Centromyrmex sellaris Mayr

Bolton, B. & Fisher, B. 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  HNS 

(Figs 25-26)

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

Centromyrmex constanciae Arnold  HNS  , 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  HNS  , 1919: 229, figs. a-d. Syntype workers and males, MOZAMBIQUE: Amatongas Forest, ix.1917 (G Arnold) ( NHMB) [examined]. [Variety of constanciae  HNS  by Santschi, 1920: 8. Synonymy with constanciae  HNS  by Arnold, 1926: 199 (in text).] Syn. n.

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

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


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

2 Although the holotype of congolensis  HNS  appears to have been lost, it is possible that it may still be present but unrecognised in Weber's material, either at 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  HNS  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  HNS  and ereptor  HNS  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  HNS  are the most widely distributed and most commonly encountered species of the feae  HNS  group in Africa. Superficially the two look very similar, but angolensis  HNS  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  HNS  is generally absent, sometimes vestigially present, but there is never the basal tooth + diastema arrangement that is characteristic of sellaris.  HNS  Care should be taken with this character because of variation in development in sellaris  HNS  but it is usually a good indicator of the species.

The species referred to as C. sellaris  HNS  in Levieux (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. Levieux); Lamto (K. Yeo); Oume, 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. Sjostedt). Gabon: Prov. Woleu-Ntem, ESE Minvoul (B.L. Fisher). Democratic Republic of Congo: Mulungu (F.L. Hendricks); 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 Hita Garcia). Mozambique: Amatongas Forest (G. Arnold). Zambia: Lusaka, Leopard Hill (B.L. Fisher). Zimbabwe: Bembesi (G Arnold); Bulawayo (G Arnold); Lonely Mines (H. Swale).


Sweden, Stockholm, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet


United Kingdom, London, The Natural History Museum [formerly British Museum (Natural History)]


Switzerland, Basel, Naturhistorisches Museum


USA, New York, New York, American Museum of Natural History


USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology


France, Paris, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle