Bothroponera laevissima

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Bothroponera laevissima
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Bothroponera
Species group: pumicosa
Species: B. laevissima
Binomial name
Bothroponera laevissima
(Arnold, 1915)

Pachycondyla laevissima sam-hym-c008789a p 1 high.jpg

Pachycondyla laevissima sam-hym-c008789a dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

The lone biological information known about this species is that a collection was made from Strandveld.


Joma and Mackay (2015) - A member of the Bothroponera pumicosa species complex. The workers of Bothroponera laevissima are large (total length 12 - 13 mm) shiny black ants. The mandibles are shorter than the head length and covered with fine striae. The anterior medial raised area of the clypeus is convex, but lacks a longitudinal carina; the anterior border is “u” shaped. The lower margin of the clypeus has a short grooved beak on the lower margin of the posteroclypeus. The metapleural area is compressed in some specimens.

The head is smooth and shiny with few punctulae scattered on the surface. The pronotum, mesonotum, mesopleuron, propodeum, petiole and postpetiole are smooth and shiny with a few scattered punctulae. The petiole is more sculptured than the other body parts. The second gastral tergite is smooth and glossy.

The worker of B. laevissima can be recognized as a shiny black ant. The general characters of the worker of B. laevissima are similar to those of the worker of Bothroponera aspera, but the lower margin of the anterior medial raised area of the clypeus has a “u” shape in B. laevissima while it has “v” shape in B. aspera. The lower margin of the clypeus forms a grooved beak in B. laevissima, which is not found in B. aspera. Despite that they both have a shiny surface and black color, B. laevissima is characterized by a smooth head with few scattered punctulae, similar to the pronotum, mesonotum, mesopleuron, propodeum, petiole and postpetiole. The petiole is more sculptured than other body surfaces; the second gastral tergite is smooth. Conversely, B. aspera is recognized as rough with dense shallow punctulae on the body surface (head, pronotum, mesonotum, mesopleuron, propodeum, petiole and postpetiole), the tergum of the second-fifth gastral segments are mostly smooth and glossy. Due to the mostly polished sculpture, B. laevissima would not be confused with any other species except B. aspera. Bothroponera laevissima was collected from Saldanha Bay, Western province area of South Africa, where B. aspera also occurs, which further suggests they are separate species.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb





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

  • laevissima. Pachycondyla (Bothroponera) laevissima Arnold, 1915: 58, pl. 2, fig. 15 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Combination in Bothroponera: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 73; in Pachycondyla: Brown, in Bolton, 1995b: 306; in Bothroponera: Joma & Mackay, 2013: 3; Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 76.

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



Joma and Mackay (2015) - (n=9), HL 2.90 - 3.10, HW 2.50 - 2.65, ML 1.55 - 1.70, EW 0.35, EL 0.35 - 0.40, SL 1.95 - 2.15, FL 2.95 - 3.10, WL 3.65 - 3.95, WPL 4.40 - 4.85, PL 0.95 - 1.10, PW 1.15 - 1.30, PH 1.35 - 1.55, CI 85.48 - 86.20, OI 14.00 - 15.09, MandI 53.44 - 54.83, SI 78.00 - 81.13, PetI 118.18 - 121.05. Head suborbiculate; mandibles with 7 teeth; clypeal length 2.15 - 2.35 mm; frontal lobe width 0.90 - 1.05 mm; scape nearly reaches posterior lateral corner of head; compound eyes relatively large; malar area length 0.60 - 0.75 mm, length from upper margin of eye to upper margin of posterior corner of head 1.25 - 1.45 mm; area around basilar sclerite depressed; basalar sclerite oval; propodeum rounded; propodeal spiracle elongated, diagonal on lateropropodeum; sternopostpetiolar process well developed; edges and anterior part of frontal lobes shiny; entire body covered with scattered or moderately abundant short erect silver hairs (0.07 - 0.10 mm), hairs on dorsum denser than those on sides, longer than those on head, similar hairs on petiole, postpetiole, range from 0.10 - 0.15 mm; entire body black; legs, antennae and mandibles brownish.

Type Material

Joma and Mackay (2015) - South Africa: Western Cape Province, Saldanha Bay, 33°1’0’’ S; 17°57’0’’ E, ix-1912, L. P., Rhodesian museum, South Africa museum ex. National museum Bulawayo 1981, Pachycondyla laevissima G. Arnold, SAM-ENT 11518, 11517, Bothroponera laevissima (4w, lectotype marked with red dot and 3 paralectotype worker without dot [here designated], Iziko). leg. F. Peringuey; ix 1912; Pachycondyla laevissima, G. Arnold; Arnold coll. B. M. 1934-354 (The Natural History Museum (E) 1015515) Antweb Casent 0902471, Bothroponera laevissima (2w, Syntypes, BMNH).


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Arnold G. 1915. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part I. Ponerinae, Dorylinae. Annals of the South African Museum 14: 1-159.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VIII. A synonymic list of the ants of the Ethiopian region. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45: 711-1004