The Ants of Africa
Genus Oecophylla
Oecophylla textor Santschi - new status

textor-group - one species - textor

Oecophylla textor Santschi - new status

return to key Type location Zanzibar or Kenya (Oecophylla smaragdina stirps longinoda Latr., var. textor nov., Santschi, 1914b: 128) collectors Alluaud & Jeannel - see below.
Note - the type location is wrongly given as Zaïre by Bolton (1995), presumably a misreading of Wheeler's catalogue list (1922: 947) .

{Oceophylla longinoda textor}Santschi's (1914b) description of textor is at {original description}.

Also known from "British East Africa" - Kenya, locations near Mombasa (Allaud & Jeannel).

Overall, Oecophylla textor appears to be more closely related to Oecophylla smaragdina than the West Africa/Congo Basin Oecophylla longinoda. In full face view the head, clypeus, mandibles and antennae are similar, but with smaragdina the head profile is more bulbous, in full face view the occiput is near straight; the propodeum is angular and the petiole both more slender and shallower (see below).

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

{short description of image}Weber (1946c) wrote of "Dimorphism in the African Oecophylla worker" as if it was an unknown phenomenon - {original description}. The sole reference (apart from his own report on the ants of the Imatong Mountains) was to the summary in Wheeler (1922). It seems that Weber was unaware of the earlier work, e.g. 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 {original description}.

Of particular interest, here, is that Weber studied mainly specimens from his own collections in southern Sudan (now South Sudan). He described and illustrated the Sudan specimens and referred to others sent to him from Tchole I and Mafia I, both off the coast of Tanzania, "supposedly belonging to the variety textor". The overall shape of Weber's maxima specimens, specially the lateral alitrunk and petiole, matches Santschi's textor and the specimens sent to me from South Sudan (below). Weber also described the gaster as distinctly paler ferruginous (than Wheeler's typical longinoda), adding that after chloroforming the gaster became distinctly darker than the rest of the body and became distinctly ringed. The shading in Way's drawing and my photographs both show exactly that banding.

{Oecophylla textor} The species, as Oecophylla longinoda var. textor was extensively studied in Zanzibar by M J Way, who followed the Wheeler (1922) concept of there being five varieties of Oecophylla longinoda (Way, 1955). He provided the drawings of the workers and (in his paper) sexual forms. When the images are overlaid the major worker exactly matches the Sudan specimen shown below.

Menozzi & Consani (1952: 69) also had recorded Oecophylla longinoda textor (citing Wheeler, 1922, as their authority), three workers, from Meule in Ethiopia, collected by the Zavattari Expedition of 1939.

{Oecophylla textor}The photomontage of the type major worker is collated from

Oxford University Museum specimens

Oecophylla textor
B Taylor det.
South Sudan
A Omer
S 1-23

4.5705556 N
28.4163889 E
on a lianescent plant
Ebodjé, or Ebodie
70 m from village; flat terrain

Oecophylla textor
B Taylor det.
Serge Guiraud

Mago N P
05°40' N
36°10' E
10 h
hand collected


{Oecophyylla textor}Photomontage of specimen from South Sudan, Yambio; collector Awatif Omer, 2006, Sudan 23_01. This matches the Santschi's description and the Way drawing (above).

{Oecophyylla textor}Photomontage of specimen from Ethiopia, Parc Mago; Yambio; collector Sege Guirard

{Oecophylla textor }The photomontage of a worker from Tanzania that I consider to be textor is collated from Although seemingly smaller than those above the overall shape and proportions match exactly.

© 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014 - Brian Taylor CBiol FSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.