Leptogenys schwabi

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Leptogenys schwabi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Leptogenys
Species: L. schwabi
Binomial name
Leptogenys schwabi
Forel, 1913

L schwabi casent0822196 p 1 high.jpg

L schwabi casent0822196 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen labels

At a Glance • Gamergate  



Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa, Zimbabwe (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Davies et al. 1994 - Colonies of L. schwabi were found in mixed mistbelt bush, mixed closed riverine bush, and fig forest composed chiefly of Acacia xanthophloea and Ficus sycomorus. Nests were located on or near the ground, in soft, alluvial soils, in shallow, rocky, dry soils, or in rotting wood. The nests in alluvial soil were less than 30 cm deep, with no obvious passages or chambers, while those in dry, rocky soils included chambers beneath stones, connected by obvious passages, and galleries extending to a depth of 45 cm. Colony size ranged from 32 to 338 individuals. The production of male pupae began in late September (Table 2), and adult males eclosed in captive colonies in early October. Several parties of 4-6 workers each were found and followed back to their nests. The ants followed one another in loose formation with frequent leader changes. Individuals often wandered as much as a meter from the group, so that the formation broke down, usually without encountering prey. Foragers preyed largely on isopods (Philoscia sp.) and termites (Odontotermes latericius), but also collected unidentified amphipods. Termites predominated during September and October, when the first rains fell and the foraging activity of termites increased. On only one occasion in 200 hr of observation was another taxon brought to the nest: a spider which was later discarded. The entrances of natural nests were surrounded by the skeletons of amphipods and isopods.

Unlike the monogynous colonies (one ergatoid queen) in the vast majority of Leptogenys species, L. schwabi colonies are polygynous with gamergates. Seven workers out of 260 from colony 1 and six out of 146 from colony 2 were mated, and all of these had active ovaries containing oocytes and corpora lutea ("yellow bodies"). Virgin laying workers were few unless gamergates were experimentally removed from the colony, indicating that their reproductive physiology is regulated by the gamergates. No physical interactions or oophagy were seen, implicating a pheromonal mechanism of regulation.


Winged queens are unknown


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

  • schwabi. Leptogenys schwabi Forel, 1913j: 208 (w.) ZIMBABWE. Subspecies of stuhlmanni: Prins, 1965a: 153. Revived status as species: Bolton, 1975a: 259.



  • Bolton, B. 1975a. A revision of the ant genus Leptogenys Roger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Ethiopian region with a review of the Malagasy species. Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Entomol. 31: 235-305 (page 259, Revived status as species)
  • Duncan F.D. & R.M. Crewe 1993. A comparison of the energetics of foraging of three species of Leptogenys (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Physiological Entomology 18, 372-378.
  • Forel, A. 1913k. Ameisen aus Rhodesia, Kapland usw. (Hym.) gesammelt von Herrn G. Arnold, Dr. H. Brauns und Anderen. Dtsch. Entomol. Z. 1913(Su Suppl: 203-225 (page 208, worker described)
  • Peeters, C. (1987) The diversity of reproductive systems in Ponerine ants. In: Eder, J. & Rembold, H. (Eds.), Chemistry and Biology of Social Insects. Verlag J. Peperny, München, pp. 253–254.
  • Prins, A. J. 1965a. Notes on African Formicidae (Hymenoptera) - 1. J. Entomol. Soc. South. Afr. 27: 153-159 (page 153, Subspecies of stuhlmanni)
  • Davies SJ, Villet MH, Blomefield TM & Crewe RM 1994. Reproduction and division of labour in Leptogenys schwabi Forel (Hymenoptera Formicidae), a polygynous, queenless ponerine ant. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, PDF
  • Zini M.A. 1985. The role of worker reproduction in two species of ponerine ants (Leptogenys Roger) (Formicidae: Hymenoptera). Proceedings of the Congress of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa 5: 47-48.

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton B. 1975. A revision of the ant genus Leptogenys Roger (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Ethiopian region with a review of the Malagasy species. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 31: 235-305.
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Magagula C. N., and B. A. Nzimba. 2015. Interaction between habitat characteristics and insect diversity using ground beetles (Colenoptera: Carabidae) and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) within a variety of agriculatural habitats. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research 13(3): 863-876.