford University Museum specimens

{Lepisiota laevis}The photomontage is of a worker from Senegal, Dakar, collector David King (King 01-06). 

{Lepisiota laevis} The photomontage is of a specimen from Ghana, collected by S Sky Stephens (06G0020).

Lepisiota laevis SudanThe photomontage is of a worker from Sudan, Kordofan, El Ain, near El Obeid; collector J Mathews JM 092).

{Lepisiota laevis minor}The photomontage is of  specimens from Congo, Dzio-Dzio, Ngabe, ; collector Yves Braet.

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