Bothroponera comorensis

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Bothroponera comorensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Bothroponera
Species: B. comorensis
Binomial name
Bothroponera comorensis
(André, 1887)



Specimen Label

This is one of two species with longer antennal scapes which are probably used to forage on the soil surface and in leaf litter. Colonies have been found frequently in the ground, in rotten logs, under stones, rarely in dead twigs and rotten sticks on the ground, and under layers of roots and litter on rock. Data from different collecting events over several years suggest that this large species may not have a morphologically typical queen caste as do other species within the genus, but reproduce through one or more ergatoid or gamergates in the same colony. The absence of alate queens reduces the spatial connection between geographically distant populations because dispersal must occur by budding. (Rakotonirina & Fisher, 2013)


Rakotonirina & Fisher (2013) - Larger species (HW: 2.49–3.13 mm), antennal scape extending beyond the rear cephalic border; anterior margin of clypeus truncate; eyes not breaking the outline of the sides of head; dorsum of head and mesosoma finely striate, with sparse punctures; stout erect hairs on dorsum of head and the rest of body much more inclined to the body surface.

Bothroponera comorensis can be easily confused with Bothroponera tavaratra at first glance. Yet the shape of the anterior clypeal margin, the location of the eyes, and the standing degrees of pilosity on the dorsum of the body allow the separation of these two species. Bothroponera comorensis has a truncated anterior clypeal margin, eyes that do not break the outline of the sides of the head, and subdecumbent to decumbent stout hairs on the dorsum of the body. The morphological similarity of these two species could be attributed to their adaptation to different ecological habitats in northern Madagascar. Bothroponera comorensis generally inhabits dry forest and lowland rainforest habitats, whereas B. tavaratra occupies montane rainforests.

Keys including this Species


Bothroponera comorensis is known only from Madagascar, where it generally occupies dry and lowland humid forests and the coastal region in the north of the island. Despite its name, P. comorensis is not known from the Comoros.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -12.09949° to -14.65°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Countries Occupied

Number of countries occupied by this species based on AntWiki Regional Taxon Lists. In general, fewer countries occupied indicates a narrower range, while more countries indicates a more widespread species.

Estimated Abundance

Relative abundance based on number of AntMaps records per species (this species within the purple bar). Fewer records (to the left) indicates a less abundant/encountered species while more records (to the right) indicates more abundant/encountered species.




Images from AntWeb

Pachycondyla comorensis casent0101407 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101407 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101407 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101407 label 1.jpg
Paralectotype of Bothroponera comorensisWorker. Specimen code casent0101407. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MNHN, Paris, France.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0101406 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101406 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101406 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101406 label 1.jpg
Lectotype of Bothroponera comorensisWorker. Specimen code casent0101406. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MNHN, Paris, France.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0101553 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101553 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101553 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0101553 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0101553. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MHNG, Geneva, Switzerland.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0102408 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102408 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102408 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102408 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0102408. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMUK, London, UK.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0410152 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0410152 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0410152 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0410152 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0410152. Photographer Jean Claude Rakotonirina, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0410164 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0410164 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0410164 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0410164 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0410164. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0438913 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0438913 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0438913 label 1.jpg
Worker. Specimen code casent0438913. Photographer Jean Claude Rakotonirina, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by CAS, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Pachycondyla comorensis casent0102011 head 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102011 head 2.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102011 profile 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102011 dorsal 1.jpgPachycondyla comorensis casent0102011 label 1.jpg
Paralectotype of Bothroponera comorensisWorker. Specimen code casent0102011. Photographer April Nobile, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by MSNG, Genoa, Italy.


The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's Online Catalogue of the Ants of the World.

  • comorensis. Ponera comorensis André, 1887: 292 (w.) MADAGASCAR.
    • Combination in Pachycondyla (Bothroponera): Emery, 1901a: 45;
    • combination in Bothroponera: Forel, 1891b: 129; Joma & Mackay, 2013: 2; Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, 2014: 76.
    • Status as species: Forel, 1891b: 129 (redescription); Dalla Torre, 1893: 36; Forel, 1907e: 14; Emery, 1911d: 78; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 1007; Bolton, 1995b: 304; Rakotonirina & Fisher, 2013a: 120 (redescription).

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.



Rakotonirina and Fisher (2013) - (n=10): HL: 2.94–3.49, HW: 2.49–3.13, CI: 85–92, SL: 2.47–2.95, SI: 94–99, PW: 1.95–2.30, WL: 4.13–4.98, NL: 1.34–1.62, NW: 1.45–1.67, NH: 1.64–1.94, DNI: 99–115, LNI: 110–126.

Worker. Head roughly as long as broad, broadest behind eyes on posterior third; sides very slightly convex but converging near base of mandibles; posterior margin weakly emarginate medially. Eyes moderately large, located more to the front and not breaking outline of sides of head. Antennal scape relatively long and extending beyond posterior cephalic margin. Anterior margin of clypeus truncate, not projecting into lobe, but rather straight or feebly notched medially; with head in profile, median portion perpendicular to mandibular surface. Mandibles triangular, apical margins bearing eight to nine teeth and denticles. With mesosoma in profile, outline of dorsum almost continuously convex, without distinct angle between propodeal dorsum and declivity, lateral margins of the latter also generally indiscernable. Mesopleural sulcus visible but incomplete. With petiole in dorsal view, anterior margin rounded and posterior margin straight. In profile, petiole nodiform, with rounded anterodorsal portion and distinct angle in the posterodorsal margin.

Mandibles costate or sometimes smooth with effaced fine striation, and with scattered punctures from which hairs arise. Dorsum of head densely striate and superimposed with piliferous punctures from level of eyes and frontal lobes; striation radiating towards occipital corners on each side of midline of head. Dorsal sculpture of pronotum variable, either densely finely costulate or smooth and shiny with trace of striation between sparse punctures, mesonotal and propodeal dorsum with transverse, dense, and fine striation or microreticulation which becomes fairly effaced on some specimens. Lateral portion of mesosoma characterized by a mixture of fine and dense striation and reticulate–rugulation. Declivitous surface transversely finely striate or almost smooth. Lateral portion of petiole node and first two gastral segments microreticulate to densely finely striate, with scattered large punctures which turn into a smooth and shiny surface on dorsum. Upper surface of body with suberect or appressed black, stout hairs, which are shorter on the dorsum of the head and become yellowish brown to brown on appendages; with mesosoma in frontal view, these hairs inclined towards the midline of the mesosoma dorsum, suberect along the dorsolateral margin and much more appressed near the midline. Slender brownish hairs present on ventral surface of head, gaster, and coxae. Body covered with abundant pubescence except head, dorsum of propodeum, petiole node, and third and anterior half of fourth abdominal segments. Coloration is black with reddish articulations and apices of appendages.

Type Material


  • André, E. 1890. Matériaux pour servir à la faune myrmécologique de Sierra-Leone (Afrique occidentale). Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 9: 311-327 (page 292, worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1901a. Formiche raccolte da Elio Modigliani in Sumatra, Engano e Mentawei. [concl.]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 40[=(2(20): 721-722 (page 45, Combination in Pachycondyla (Bothroponera))
  • Forel, A. 1891c. Les Formicides. [part]. In: Grandidier, A. Histoire physique, naturelle, et politique de Madagascar. Volume XX. Histoire naturelle des Hyménoptères. Deuxième partie (28e fascicule). Paris: Hachette et Cie, v + 237 pp. (page 124, Combination in Bothroponera)
  • Rakotonirina, J.C. & Fisher, B.L. 2013. Revision of the Pachycondyla wasmannii-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Malagasy region. Zootaxa 3609, 101-141.
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1).
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922k. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. IX. A synonymic list of the ants of the Malagasy region. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 4 45: 1005-1055 (see also)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • André E. 1887. Description de quelques fourmis nouvelles ou imparfaitement connues. Rev. Entomol. (Caen) 6: 280-298.
  • Emery C. 1911. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125.
  • Fisher B. L. 1997. Biogeography and ecology of the ant fauna of Madagascar (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Natural History 31: 269-302.
  • Fisher B. L. 2003. Formicidae, ants. Pp. 811-819 in: Goodman, S. M.; Benstead, J. P. (eds.) 2003. The natural history of Madagascar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, xxi + 1709 pp.
  • Forel A. 1907. Formiciden aus dem Naturhistorischen Museum in Hamburg. II. Teil. Neueingänge seit 1900. Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hambg. 24: 1-20.
  • Rakotonirina J. C., and B. L. Fisher. 2013. Revision of the Pachycondyla wasmannii-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the Malagasy region. Zootaxa 3609: 101-141.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. IX. A synonymic list of the ants of the Malagasy region. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45: 1005-1055