Tetraponera tessmanni

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Tetraponera tessmanni
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Tetraponera
Species: T. tessmanni
Binomial name
Tetraponera tessmanni
(Stitz, 1910)

MCZ ENT Tetraponera tessmanni hal.jpg

MCZ ENT Tetraponera tessmanni had.jpg

Specimen Label

Synonyms


At a Glance • Brachypterous Queen  

 

Identification

A member of the Tetraponera allaborans species-group.

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

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Biology

Tetraponera tessmanni is the only inhabitant of mature Vitex thyrsiflora lianas, providing effective defense against herbivores. The association between V. thyrsiflora and T. tessmanni is unusual. Pseudomyrmecine plant-ants often prune vegetation contacting their host plant. This behavior functions in part to protect against invasion of the host by ecologically dominant ants. In contrast, T. tessmanni does not prune because its liana that depends on contacts with many other plants. Several traits of V. thyrsiflora and T. tessmanni combine to make the colonization of host plants by potential competitors very difficult. These include behavioral and morphological filters restricting entrance into the plant and exploitation of the resources it can supply; modifications in plant anatomy that enables T. tessmanni workers to carry out all activities, except leaf patrolling, within a single private nesting space where food resources are offered by the plant; and polygyny permitting the colony to monopolize a large, rapidly growing and long-lived territory (Djiéto-Lordon et al. 2005).

Castes

Wheeler (1922b: 108) noted a considerable variation in queen size, including ergatoid and brachypterous (subapterous) forms, as well as dealate individuals. Djiéto-Lordon et al. (2005) - One queen morph has fully functional wings. We observed that claustrally founded colonies were without exception founded by dealate queens of this morph. The other morph has wings reduced to functionless nubs, and a narrower thorax. Tetraponera tessmanni is the only pseudomyrmecine known to show such queen dimorphism (P. Ward, pers. comm.). Established colonies included numerous apparently functional egg-laying queens of both morphs.

Nomenclature

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

  • tessmanni. Sima tessmanni Stitz, 1910: 131, fig. 2 (w.) EQUATORIAL GUINEA. Santschi, 1919h: 84 (q.); Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 110 (m.); Wheeler, W.M. 1918c: 304 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1956: 391 (l.). Combination in Tetraponera: Wheeler, W.M. 1918c: 303; in Viticicola: Wheeler, W.M. 1919i: 130; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 109; in Sima (Tetraponera): Emery, 1921f: 28; in Tetraponera: Ward, 1990: 489. Senior synonym of castanea: Brown, 1950e: 248.
  • castanea. Viticicola tessmanni var. castanea Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 112 (w.q.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Junior synonym of tessmanni: Brown, 1950e: 248.

Description

References