The Ants of Africa
Genus Meranoplus
Meranoplus inermis Emery

Meranoplus inermis Emery

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location South Africa (Meranoplus inermis n. sp., Emery, 1895h: 41, illustrated, promesonotal shield only worker) from Makapan
junior synonyms
affinis (Meranoplus nanus Ern. André subspec. similis nova, Karavaiev, 1931d: 44, illustrated, worker; replacement name for unavailable similis by Baroni Urbani, 1971b: 361) from Kenya, Mabira
kiboshana (Meranoplus nanus André var. Kiboshana n. var., Forel, 1907a: 12, worker) from Kenya, Kibosho, Katona
nanior (Meranoplus nanus André subsp. nanior n. subsp., Forel, 1907a: 12, worker; Viehmeyer, 1922: 309, queen) from Kenya, Mto-ya-kifaru, Katona
soriculus (Meranoplus nanus Ern. André subspecies soriculus new subspecies, Wheeler, 1922: 184, illustrated, worker & queen) from Zaïre, Akavubi, Lang & Chapin
(see Bolton, 1995) .

{Meranoplus inermis}Emery's (1895h) description is at {original description}. Arnold (1917: 365) gave a translation, this is at {original description}. Forel's (1907a) description of nanior and kiboshana is at {original description}. Arnold (1917: 366) gave an illustrated translation of nanior, this is at {original description}. Karavaiev's (1931d) illustrated description of "similis" is at {original description}. Bolton's modern description (1981a) is at {original description}

{Meranoplus inermis}The photomontage of the type worker is collated from

{Meranoplus inermis} Nigeria specimen (Taylor, 1979: 63). WORKER. TL 2.8 mm, HL 0.70, HW 0.72, SL 0.37, PW 0.78 (previously in my guide as Meranoplus nanus).
Colour brown. Faint longitudinal, widely spaced rugae on the head and dorsal promesonotum. Clypeal margin shallowly concave. Posterior margin of promesonotal shelf with an outer pair of large blunt teeth and an inner pair of smaller, sharper teeth. Circular spiracle openings laterally at the junction of the pro- and mesonotum, median circular light area near the border of the posterior shelf or shield.

Bolton (1981a, illustrated, alitrunk profile and a range of variations in the promesonotal shield) described it as one of the two commonest members of the genus in Africa; found nesting in the ground in wooded or forested areas almost throughout the continent. Wheeler (1922) illustrated (left) and described the subspecies soriculus noting that Mr. Lang reported that these ants "build small crater nest in the plantations", the nest being some 7 cm wide and no more than 15 cm deep.

{Meranoplus inermis} In Nigeria, collected from under a rotten banana stem at CRIN (B. Bolton). Elsewhere in Nigeria at Mokwa (C. Longhurst) and Ile-Ife (J.T. Medler) (Bolton, 1981a).

In Ghana, Strickland (1948, 1951a) described it (as M. nanus) as not being found in his quantitative work, but collected three times at CRIG, twice attending a mixed colony of aphids and mealybugs (Planococcoides njalensis) on cocoa. Bolton (1981a) listed findings at Kibi and Asamankese (D. Leston; CRIG (H.E. Box); and Mampong (P. Room). The last presumably was from those collected from open ground at the Mampong Cemetery farm (Room, 1971). Belshaw & Bolton (1994) collected a single specimen from leaf litter at CRIG, commenting that this was the sole Ghanaian species.

{Meranoplus inermis variant}

Meranoplus inermis variant (previously Meranoplus species T¹)

Nigeria specimen (Taylor, 1979: 63)TL 2.68 mm, HL 0.73, HW 0.68, SL 0.37, PW 0.70
Very similar to M. inermis but generally longer and slimmer in dorsal view, also with somewhat longer, finer and more abundant hairs. Colour dark brown. Posterior margin of promesonotal shelf with a single pair of moderately large teeth. Promesonotal suture more clearly marked, lateral spiracle opening incised in the shelf margin. Clypeal margin near straight.

In Nigeria, I collected it several times tending aphids on cocoa flowers. Several features seem to separate this from the other M. inermis, although the description by Bolton (1981a) has several plastic points, e.g. "Anterior half of clypeus usually shallowly concave between the carinae" and his comments on smaller specimens mainly cover the T¹ differences. The key defining feature of the species is the lack of propodeal spines. Bolton (1981a) listed one of my specimens as among the inermis findings. From his full description of inermis it is clear that this variant has all the characters which he noted for "smaller individuals". The promesonotal shield, moreover, clearly differs from any of the four variants which he illustrated.

Oxford University Museum specimens

Meranoplus inermis
B Taylor det.
J-F Vayssieres
RVA 2925
09°22'13'' N
02°40'16'' E
Mangifera indica orchard
Quadrat  1, tube 6, variété: Eldon
Ground nesting

Meranoplus inermis
B Taylor det.

A Fotso Kuate
Meranoplus inermis

Awae II
03°54'30" N
11°25'58" E
Quadrat in fallow
Meranoplus inermis
B Taylor det.
Central African Republic
P Annoyer reduviid-07

02°50’01.8" N
16°08’13.7" E
Camp 3, on a reduviid bug

{Meranoplus inermis}The photomontage is of a worker from Benin; Korobouro; collector J-F Vayessieres (RVA2925).

{Meranoplus inermis}The photomontage is of a worker from Cameroun; Awae II; collector A Fotso Kuate (FK Meranoplus inermis)

{Meranoplus inermis}The photomontage is of a worker from the Central African Republic, Dzanga-Sangha National Park; collector Philippe Annoyer (CAR Camp 3). 

{Meranoplus inermis soriculus}The photomontage of a cotype of soriculus is collated from The Smithsonian Institute images at

Wheeler's (1922) illustrated description is at {original description}.

{Meranoplus inermis}The photomontage is collated from Collection Information: Specimen Code CASENT0406910; Locality Central African Republic: Prefecture Sangha-Mbaéré: Parc National Dzanga-Ndoki, Mabéa Bai, 21.4 km 53° NE Bayanga; 03°02'00"N 016°24'36"E 510 m; Collection codes: BLF04000; Date: 1-7 May 2001; Collected by: B.L.Fisher; Method: EC19 sifted litter; Habitat: rainforest; Transect Type: MW 50; sample transect, 5m;Transect Sample No.: L.O.

© 2008, 2011, 2013 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
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