Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr

Bolton, Barry & Fisher, Brian L., 2008, Afrotropical ants of the ponerine genera Centromyrmex Mayr, Promyopias Santschi gen. rev. and Feroponera gen. n., with a revised key to genera of African Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), Zootaxa 1929, pp. 1-37: 22-25

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Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr


Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr 

( Figs 25–26 View Figure )

Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr, 1896: 230  . Holotype worker, CAMEROUN: no loc. 1891 ( Y. Sjöstedt) ( NHRSAbout NHRS) [examined] (see note 1).

Centromyrmex constanciae Arnold, 1915: 38  , pl. 2, fig. 14. Syntype workers and queen, ZIMBABWE: Bembesi, 24.iii. 1913 ( BMNH) [worker examined]. Syn. n. [Description of male: Arnold, 1926: 199.] Centromyrmex arnoldi Santschi, 1919: 229  , figs. a–d. Syntype workers and males, MOZAMBIQUE: Amatongas Forest, ix. 1917 (G. Arnold) ( NHMBAbout NHMB) [examined]. [Variety of constanciae  by Santschi, 1920: 8. Synonymy with constanciae  by Arnold, 1926: 199 (in text).] Syn. n.

Centromyrmex congolensis Weber, 1949: 5  , figs. 3, 4. Holotype worker, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Niangara, 1.iii. 1948 (N.A. Weber) (not in AMNHAbout AMNH or MCZC, presumed lost; see note 2). Syn. n.

Centromyrmex arnoldi  r. guineensis Bernard, 1953: 186, fig. 1 d. Holotype worker, GUINEA: Mt Nimba, Nion, St. 22, 700 m., 15.iv. 1942 (Lamotte) ( MNHNAbout MNHN) [examined]. Syn. n. [Subspecies of constanciae  by Bolton, 1995: 140.]


1 The unique holotype of sellaris  was discovered by Dr Hege Vårdal in the NHRSAbout NHRS collection, still preserved in alcohol after 117 years. The specimen was accompanied by three labels, two of which merely stated “ Camerun ” and “Sjöstedt” respectively. A larger and more informative label carried the information “Riksmuseets Entomologiska Afdelning. Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr  n. sp. Typ. Kamerun, 1891. Colleg. Y. Sjöstedt”. The holotype has now been mounted upon a standard card point.

2 Although the holotype of congolensis  appears to have been lost, it is possible that it may still be present but unrecognised in Weber’s material, either at AMNHAbout AMNH or MCZC. Fortunately, the original description and figures are sufficient to allow identification of the taxon. For these reasons, and because the name is a junior synonym, a neotype has not been designated.

WORKER. TL 4.8–6.1, HL 0.84–0.98, HW 0.90–1.13, CI 108–118, ML 0.58–0.72, MI 68–75, SL 0.64– 0.76, SI 67–73, PW 0.74–0.92, WL 1.54–1.80 (15 measured).

With characters of the genus and the feae  group. Head capsule in full-face view always appears obviously broader than long, CI 108 or usually more. Mandibles smooth with scattered small punctures. Masticatory margin of mandible with 7–10 small, low blunt teeth that are usually broadly low-triangular but are often reduced to mere crenulations when worn. Basal tooth at basal angle of mandible and usually obvious, only rarely reduced and insignificant. Distal of the basal tooth there is usually a diastema before the next tooth on one or both of the mandibles, but sometimes this is not apparent as a denticle may be present within the diastema on one, or less often both, of the mandibles. Dorsum and sides of head with scattered punctures on smooth cuticle, and also with weak striation within the antennal fossae and on the sides, especially anteriorly. Extent of the striate component is variable. Metatibia with only normal setae dorsally but its anterior surface, at the apex and approximately opposite the pectinate spur, with 2 (3 in a single specimen) much stouter and usually more darkly coloured spiniform setae. Petiole node in dorsal view broader than long. Pronotal dorsum, and anterior mesonotum, with widely scattered broad, shallow punctures that may be almost effaced. Pronotum dorsally also with variable weak oblique or arched faint disorganised sculpture. Colour yellow to light brown.

QUEEN. TL 6.9, HL 1.01, HW 1.12, CI 111, OI 32, ML 0.70, MI 69, SL 0.80, SI 71, PW 1.11, WL 2.00. The queen of this species should run out correctly in the key to workers but care should be taken as the queens of longiventris  and ereptor  remain unknown. The form of the mandible described above for the worker is reproduced in the queen caste.

MALE. Known; see under diagnosis of genus.

This species and angolensis  are the most widely distributed and most commonly encountered species of the feae  group in Africa. Superficially the two look very similar, but angolensis  always has a longer, narrower head and only ever has a single stout spiniform seta at the apex of the anterior surface of the metatibia, about opposite the pectinate spur. In addition, the basal mandibular tooth in angolensis  is generally absent, sometimes vestigially present, but there is never the basal tooth + diastema arrangement that is characteristic of sellaris  . Care should be taken with this character because of variation in development in sellaris  but it is usually a good indicator of the species.

The species referred to as C. sellaris  in Lévieux (1976, 1983) is correctly identified, as indicated by voucher specimens deposited in MCZC.

From data labels on specimens this species has been discovered in termitaries of the genus Odontotermes  , but the true range of termite prey is undoubtedly much greater.

Material examined. Guinea: Mt Nimba, Nion (Lamotte). Ivory Coast: Lamto, Toumodi (J. Lévieux); Lamto (K. Yeo); Oumé, nr Goulikao (S. Katia); For. de Teke, Anyama (T. Diomande). Ghana: Tafo (D. Leston); Bunso (D. Leston); Kwadaso (J. Plisko). Nigeria: Gambari (B. Bolton); Gambari, CRIN (B. Taylor). Cameroun: no loc. ( Y. Sjöstedt). Gabon: Prov. Woleu-Ntem, ESE Minvoul (B.L. Fisher). Democratic Republic of Congo: Mulungu (F.L. H e n d r i c k s); SW Pweto (Ross & Leech). Uganda: Iganga (A. Abera); SW Gulu (Ross & Leech); no loc. (R.H. Le Pelley). Kenya: Western Prov., Kakamega Forest, Shinyalu (F. H i t a Garcia). Mozambique: Amatongas Forest (G. A r n o l d). Zambia: Lusaka, Leopard Hill (B.L. Fisher). Zimbabwe: Bembesi (G. A r n o l d); Bulawayo (G. A r n o l d); Lonely Mines (H. Swale).


Swedish Museum of Natural History, Entomology Collections


Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel


American Museum of Natural History


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle














Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr

Bolton, Barry & Fisher, Brian L. 2008


Centromyrmex constanciae

Arnold 1926: 199Arnold 1926: 199
Santschi 1920: 8Santschi 1919: 229Arnold 1915: 38


Centromyrmex sellaris

Mayr 1896: 230


Centromyrmex congolensis

Weber 1949: 5