Mesoponera caffraria

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Mesoponera caffraria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Mesoponera
Species: M. caffraria
Binomial name
Mesoponera caffraria
(Smith, F., 1858)

Pachycondyla caffraria sam-hym-c000689a profile 1.jpg

Pachycondyla caffraria sam-hym-c000689a dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

At a Glance • Tandem running  



Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Botswana, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa (type locality), Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb


Life History Traits

  • Mean colony size: 70 (Levieux, 1967; Agbogba, 1981; Beckers et al., 1989)
  • Foraging behaviour: tandem recruitment (Levieux, 1967; Agbogba, 1981; Beckers et al., 1989)



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

  • caffraria. Ponera caffraria Smith, F. 1858b: 91 (q.) SOUTH AFRICA. Forel, 1913a: 108 (w.); Arnold, 1915: 65 (w.m.); Emery, 1899c: 5 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971b: 1206 (l.). Combination in Euponera (Mesoponera): Emery, 1901a: 46; in Mesoponera: Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1971b: 1206; in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 303; in Mesoponera: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 110. Senior synonym of guineensis: Mayr, 1895: 125; Emery, 1911d: 81; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 775. Current subspecies: nominal plus affinis, caffra.
  • guineensis. Ponera guineensis André, 1890: 318 (w.) SIERRA LEONE. Combination in Euponera (Mesoponera): Santschi, 1935b: 258. Subspecies of caffraria: Santschi, 1935b: 258. Junior synonym of caffraria: Mayr, 1895: 125; Emery, 1911d: 81; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 775; Bolton, 1995b: 305.

The following notes on F. Smith type specimens have been provided by Barry Bolton (details):

Ponera caffraria

Holotype alate queen in The Natural History Museum. Labelled “Port Natal. 56/63.” Acc. Reg.: “1856 no. 63 (May 24) Port Natal. Purchased of Stevens. Collected by Mr Plant.”



  • Arnold, G. 1915. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part I. Ponerinae, Dorylinae. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 14: 1-159 (page 5, worker, male described)
  • Beckers R., Goss, S., Deneubourg, J.L., Pasteels, J.M. 1989. Colony size, communication and ant foraging Strategy. Psyche 96: 239-256 (doi:10.1155/1989/94279).
  • 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 303, Combination in Pachycondyla)
  • Emery, C. 1899g. Intorno alle larve di alcune formiche. Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (5) 8: 3-10 (page 5, larva described)
  • 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 Euponera (Mesoponera))
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 81, senior synonym of quineensis)
  • Forel, A. 1913a. Fourmis de Rhodesia, etc. récoltées par M. G. Arnold, le Dr. H. Brauns et K. Fikendey. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 57: 108-147 (page 108, worker described)
  • Mayr, G. 1895. Afrikanische Formiciden. Ann. K-K. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 10: 124-154 (page 125, senior synonym of quineensis)
  • 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).
  • Smith, F. 1858a. Catalogue of hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae. London: British Museum, 216 pp. (page 91, queen described)
  • Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1971b. Ant larvae of the subfamily Ponerinae: second supplement. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 6 64: 1197-1217 (page 1206, larva described, Combination in Mesoponera)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922j. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VIII. A synonymic list of the ants of the Ethiopian region. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 711-1004 (page 775, senior synonym of quineensis)