Centromyrmex raptor

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Centromyrmex raptor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Centromyrmex
Species: C. raptor
Binomial name
Centromyrmex raptor
Bolton & Fisher, 2008

Centromyrmex raptor casent0066716 profile 1.jpg

Centromyrmex raptor casent0066716 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

The type material was collected from a Miombo woodland.


A member of the feae species group. This is the largest Afrotropical member of the genus and its mesosoma the most darkly coloured outside the bequaerti group. Its dimensions, and the characters noted in the key, make raptor easily recognisable. (Bolton and Fisher 2008)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Zambia (type locality), Zimbabwe.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


All of the species in the genus appear to be termitophagous and all are superbly adapted to this specialised predatory life style. Observations of some species have found them to be rather helpless when placed in an exposed, open situation. Weber described what happened when he found a worker “just beneath the soil surface under a thin cover of dead leaves”. The ant was “completely helpless when exposed to the daylight and writhed about when placed on the ground or in my palm. It made no attempt to run away, curling and uncurling without stinging, though it had a long, stout sting”. In other words, it seemed unable to walk when removed from its specialised habitat and placed on a surface where it could not use its specialised legs. If not discovered within a termite nest, individuals are occasionally found in the top soil or the root-mat below the leaf litter layer, where their short, powerful, spiny legs facilitate their movement. (Weber 1949, Bolton and Fisher 2008).


Males have not been collected.




The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • raptor. Centromyrmex raptor Bolton & Fisher, 2008c: 21, figs. 21-24 (w.q.) ZAMBIA.

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



Holotype. TL 9.6, HL 1.60, HW 1.94, CI 121, ML 1.32, MI 83, SL 1.30, SI 67, PW 1.56, WL 2.96.

With characters of the genus and the feae group. Masticatory margin of mandible serially dentate, with 11–12 bluntly triangular low teeth that are all about the same size; distal one-fifth of masticatory margin edentate. Mandibles heavily constructed and large, smooth with scattered small punctures. Head capsule very obviously broader than long in full-face view (range of CI 119–123). Dorsum of head with scattered punctures and with striation around the antennal fossae and on the anterior halves of the sides. Anterodorsal margination of pronotum strongly developed; margination extends around the sides almost to the posterior margin of the sclerite. Pronotal dorsum a flat plateau behind the margination. Mesonotum sharply marginate anteriorly, the margination extends along the sides above the mesopleuron. Sloping anterior portion of propodeum forms a shallow concavity basally, the posterior portion of the propodeum is slightly raised and broadly rounded behind it. Metatibia with darkly coloured spiniform setae on the apical third of the anterior surface, and with similar setae on the apical third of the dorsal surface. Orifice of propodeal spiracle much higher than wide, almost slit-shaped. Petiole node in dorsal view broader than long. Subpetiolar process short, acutely triangular. Petiolar spiracle near mid-height of anterior face of node. Prora extremely feeble, represented only by a pair of short, very low cuticular ridges on the anterior face of the first gastral sternite, on each side below the helcium; the prora hardly discernible in profile. Pronotal dorsum, and anterior mesonotum, with widely scattered broad, shallow punctures upon a weakly shagreenate surface. The mesonotum also shows weak traces of longitudinal sculpture within the marginate area. Colour predominantly mottled dull brownish red, most of dorsal mesosoma and parts of sides infuscated to blackish. Gaster more uniformly coloured and slightly lighter.

Paratypic and non-paratypic. TL 9.8-10.0, HL 1.56-1.68, HW 1.92-2.02, CI 119-123, ML 1.30-1.40, MI 82-84, SL 1.30-1.38, SI 66-69, PW 1.50-1.62, WL 2.88-3.08 (5 measured). Paratypes as holotype but the non-paratypic workers are paler in colour, with a dull yellow gaster and somewhat infuscated mesosoma, especially on the dorsum. Sculpture on the pronotal dorsum and on the mesonotum is similar to the type-series but fainter.


Paratypes. TL 10.2, HL 1.60, HW 1.88, CI 118, OI 24, ML 1.33, MI 83, SL 1.24, SI 66, PW 1.78, WL 3.20. One of the queens has two compound eyes but the other has the right eye present, the left eye entirely absent. Overall, the queens are darker in colour than the workers, the mesosoma being mostly black. The transverse mesopleural suture is conspicuous in both queens but absent from the workers. Queens will run out successfully using the key to workers.

Holotype Specimen Labels

Type Material

Holotype worker (upper specimen of two on pin, lower specimen is a dealate queen), Zambia: Lusaka, Leopard Hill, 12º33.29’S, 30º17.74E, 1300 m., 29.xi.–3.xii.2005, Miombo woodland, BLF#, 13554, CASENT 0066716 (Fisher et al.) (California Academy of Sciences).

Paratypes, 1 dealate queen with same data as holotype (lower specimen on pin); 1 worker and 1 alate queen with same data but 13555, CASENT 0066882; 1 worker with same data but 13551, CASENT 0066707 (CASC).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection