The Ants of Africa
Genus Petalomyrmex
Petalomyrmex phylax Snelling

Petalomyrmex phylax Snelling

return to key {link to the Hymenoptera Name Server} Type location Cameroun (Snelling, 1979b: 5, illustrated, all forms) - paratype see
All forms described .

{short description of image}Snelling's definition is at {original description}.

WORKER - TL 1.78-2.46 mm; HL 0.457-0.542; HW 0.328-0.376; SL 0.337-0.414 (Gaume, McKey & Anstett, 1997; Meunier et al., 1999).

Oxford University Museum specimens

Petalomyrmex phylax
B Taylor det.

McKey Project


{Petalomyrmex phylax}Closely related to Aphomomyrmex afer, the only other African member of the Tribe. Both ant species are inhabitants of subspecies of the forest understorey tree Leonardoxa africana and have been extensively studied by Doyle McKey and colleagues - see McKey studies for details and reference list.

P. phylax is found solely as an occupant of domatia of the L. africana subspecies africana (ssp L4 or T4 in earlier papers), which is as very specialised myrmecophyte apparently with an obligate mutualistic relationship with this sole species of ant. Another ant, Cataulacus mckeyi, also is found solely as an occupant of L. africana africana but this ant is thought to be a parasite of the Leonardoxa-Petalomyrmex relationship benefitting from the association with the tree but conveying no benefit on its host.

As the host tree is found only in a limited area of coastal rain forest in Cameroun (approximately that shown as the "area of 2001 collections" in Map 7, the geographical range of the ant is pretty well known - from ca 428'N to 234'N, and no further than 1025'E.

The photomontage is of worker of this very small species that was sent to me by Professor Doyle McKey.

{Petalomyrmex phylax queen}The photomontage of a queen is collated from

{Petalomyrmex phylax male}The photomontage of a male is collated from

Contents Subfamily Formicinae
2007, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2018 - Brian Taylor CBiol FRSB FRES
11, Grazingfield, Wilford, Nottingham, NG11 7FN, U.K.