Centromyrmex bequaerti (Forel)

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: 11-13

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Centromyrmex bequaerti (Forel)


Centromyrmex bequaerti (Forel)  HNS 

(Figs 1-4)

Glyphopone bequaerti Forel  HNS  , 1913: 308, fig. 1. Holotype queen, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Kasongo (Pons) ( MHNG) [examined]. [Combination in Centromyrmex  HNS  by Brown, 1963: 10.] Glyphopone (Leptopone) rufigaster Arnold  HNS  , 1916: 163, figs 10, 10a. Holotype queen, ZIMBABWE: Victoria Falls (G. Arnold) (not in BMNH or SAMC) (see note). [Combination in Leptopone  HNS  by Wheeler, W.M. 1922: 766; in Centromyrmex  HNS  and synonymy with bequaerti  HNS  by Brown, 1963: 10.]

NOTE. The holotype of rufigaster  HNS  cannot be found. Comparison of the original description of rufigaster  HNS  with the holotype of bequaerti  HNS  and all of the more recent queen material of the latter has produced no reason to doubt Brown's synonymy.

WORKER (not previously described). TL 4.7-10.3, HL 0.99-2.04, HW 0.80-1.86, CI 81-93, ML 0.26- 0.70, MI 28-38, SL 0.50-1.08, SI 60-68, PW 0.57-1.28, WL 1.50-2.84 (20 measured).

With characters of the genus and the bequaerti  HNS  group. Mandible smooth, with scattered small pits and 5-7 teeth of which the apical is the largest. Number of teeth on mandible decreases with reduced size, from a maximum of 7 in largest workers to a minimum of 5 in smallest examined; the most common dental count is 5. Entire head, including ventral surface, smooth and shining, with scattered small pits. Bulla of metapleural gland conspicuous, low, its apex widely separated from the base of the propodeal spiracle. Protibia ventrally with a conspicuous single stout spiniform seta, similar to those on the mesotibia, this seta located close to the apex on its outer surface, anterior to and opposite the large spur. Spiniform setae present dorsally on mesotibia, mesobasitarsus, metatibia and metabasitarsus, most sparse on the metatibia. Petiole in largest workers (HW ca 1.86) with length of the tergite in profile 0.73 x the height of the tergite at its mid-length; in the smallest workers (HW ca 0.80) the length of the tergite in profile is 1.15 x the height of the tergite at its mid-length. In effect, the petiole tergite is higher than long in larger workers, longer than high in smaller workers. Mesosoma, petiole and gaster shiny, unsculptured except for setal pits and, in larger workers, some weak striation on the metapleuron. Pubescence almost absent, extremely sparse, short and inconspicuous except on pronotal collar, propleuron, and sternite of petiole. Colour yellow to deep dull red; smaller workers usually lighter in colour than larger workers.

QUEEN. TL 14.0-15.6, HL 1.96-2.24, HW 1.84-2.24, CI 96-100, OI 29-31, ML 0.74-0.84, MI 34-39, SL 1.14-1.26, SI 55-60, PW 1.85-2.25, WL 3.70-4.70 (5 measured). Somewhat larger than largest workers in associated series. Queens will run out to the correct species using the characters provided in the key to workers except for the position of the slit-shaped propodeal spiracle, which is somewhat lower on the side in queens than in workers.

MALE. Known; see under diagnosis of genus.

This widespread species is worker polymorphic, polygynous and an obligate predator of termites, especially of the subfamilies Termitinae and Macrotermitinae (Dejean & Feneron, 1996, 1999). These authors also describe the organisation of bequaerti  HNS  colonies within termitaries, saying that each queen of the polygynous colony, accompanied by a number of workers, occupies a separate chamber in the host termitary. From data labels of material examined bequaerti  HNS  has been recorded from termitaries of the following genera: Amitermes, Coactotermes, Cubitermes, Furculitermes, Odontotermes, Trinervitermes and Tuberculitermes. Dejean et al., (1996, 1997) record it as common in nests of Cubitermes, but the species was not found in nests of Procubitermes(Dejean & Bolton, 1995). It has also been collected from rotten logs and occasionally from samples of leaf litter.

Material examined. Cameroun: Ebodjie (A. Dejean); Abong-Mbang (A. Dejean); Pan Pan (A. Dejean); Bakundu (A. Dejean). Gabon: La Makande, Foret des Abeilles (S. Lewis); CNRS Makokou (W.H. Gotwald); Plateau d'Ipassa (J.A. Barra); Prov. Ogooue-Maritime, Res. Monts Doudou, NW Doussala (B.L. Fisher); Prov. Woleu-Ntem, ESE Minvoul (B.L. Fisher). Central African Republic: Pref. Sanghu-Mbaere, Parc. Nat. Dzanga-Ndoki, Mabea Bai (B.L. Fisher). Democratic Republic of Congo: Keyberg (A.E. Emerson); Yangambi Reserve (Raignier & van Boven); Stanleyville [= Kisangani] (N.A. Weber); NE Labefu (Ross & Leech); Kikwit, Kinzambi (A. Dejean); Kasongo (Pons). Angola: Dundo to Chingofu (Kistner & Swift); Capemba, nr Dundo (Kistner & Swift); Dundo, R. Mussungue (Kistner & Swift); R. Mussanguego, nr Calondo, Res. de Gado (Kistner & Swift); Mussungue Forest, nr Dundo (Kistner & Swift); Santa Comba to N. Lisboa (D.H. Kistner). Malawi: SW shore Lake Nyasa, betwn Fort Johnston and Monkey Bay (S.A. Neave); Kasungu, Mtunthama (J. Feehan). Zambia: Lunda, Congo border (H.S. Evans); Lusaka, Leopard Hill (B.L. Fisher); Choma (B.L. Fisher).


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


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


South Africa, Cape Town, Iziko Museum of Capetown (formerly South African Museum)