The Ants of Africa
Genus Myrmicaria
Myrmicaria fumata Santschi

Myrmicaria fumata Santschi

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Ivory Coast (Myrmicaria nitida Stitz var. brunnea, n. var., Santschi, 1915c: 254, worker; redefined as variety fumata Santschi, 1916d: 242, raised to species by Santschi, 1925c: 160), from near Dimbroko, by Posth, 1910 - see below
junior synonym (here) linearis (Santschi, 1925c: 161, illustrated, worker) from Zaïre, collected at Bokala by R. Mayné - see
worker only described (see Bolton, 1995) .

{Myrmicaria fumata}Santschi's (1915c) description is at {original description}.

Santschi (1925c) examining a single worker from Dimbroko, Ivory Coast, apparently the specimen of his 1915 description, had the following description (most of the comparison being with Myrmicaria natalensis) -
TL 5.6 mm. Colour dark brown red; shiny. Sculpturation of head as in natalensis but occipitum with more numerous (12-13) and more parallel rugae. The median carina and the two adjacent rugae are closer together and more distinct; transverse ridge on vertex more distinct and sinuous. Alitrunk sculpture distinctive with the median carina extending back across the two faces of the mesonotum; and the bordering rugae extend forward onto the pronotum; being strong and parallel bifurcating anteriorly towards the pronotal anterior border and anastomosing with their neighbours. Inter-rugal spaces are smooth on each side of the median ruga but a little striated around the promesonotal suture and inequally rugose in the outer areas of the pronotum. The ridge delimiting the faces of the mesonotum is somewhat advanced medially. Sides of thorax with spaced striations, with large smooth spaces, specially posteriorly. Both pedicel nodes with several rugae. Funiculus striated. Remainder smooth together with the tarsi and base of the gaster. Erect pilosity rust coloured, much shorter and sparser.
Head more rectangular, the eyes nearer the posterior border. Clypeus smooth subcarinate. Funiculus segments shorter. Pronotum narrower and less transversely convex, sides more clearly edged. Promesonotal suture well defined. Lobes of mesonotum and propodeum similar in profile. Petiole node as in striata but remainder as natalensis.

Myrmicaria fumnata linearis profileHis earlier description (1915c) of it as "M. nitida var. brunnea) was -
TL 5.6; brownish as gracilis Stitz. Shiny. Rugae on head slightly stronger than on striata Stitz. Median ruga of promesonotum well marked, bifurcated on anterior of pronotum as in nitida. Propdeum dorsum very convex, smooth and shiny. Petiole nodes shiny with feeble longitudinal rugae. Base of gaster feebly reticulate (punctate in nitida). Head more obviously rectangular, posterior and lateral borders straighter. Thorax relatively slimmer. Propodeal spines slightly arcuate, and divergent, rectilinear and horizontal in profile. Petiole slightly longer and higher. Single worker from near Dimbroko, Ivory Coast, Posth, 1910.

Santschi (1933b: 105), reporting 6 workers collected tending aphids on cotton at Ibadan, Nigeria, noted the rugae were quite variable on the pronotum and occipitum; the median line on the mesonotum does not always descend on the declivity but is bifurcate; the head and middle of the gaster are brown; TL 5.2-5.6; the second segment of the funiculus is a little longer than the third which is as short as in foreli.

Bernard (1952) described this as a rare form known from Congo and Guinea. Four workers were collected at N'Zo (a dry forest area) by Lamotte. A further record was of a single queen taken at Oubangui (location?) by A. Hollande, which extended its distribution eastwards.

Santschi's (1925c) description of subspecies linearis
TL 4.5-7.5 mm.
The main difference (from Santschi's key) are - colour a lighter red brown, gaster often more. Pronotal rugae more numerous and less well-defined. Propodeal dorsum raised and slightly concave anteriorly. Also no well-defined ridge between dorsum and declivity of mesonotum.

{Myrmicaria fumata}While collating distribution records (March 2006), I realised the identification I had from Bolton (1978, in litt.) of Nigerian specimens as striata was almost certainly wrong and that what I had studied, drawn and described was fumata. That is West African as opposed to Myrmicaria striata which is from southern Africa.

Nigeria specimen (as Myrmicaria striata in Taylor, 1980a: 9). WORKER. TL 5.57 mm, HL 1.24, HW 1.24, SL 1.03, PW 0.90
Colour dark brown, shiny. Head and alitrunk, especially the dorsum, are longitudinally rugose. Mesonotum with a lamellate lateral margin. Propodeal spines moderately long, acute and flat to down-turned. Petiole and postpetiole with rounded nodes.

{Myrmicaria fumata}The photomontage of the type worker is collated from

In Nigeria it was ground nesting, preferring bare, insolated soil (pictured left). Will construct sunken runways in soil surface. At the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Idi Ayunre, it was fairly common, on 0.1-1.0% of cocoa trees, tending aphids and stictococcids on cocoa flowers and pods, and constructing tents of "mortared" soil (pictured right). Some of the tents were associated with cocoa black pod infections, it was frequently on the trees together with Camponotus acvapimensis, see E5/1 study (Taylor & Griffin, 1981). In other cocoa areas of western Nigeria it appeared to be much less common. Earlier from CRIN, perhaps on > 0.25% of cocoa in pkd collections from two cocoa blocks, W13/2 and W18/1 (Booker 1968), and Eguagie (1971) found it at Ilugun near Ibadan. {nest of Myrmicaria striata in soil} {tent over aphids or stictococcids on cocoa pod}

Lévieux (1983a) mentions it (as striata) as one of the two genus members populating the savannah in Ivory Coast, where its nests were hardly noticeable from the surface, being hidden under ground. He commented that little else was known of its biology.

Oxford University Museum specimens

Myrmicaria fumata
B Taylor det.
B Ndiaye

13°16'0" N
12°6'0" W
Bransan 12-V-09 St 9 P10B
Soudanian savannah, pitfall traps
Myrmicaria fumata
B Taylor det.

J-F Vayssieres
RVA 3094.1
10°40'05'' N
01°18'14'' E
Acacia dudgeoni
234 m asl


{Myrmicaria fumata} The photomontage is of workers from Senegal, Bransan; collector B Ndiaye

{Myrmicaria fumata} The photomontage is of a major worker from Benin, Tanquiéta; collector J-F Vayssieres (RVA 3094).

{Myrmicaria fumata} The photomontage is of a minor worker from Benin, Tanquiéta; collector J-F Vayssieres (RVA 3094). Matches the type worker (shown above).

© 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.