Nothing is known about the biology of Monomorium areniphilum.
Bolton (1987) - A member of the M. areniphilum complex in the M. salomonis species group. M. areniphilum appears to be a successful circum-Saharan species which shows variation in colour and size over its wide range but which seems consistent in the characters noted in the description. It is accepted that the name as now applied may conceal two or more close but discrete sibling species, but only a detailed investigation of the North African fauna, with its welter of unresolved infraspecific names attached to salomonis and its relatives, will be able to resolve the confusion. I am unable to undertake such a study here, so for the present I regard Monomorium lepineyi and Monomorium pullulum provisionally as junior synonyms of areniphilum, fully realizing that this situation may change once detailed taxonomic investigation is possible.
The single lepineyi syntype available for study matches areniphilum moderately well, but is smaller and darker in colour, being a uniform blackish brown, and has the head narrower than the areniphilum syntypes. The eyes in the lepineyi syntype are slightly larger than in areniphilum and the sides of the head are not as distinctly convergent posteriorly.
The syntypes of pullulum are relatively large specimens but their indices are within the areniphilum range. These syntypes are uniformly dark brown on the head and alitrunk but have a blackish brown gaster. The cephalic sculpture in pullulum, whilst of the same form as in areniphilum, tends to be denser.
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The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- areniphilum. Monomorium salomonis var. areniphila Santschi, 1911f: 84 (w.) TUNISIA. Emery, 1915e: 378 (q.). Combination in M. (Xeromyrmex): Emery, 1922e: 177. Subspecies of salomonis: Santschi, 1936a: 50. Raised to species: Collingwood, 1985: 269. Senior synonym of lepineyi, pullula: Bolton, 1987: 336.
- pullula. Monomorium (Xeromyrmex) salomonis var. pullula Santschi, 1919: 235 (w.) SENEGAL. Subspecies of salomonis: Santschi, 1934b: 33. Junior synonym of areniphilum: Bolton, 1987: 336.
- lepineyi. Monomorium (Xeromyrmex) salomonis var. lepineyi Santschi, 1934b: 34, figs. 5, 6 (w.) SUDAN. Junior synonym of areniphilum: Bolton, 1987: 336.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Bolton (1987) - Worker. TL 3.1-4.3, HL 0.86-1.04, HW 0.67-0.88, CI 78-88, SL 0.68-0.88, SI 98-104, PW 0.40-0.53, AL 0.95-1.24 (30 measured).
Anterior margin of median portion of clypeus evenly shallowly concave. Eyes large, the maximum diameter 0.30-0.35 x HW and with 12-14 ommatidia in the longest row. Sides of head evenly shallowly convex in full-face view, the occipital margin approximately transverse to broadly but shallowly concave. Pronotum and anterior portion of mesonotum in profile evenly convex; median portion of mesonotum flat to shallowly convex, sometimes even slightly indented; posterior one-third (approximately) of mesonotum suddenly sloping much more steeply to the conspicuously impressed metanotal groove. Highest point of propodeal dorsum behind the metanotal groove on a much lower level than the highest point of the promesonotum. In dorsal view the propodeum with a narrow flattened median longitudinal strip, the dorsum and sides separated by bluntly rounded margins.
Dorsum of head with 1-2 pairs of standing hairs, which straddle the midline; occipital corners without hairs. Dorsal alitrunk without standing hairs. Petiole node with one pair, postpetiole with 2-3 pairs (very rarely with 4 pairs) of backward directed hairs. First gastral tergite without standing hairs except for the apical transverse row, or at most with a single pair at or near the midlength of the sclerite.
Dorsum of head with fine dense reticulate to reticulate-shagreenate sculpture; this often extensively overlaid, especially mid-dorsally, by exceptionally fine dense scratch-like longitudinal sculpture. Dorsal alitrunk reticulate to shallowly reticulate-punctate, the propodeum more strongly sculptured than the pronotum; intensity of sculpture variable between series. First gastral tergite at least with superficial reticular patterning, more often this is overlaid by a secondary fine shagreening. Colour brown, very variable in shade.
I am grouping the names areniphilum, lepineyi and pullulum as a single species here, based on the following combination of five characters within the Salomonis-group.
- Eyes both relatively and absolutely large (see measurements above).
- Antennal scapes of moderate length (SI 98-104).
- Characteristic outline shape of dorsal alitrunk (as in Fig. 46).
- Cephalic sculpture (as described).
- Very reduced dorsal pilosity (as described).
Bolton (1987) - Syntype workers, Tunisia: Gabes, 1906 (A. Weiss); Kebili, 1907; Kairouan (Santschi) (Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel) [examined].
- Bolton, B. 1987. A review of the Solenopsis genus-group and revision of Afrotropical Monomorium Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology. 54: 263-452. PDF. (page 336, Senior synonym of lepineyi and pullula)
- Collingwood, C. A. 1985. Hymenoptera: Fam. Formicidae of Saudi Arabia. Fauna Saudi Arab. 7: 230-302 (page 269, Raised to species)
- Emery, C. 1915c. Su due formiche della Tripolitania. Boll. Lab. Zool. Gen. Agrar. R. Sc. Super. Agric. 9: 378 (page 378, queen described)
- Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 177, Combination in M. (Xeromyrmex))
- Santschi, F. 1911f. Formicides nouveaux de l'Afrique Mineure (4e note suite). Bull. Soc. Hist. Nat. Afr. Nord 2: 78-85 (page 84, worker described)
- Santschi, F. 1936a. Étude sur les fourmis du genre Monomorium Mayr. Bull. Soc. Sci. Nat. Maroc 16: 32-64 (page 50, Stirps of salomonis)