The Ants of Africa
Genus Oecophylla
Oecophylla longinoda sensu strictu (Latreille)

longinoda-group - one and possibly more species - longinoda

Oecophylla longinoda sensu strictu (Latreille)

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Senegal (Formica longinoda, Latreille, 1802c, worker; minor described as Oecophylla brevinodis nov sp, André, 1890: 313) - no images on Antweb (October 2014), brevinodis see below .

{Oecophylla longinoda in Nigeria}The original description by Latreille (1802c) is at {original description}.
My translation) is -

"The long-node ant (la Fourmi long-noeud). Formica longinoda
Rust-coloured, elongated; long antenna, with the first segment red; head large; petiole scale long, gaster small.
Rufescens elongata; antennis longis, primo articulo rufo; capite magno; squam elongata; abdomine parvo.
TL 0.007 m - she is rust-red or pale chestnut, almost glabrous, elongated. The antennae are long, of a redddish-yellow, with the first joint of a brighter colour. The head is large, wider than the alitrunk ("corcelet"), almost heart-shaped, convex and rounded posteriorly. The anterior (clypeus) without carinae, and the frontal area with a feeble notch. The mandibles are strong, triangular, concolorous with the body, meeting against each other on the interior border, hooked, with the apices crossing. The eyes are quite large and blackish. The alitrunk is raised, and rounded anteriorly, narrowed in its middle, behind with inequalities in its narrowing; the posterior extremity also is a little raised, rounded and finishing with a slope. The (petiole) scale is cuneiform and elongated towards the apex; there is a quite large gap between the scale and the gaster, which is small and near round. The legs are long, pale yellowish-red.
This species lives in Senegal. Specimen in the national Museum of Natural History".

Bolton (1995: 298) shows longinoda as reduced to a junior synonym of virescens (i.e. smaragdina) by F Smith (1858b: 29) but resurrected to species by Dalla Torre (1893: 176). Dalla Torre's contribution was solely to catalogue species and there was no argued knowledge. Dalla Torre cited "Oecophylla longinoda Gerstaecker, v.d.Deceken: Ost-Afrika. Gliedertheiere, 1873, p. 343, n.44". An alternative and earlier reference is Gerstaecker (1871: 354), nominally reporting insects from Zanzibar (as then understood), which include - "Oecophylla longinoda Latr., Hist. nat. d. Fourm. p. 184, pl.XI, fig. 72 (= Form virescens Smith, pars). Von Mombas". Looking at F Smith (1860b: 101), where he wrote on the genus Oecophylla, it appears he had seen only specimens from South Africa. It seems possible that the specimens were of Oecophylla textor, which I suggest as probably a distinct species closer to smaragdina than to the type longinoda].

Andre's (1890) description of the minor worker, thinking it was a distinct species, Oecophylla brevinodis, from among the major workers of "Oecophylla smaragdina" from Sierra Leone, is at {original description}.

Emery's (1892d) note, including the queen, linking the minor and major workers, and remarks on the Esat African form as nearer smaragdina, is at {original description}.

{short description of image}Wheeler (1922) gave rather a vague description of the typical form. He wrote of differences from smaragdina but one can extract -

The integument is more decidedly opaque; the mandibles are somewhat more coarsely striated, always darker, being concolorous with the posterior portion of the head, at least in the large workers, and especially in the dark varieties. As to the female the wing veins are heavily bordered with dark brown; and the bases of the second and following gastric segments are broader, darker and more sharply marked off; the green portions of the typical female are more olivaceous and less pea-green; and the basal bands of the gaster are more exposed and brownish; the appendages are more brownish. The male (TL 6-6.5 mm) is darker and more blackish. The workers he separated by a key [see hs text, link below].

Thus, the typical worker is the ferruginous (rust-coloured) form. On size variation Wheeler is somewhat vague, writing - "In the worker the polymorphism is greater [than smaragdina], for not only do the individuals of the same colony show a greater range in size (from 3 to 9 mm) but the minimae differ more from the mediae and maximae in the shape of the thorax and petiole".
Wheeler's full commentary (1922: 224-231) can be seen at {original description}.

{Oecophylla longinoda nest} In Nigeria the only form I ever saw was of what I take as the typical variety; these are shown in my drawing (above) and the enlargement of my photograph of a nest in a cocoa tree.

DESCRIPTION - (type form, CRIN Nigeria, Taylor, 1978: 33) dimorphic, with a subsidiary polymorphy within the major form of, at least, some varieties.
Major worker - TL 8.04 mm, HL 1.71, HW 1.62, SL 2.49, PW 0.93
Minor worker - TL 4.56 mm, HL 1.09, HW 1.06, SL 0.96, PW 0.59

Gotwald (1973) examined the mouthparts of major workers from Ghana, see {original description}. The general features of the head mouthparts in his illustrations (Fig. 1 & 5) match those of what I regard as the type form.

{Oecophylla longinoda brevinodis}The photomontage of a brevinodis type (minor) worker is collated from

Oxford University Museum specimens

{Oecophylla longinoda type minima}MINIMA - The photomontages are of workers collected in Cameroun - south-western tropical coastal forest area between Edéa and Campo (McKey Wolbachia project, Cameroon 01).

Note the close-up of the head surface texture which has no sculpturation other than the fine micro-reticulation, whereas the possible claridens (Cameroon 56) has distinct but scattered shallow pits.

{Oecophylla longinoda major} MAJOR

{Oecophylla longinoda type major} The photomontage is of a major worker from the Central African Republic, Dzanga-Sangha NP; collector Philippe Annoyer (CAR DF).

{Oecophylla longinoda type queen} The photomontage is of a queen from Liberia, Yekepa Camp 4; collector E Poiriet (CAR DF).

{Oecophylla longinoda type male} The photomontage is of a male from Benin, Koro; collector J-F Vayssieres (RVA 3040).

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