This very distinctive species is immediately recognizable by its strongly sculptured head and very reduced pilosity. Of the sparsely hairy species of Africa only Messor collingwoodi from Mali and Niger has the head anywhere near as strongly sculptured as Messor luebberti, but in that species the propodeum has hairs and the junction of propodeal dorsum and declivity is armed with a pair of short spines. (Bolton 1982)
Keys including this Species
Widespread in the southern half of the African continent
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
Known only from the worker caste.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- luebberti. Messor barbarus subsp. luebberti Forel, 1910f: 13 (w.) NAMIBIA. Raised to species: Emery, 1922c: 99; Bolton, 1982: 351.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Bolton (1982) - Medium to Large, HW 2.00- > 3.00.
Anterior clypeal margin flattened to slightly indented medially. With the head in full-face view the sides more or less straight, roughly parallel or weakly convergent anteriorly. Occipital margin distinctly indented medially in large workers but the indentation becoming obliterated with reduced size. In HW range 2.00-3.12 the maximum diameter of the eyes 0.38-0.50, about 0.15-0.18 x HW, and the CI is 100-112. With the propodeum in profile the dorsum rounding narrowly into the declivity to meeting the declivity in a right-angle; propodeal armament never developed. Dorsum of head everywhere finely and densely longitudinally rugulose, the rugulae approximately parallel and becoming finer away from the mid-dorsal strip. Ground-sculpture of minute punctulation is present between the rugulae but this is less conspicuous in some samples than in others. Pronotal dorsum weakly and faintly to quite strongly transversely rugulose, but always with a fairly distinct punctulate component between the rugulae. Mesonotum smooth with only vestigial traces of sculpture to irregularly granular, only rarely with a rugular component. Propodeal dorsum transversely rugulose to rugose, with punctures between the rugulae. First gastral tergite unsculptured except for the fine superficial reticular patterning which is usual in the genus. With the head in full-face view the sides and occipital margin lacking projecting hairs. Projecting hairs very sparse to absent on dorsum of head but present on mouthparts and between frontal lobes. Psammophore strongly developed. On dorsal alitrunk the pronotum with 0-4 pairs of hairs, the mesonotum with 2-6 pairs; the propodeum, petiole and postpetiole lacking hairs. First gastral tergite without hairs or at most with 2-3 at the extreme apical margin of the sclerite. Colour usually red with a blackish gaster but in some the gaster the same shade of red as the head and alitrunk. Shade of red of head and alitrunk varying from bright, almost orange, to very dull.
- Bolton, B. 1982. Afrotropical species of the myrmecine ant genera Cardiocondyla, Leptothorax, Melissotarsus, Messor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology, 46: 307-370 PDF (page 351, Raised to species)
- Emery, C. 1922d. Messor barbarus (L.). Appunti de sinonimia e di sistematica. Boll. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 54: 92-99 (page 99, Raised to species)
- Forel, A. 1910e. Zoologische und anthropologische Ergebnisse einer Forschungsreise im westlichen und zentralen Südafrika ausgeführt in den Jahren 1903-1905 von Dr. Leonhard Schultze. Vierter Band. Systematik und Tiergeographie. D) Formicidae. Denkschr. Med.-Naturwiss. Ges. Jena 16: 1-30 (page 13, worker described)