Anoplolepis steingroeveri

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Anoplolepis steingroeveri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Anoplolepis
Species: A. steingroeveri
Binomial name
Anoplolepis steingroeveri
(Forel, 1894)

Anoplolepis steingroeveri casent0217598 p 1 high.jpg

Anoplolepis steingroeveri casent0217598 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


One of a few species of common, abundant Anoplolepis species in southern Africa that are well known - as pugnacious ants - to people living in areas where these ants occur. Anoplolepis steingroeveri are agressive, fast moving ants. When sensing anything that can be perceived as a threat workers will swarm and attack. Honeydew is part of their diet and Anoplolepis steingroeveri tending of honeydew producing pest species can lead to these ants causing problems in some agricultural settings.



Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia (type locality), South Africa.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb



Prins 1983. Figure 4 - Proventriculus.



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

  • steingroeveri. Plagiolepis steingroeveri Forel, 1894b: 72 (w.) NAMIBIA. Emery, 1895h: 44 (q.); Arnold, 1922: 591 (q.m.). Combination in Plagiolepis (Anoplolepis): Santschi, 1914b: 123; in Plagiolepis (Zealleyella): Arnold, 1922: 590; in Anoplolepis: Emery, 1925b: 18; in Anoplolepis (Zealleyella): Santschi, 1926a: 14. Senior synonym of braunsi: Prins, 1982: 217. Current subspecies: nominal plus gertrudae, parsonsi.
  • braunsi. Plagiolepis braunsi Forel, 1913a: 141 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Combination in Plagiolepis (Anoplolepis): Santschi, 1914b: 123; in Plagiolepis (Zealleyella): Arnold, 1922: 592; in Anoplolepis: Emery, 1925b: 17. Junior synonym of steingroeveri: Prins, 1982: 217.

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



Prins (1982) - TL 2,9-8,0 mm; L 1,80-3,90 mm; HL 0,76-1,80 mm; ED 0,52-1,36 mm; CL 0,22-0,60 mm; SL 0,88-1,64 mm; WL 1,16-2,24 mm; MFL 0,76-1,64 mm; HFL 1,04-2,08 mm; PL 0,14-0,36 mm; CI 100,0-111,1; SI 82,0-115,8; CLI 213,3-272,7; CTI 65,5-80,4; TI 41,4-55,4; PI 142,9-188,9; HFI 89,7-92,9.

Polymorphic as in case of the common pugnacious ant and usually somewhat darker in colour, varying from reddish-brown to almost piceous-brown or blackish-brown, and also more shiny. In major workers sides of the head, seen from above, more convex than in Anoplolepis custodiens; clypeus in lateral view also more convex medially, its anterior border, seen from above, more arcuate. The major workers are fairly easily distinguished from those of A. custodiens by the absence of the chequered pattern on the abdomen due to the fact that the pubescent hairs are arranged only in one direction on each side of the median line. On the abdomen of the minors, however, there are less pubescent hairs and they are also more shiny; they are therefore sometimes confused with the workers of the black sugar-ant Acantholepis capensis, or even with those of the brown house ant, Pheidole megacephala. A few pilose hairs occur on the body of all workers, as in the case of the other species.


Prins (1982) - Wing-span about 24,9 mm; TL 11,6-12,6 mm; L 5,2-6,4 mm; HL 1,76-1,96 mm; EK 1,56-1,70 mm; CL 0,44-0,52 mm; SL 1,6-1,7 mm; WL 3,6-4,6 mm; MFL 1,92-2,1 mm; HFL 2,36-2,6 mm; PL 0,4 mm; CI 113,6-117,4; SI 73,9-80,0; CLI 300,0-318,2; CTI 42,6-48,9; TI 58,7-63,9; PI 250,0; HFI 56,5-65,6.

Rather similar to female of A. custodiens, but smaller, and usually darker in colour, mostly brown to dark-brown; abdomen devoid of any chequered pattern, pubescent hairs arranged in one direction only on each side of median line. Generally somewhat more shiny than in the latter species and as in the case of the workers, the clypeus more convex, its anterior border more arcuate when seen from above.

Scale of petiole deeply emarginate above, emargination V-shaped; hind wing similar to that of Anoplolepis nuptialis, vein m + cua long, in most specimens seen, almost as long as the cell la. In specimens at hand, discoidal (or subdiscoidal) vein in front wings more weakly developed than in both A. custodiens and nuptialis and usually indistinct or even obsolete.


Prins (1982) - Wing-span about 15,7 mm; TL 6,6-6,9 mm; L 3,6 mm; HL 1,12-1,16 mm; ED 0,80-0,84 mm; CL 0,28 mm; SL 1,30-1,36 mm; WL 2,6-2,7 mm; MFL 1,80 mm; HFL 1,92 mm; PL 0,24-0,28 mm; CI 110,7-117,2; SI 100,0-104,8; CLI 300,0-328,6; CTI 42,9-43,1; TI 61,5-62,2; PI 228,6-250,0; HFI 71,1-73,l.

Smaller than male of A. custodiens, sombre coloured, abdomen without chequered pattern, pubescent hairs more or less arranged as in female. Scale of petiole deeply emarginate, emargination V-shaped; clypeus and wings more or less as in female. In some specimens seen the marginal and cubital veins in front wings connected by a short stem to first cubital cell, rather similar to that of A. nuptialis.

External male genital organs

Differ from those of both A. custodiens and nuptialis in the longer penis lobes, which are longer than vol sellae and gonostipes; latter short and seen from side almost resembling those of A. nuptialis. Both digiti and cusp ides equally developed and more or less of same length. Each digitus with fine denticles or tubercles on its external side; cuspides each with a row of fine denticles on its distal half. Volsellae in this case flattened and only slightly convex on inner side; also covered with a few fine hairs as in case of the other two species.


  • Arnold, G. 1922. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part V. Myrmicinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 579-674 (page 591, queen, male described; page 590, combination in Plagiolepis (Zealleyella))
  • Emery, C. 1895i. Voyage de M. E. Simon dans l'Afrique australe (janvier-avril 1893). 3e mémoire. Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 64: 15-56 (page 44, queen described)
  • Emery, C. 1925d. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Formicinae. Genera Insectorum 183: 1-302 (page 18, combination in Anoplolepis)
  • Forel, A. 1894b. Abessinische und andere afrikanische Ameisen, gesammelt von Herrn Ingenieur Alfred Ilg, von Herrn Dr. Liengme, von Herrn Pfarrer Missionar P. Berthoud, Herrn Dr. Arth. Müller etc. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 9: 64-100 PDF (page 72, worker described)
  • Prins, A. J. 1982. Review of Anoplolepis with reference to male genitalia, and notes on Acropyga (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 89: 215-247 (page 217, senior synonym of braunsi)
  • Santschi, F. 1914b. Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale, 1911-1912. Résultats scientifiques. Insectes Hyménoptères. II. Formicidae. Paris: Libr. A. Schulz, pp. 41-148. (page 123, combination in Plagiolepis (Anoplolepis))
  • Santschi, F. 1926a. Trois notes myrmécologiques. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 95: 13-28 (page 14, combination in Anoplolepis (Zealleyella))