Bothroponera crassa

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Bothroponera crassa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Bothroponera
Species group: sulcata
Species: B. crassa
Binomial name
Bothroponera crassa
(Emery, 1877)

Bothroponera crassa casent0217115 p 1 high.jpg

Bothroponera crassa casent0217115 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

The few collections of B. crassa indicate that it is neither common nor widespread in Africa. Ten males were collected from Kenya, Laikipia District, Mpala Research Centre at night (8:30 to 9:30 pm) where they were flying at lights. (Joma and Mackay 2017)

Identification

Joma and Mackay (2017) - A member of the Bothroponera sulcata species complex. Worker The Bothroponera crassa workers are characterized by being relatively small (total length 6.0 - 8.8 mm), having the anterior medial margin of the clypeus convex with a smooth and shiny medial raised area, but without a clypeal carina (this raised area varies among B. crassa individuals and they may have a small depressed area anteriorly or even a short trough).

The head, pronotum, petiole and postpetiole are roughly sculptured with a few scattered punctures, but not on the 4th to 7th abdominal segments. The mandibles are smooth to striate with scattered punctures. The pronotal humerus is rounded anteriorly. The lateropropodeum is compressed laterally to form a slender lateropropodeum with concave sides as seen from above. The posteropropodeum usually declines gradually. The apex of the petiole is nearly flat with a straight anterior face while it is slightly concave posteriorly (side view). The apex of the petiole is slightly higher than the postpetiole and the dorsopropodeum.

It is difficult to separate B. crassa from Bothroponera ilgii, Bothroponera notaula, Bothroponera silvestrii and Bothroponera kruegeri because these species have similar dorsopropodea and posteropropodea. The total length of the worker of B. crassa ranges from 6.00 - 8.80 mm, which overlaps that of B. ilgii (8.35 - 9.40 mm), B. notaula (7.60 mm), and B. silvestrii (5.25 - 7.05 mm). The obvious characters that can separate those species are the structure of the clypeus and the form of the propodeum. The clypeus of B. crassa always has a smooth and shiny medial raised area, but without a groove in the two type specimens or with no more than a partial clypeal groove in other three specimens from Kenya. On the other hand, the type specimens of B. ilgii have a complete longitudinal shiny raised strip on the anterior medial area of the clypeus that forms a narrowed groove, and this area has a partial groove in the specimens from Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. The anterior medial area of the clypeus of B. notaula forms a shiny smooth longitudinal strip with a clear wide groove. The other character is the structure of the lateropropodeum. This area is laterally compressed in B. crassa, including the three specimens from Kenya, apparently for the positioning of the metafemora (best seen from above). This character separates B. crassa from all of the others in the complex including B. ilgii, B. kruegeri and the B. notaula. Conversely, B. ilgii has a convex lateropropodeum. Finally, the propodeum is subquadrate and angulate between the faces of B. crassa, while it is mostly rounded (broadly curved) in B. ilgii.

Male The head of the B. crassa male is suborbiculate, excluding the mandibles and the mouthparts. The ocelli are relatively large. The notauli are absent on the dorsum of the scutum. The metanepisternum is well developed and distinguished from the propodeum and mesopleuron with a suture, while the metakatepisternum is narrowed and poorly defined. The dorsopropodeum is gradually sloped posteriorly to reach the insertion of the petiole at the lowest medial point of the propodeum. The petiole is small; its width is less than that of the dorsopropodeum (seen from above) and the height is less than the postpetiolar height and with a bluntly rounded apex. The pronotum, scutum, scutellum, propodeum, petiole and postpetiole are roughly sculptured. The postpetiole is rounded anteriorly.

The male of Bothroponera crassa is similar to other known males of the Bothroponera sulcata complex, including B. ilgii, B. kruegeri, B. notaula, Bothroponera ryderae, B. silvestrii, and Bothroponera soror. The notauli are absent in B. crassa and B. ilgii while they are present in B. soror, B. notaula, B. ryderae and B. silvestrii. The notauli in B. kruegeri are not well defined. The pronotum, scutum, scutellum and propodeum are roughly sculptured with a few scattered punctures on surface of B. soror. The petiole and postpetiole with the rest of the gastral segments of B. soror are less sculptured (rough) than they are in B. crassa. The pronotum, scutum, scutellum and propodeum of B. ilgii and B. crassa are rough (not punctuated). The head, pronotum, scutum, scutellum, metanotum, propodeum and petiole of males of B. silvestrii, B. notaula, B. ryderae and B. kruegeri are rough, but shiny while the postpetiole and 4th to 7th abdominal segments are mostly smooth and shiny. The petiole and postpetiole with the rest of gastral segments of B. crassa are similar to that of B. soror (rough); unfortunately, the gaster is missing in the only male specimen of B. ilgii; therefore, the measurement is missing in B. ilgii. The dorsopropodeum gradually slopes posteriorly in B. ilgii and B. crassa similarly to that in B. kruegeri whereas the dorsopropodeum is strongly curved nearly angulate posteriorly in B. soror. The dorsopropodeum in the males of B. notaula and B. ryderae is moderately broadly curved posteriorly to gradually reach the connection of the posteropropodeum with the petiole. The medial ocelli are large in B. crassa (0.20 - 0.25 mm), B. notaula (0.20 - 0.25 mm) and B. kruegeri (0.35 mm), which distinguish them from species with small medial ocelli including B. soror (0.10 - 0.15 mm), B. ryderae (0.16 mm), B. silvestrii (0.12 - 0.13 mm) and B. ilgii (0.17 mm).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Eastern Africa (Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia.

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Biology

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • crassa. Ponera crassa Emery, 1877b: 366, fig. (w.) ERITREA.
    • Combination in Bothroponera: Emery, 1892a: 111.
    • Combination in Pachycondyla (Bothroponera): Emery, 1895a: 177; Emery, 1901a: 46.
    • Combination in Bothroponera: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 73; Santschi, 1930a: 53.
    • Combination in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 304.
    • Combination in Bothroponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 77.
    • See also Joma & McKay 2017: 14.

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

Description

Worker

Joma and Mackay (2017) - (n=4), HL 1.45 - 1.75, HW 1.25 - 1.45, ML 0.75 - 0.95, EW 0.20 - 0.30, EL 0.30 - 0.40, SL 1.20 - 1.45, FL 2.00 - 2.40, WL 2.30 - 2.70, WPL 3.25 - 3.40, PL 0.60 - 0.75, PW 0.85 - 0.90, PH 1.05 - 1.15, CI 82.85 - 86.20, OI 24.00 - 27.58, Mandl 51.72 - 54.28, SI 96.00 - 100.00, Peti 120.00 - 141.66. Head quadrate, mandibles narrow with about 7-8 teeth, compound eyes relatively large; clypeus complex, dorsum shiny, smooth to striate with scattered punctures; scape extends slightly past posterior lateral corner of head; malar space length 0.25 length from upper edge of eye to edge of posterior lateral corner 0.85 mm; pronotal humerus rounded; dorsopropodeum slightly slopes posteriorly to form posteropropodeum; petiole slightly rounded from top, anterior face straight, slightly concave posteriorly, apex of petiole slightly higher than heights of postpetiole and dorsopropodeum; entire body covered with fine hairs; head covered with short erect hairs (less than 0.10 mm); hairs on ventral surface moderately long (0.15 - 0.35 Dorsum of pronotum, propodeum covered with short erect scattered hairs (0.15 mm); petiole postpetiole covered with moderately long erect (0.20 mm); long erect hairs (0.25 mm) arranged edges of posteropropodeum; color of entire body dark reddish-black or dark brownish; legs light brown or reddish brown; mandibles reddish brown.

Male

Joma and Mackay (2017) - (n=14), HL 1.05 - 1.20, HW 0.70 - 0.95, ML 0.25 - 0.35, EW 0.45 - 0.60, EL 0.60 - 0.80, SL 0.25 - 0.35, FL 5.05 - 5.55, WL 2.25 - 2.80, WPL 2.85 - 3.45, PL 0.60 - 0.65, PW 0.55 - 0.65, PH 0.75 - 0.85, CI 66.66 - 79.16, OI 84.21 - 85.71, Mandl 23.80 29.16, SI 35.71 - 36.84, Peti 91.66 - 100.00. length ranges from 5.90 - 7.50 mm; eyes large, cover most of sides of head, distance between 0.65 - 0.70 mm, medial ocellus width 0.20 - mm; scape shorter (0.30 mm) and thicker than second funicular segment, three times longer mm) than first funicular segment; pronotum laterally and rounded anteriorly; dorsum of rounded (side view); scutellum subtriangular elevated in lateral view; metanotum raised between scutellum and propodeum; mesopleuron divided anapleural sulcus to form infra katepisternum supra anepisternum; fine short (less than 0.05 dense hairs cover entire body; moderately long (0.15 - 0.25 mm) scattered on dorsum of scutellum, metanotum, propodeum, petiole, postpetiole, suture between pronotum and scutum; hairs dorsum of scutellum, petiole and ventral surface of postpetiole slightly denser than on other parts; ventral surface of head with moderately long mm) erect hairs; color mostly brown, light brown to yellowish.

Type Material

Eritrea: Bogos, Sciotel, 15°30’0’’ N; 38°14’0’’ E, O. Becaari 1870, type, Ponera crassa: Emery; syntype, Ponera crassa Emery 1877. Museo Civico di Genova (2w, lectotype and paralectotype, here designated, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa).

The type specimens of B. crassa were collected from Sciotel in Eritrea, 15°30'0" N; 38°14'0" E, by Beccari; however, in several publications, the type specimens of B. crassa were reported from Ethiopia.

Determination Clarifications

Joma and Mackay (2017) - The majority of the specimens that were identified as B. crassa in many Museums and in previous studies are similar but are actually Bothroponera crassior (=Bothroponera ilgii) and Bothroponera soror.

References

  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1995a. [Untitled. Taxonomic changes in Pachycondyla attributed to Brown.] Pp. 302-311 in: Bolton, B. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 304, Combination in Pachycondyla; revived combination)
  • Emery, C. 1877a. Catalogo delle formiche esistenti nelle collezioni del Museo Civico di Genova. Parte prima. Formiche provenienti dal Viaggio dei signori Antinori, Beccari e Issel nel Mar Rosso e nel paese dei Bogos. [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 9: 363-368 (page 366, fig. worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1892a. Sopra alcune formiche raccolte dall'Ingegnere L. Bricchetti Robecchi nel paese dei Somali. [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 32[=(2(12): 110-112 (page 111, Combination in Bothroponera)
  • Emery, C. 1895b. Esplorazione del Giuba e dei suoi affluenti compiuta dal Cap. V. Bottego durante gli anni 1892-93 sotto gli auspicii della Società Geografica Italiana. Risultati zoologici. X. Formiche. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 35[=(2(15): 175-184 (page 177, Combination in Pachycondyla (Bothroponera))
  • Emery, C. 1901b. Notes sur les sous-familles des Dorylines et Ponérines (Famille des Formicides). Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 45: 32-54 (page 46, Combination in Pachycondyla (Bothroponera))
  • Joma, A.M.A. & Mackay, W.P. 2017. Revision of the African ants of the Bothroponera sulcata species complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society. 143:7-71.
  • Santschi, F. 1930a. Description de Formicides éthiopiens nouveaux ou peu connus. V. Bull. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 70: 49-77 (page 53, Combination in Bothroponera)
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa. 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922b. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. II. The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 39-269 (page 73, Combination in Bothroponera)