Bothroponera umgodikulula

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Bothroponera umgodikulula
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Bothroponera
Species group: pumicosa
Species: B. umgodikulula
Binomial name
Bothroponera umgodikulula
Joma & Mackay, 2013

Bothroponera umgodikulula antweb1008601 p 1 high.jpg

Bothroponera umgodikulula antweb1008601 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

This species has been collected from the Bulhoek area in South Africa. Bulhoek is the former name of Whittlesea in the Eastern Province of South Africa.The average elevation of the area is about 1,060 m. The main vegetation in Whittlesea is grassland.


Joma & Mackay (2013) - A member of the Bothroponera pumicosa species complex. The main distinguishable characters of B. umgodikulula are the lack of sculpture on the tergum of fourth abdominal segment (second gastral segment), which ismostly smooth and glossy, and the horizontal propodeal spiracle. The worker is also characterized by the large total length, which is 14.80–15.65 mm. The head is subquadrate (CI 95.00–95.16). The clypeus is convex, “v” shaped, and covered with striae, except for the medial area. The anterior medial area is raised and coarsely punctate on the sides, and smooth and glossy in the middle, but an actual carina is absent. The mandibles are triangular, shorter than the head length (MandI 50.00–54.83), smooth and glossy with scattered elongated coarse punctures and about 7 teeth. The scape reaches or extends slightly past the posterior border of the head (SI 81.35–82.45). The compound eyes are relatively large (OI 15.25–15.78). The lower margins of the frontal lobes are smooth; the upper part is punctate. The maximal frontal lobe width is 1.10–1.20 mm. The head is subquadrate and coarsely foveolate. The length of the malar space on the side of the head is (0.65–0.70mm); the length fromthe upper edge of the eye to the edge of posterior lobe is 1.35–1.50 mm.

The pronotum, dorsum of the mesonotum, and dorsum of the propodeum are coarsely foveolate and rough. The dorsum of the petiole and postpetiole are coarsely foveolae and punctate. The mesopleuron and lateropropodeum are coarsely grooved and covered with striae, foveolae, and punctures. The propodeal spiracle is unusual in being nearly horizontal.The pronotal shoulder is rounded. The antennae, legs, and posterior edge of each gastral tergite are shiny. The petiole is rounded and slightly narrowed anteriorly, while it is slightly concave posteriorly (PetI 115.38–125.92).

The entire head, pronotum, mesonotum, propodeum, petiole, and postpetiole are covered with short (0.03–0.10 mm) fine golden hairs.Theventral side of the postpetiole and fourth-seventh gastral segments are covered with relatively long (0.20–0.25 mm) golden suberect hairs. The hairs on underside of the head range from 0.25 to 0.50mm in length.

The head, pronotum, mesonotum, mesopleuron, propodeum, petiole, postpetiole, and entire gaster are black. The legs, antennae, mandibles are red. The clypeus is dark brown.

The new species is a member of the African cavernosa species complex of the genus Bothroponera, in which the metatibial gland on the ventral tibial hind leg is absent and the clypeus is convex with “v” shaped anterior margin. Bothroponera umgodikulula is easily recognized by the horizontal propodeal spiracle (parallel to the posteropropodeum in the remainder of the Bothroponera species). In addition, the smooth and glossy 4th abdominal segment (second gastral segment) of B. umgodikulula is different from the sculptured segments of the similar Bothroponera cavernosa and B. cavernosa var. montivaga. The 4th abdominal segment of B. cavernosa is rough, moderately shiny with few scattered hairs and fine poorly defined striae, while that of B. cavernosa var. montivaga is somewhat smooth and moderately shiny (less so than B. umgodikulula) with a few scattered punctures.The other taxa that can be confused with B. umgodikulula are Bothroponera laevissima and Bothroponera laevissima var. aspera because they both have smooth and glossy 4th abdominal segments, but it is easy to recognize them by the body surface. Most surfaces of B. umgodikulula are coarsely foveolate whereas they are smooth and shiny in B. laevissima and with a few punctures in B. laevissima var. aspera.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: -31.783333° to -32.181734°.

Tropical South

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

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.




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

  • umgodikulula. Bothroponera umgodikulula Joma & Mackay, 2015: 560 pl. 10 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA.
    • [Bothroponera umgodikulula Joma & Mackay, 2013: 4; unavailable name.]
    • [Note: the publication by Joma & Mackay, 2013: 4, was in an “online only” version; there is no evidence that this version has ever been formally published.]

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



(𝑛 = 2). HL 3.00–3.10, HW 2.85–2.95, ML 1.50–1.70, EW 0.40–0.45, EL 0.45, SL 2.35–2.40, FL 3.65–3.75, WL 4.20, WPL 5.00–5.50, PL 1.30−1.35, PW 1.50−1.70, PH 1.75–1.80, CI 95.00–95.16, OI 15.78–15.25, MandI 50.00–54.83, SI 82.45–81.35, and PetI 115.38–125.92.

Head excluding mandibles subquadrate with rounded sides; mandibles smooth, glossy with scattered elongated coarse punctures and fine longitudinal striolae, with about 7 teeth, mandible shorter than head length; clypeus covered with longitudinal striae (except medial area),medial area raised, without forming carina, disc smooth and glossy, sides coarsely punctate; eyes relatively large; scape reaches or extends slightly past posterior border of head; lower lateral margins of frontal lobes smooth, upper part punctate; dorsum of head mostly foveolate; pronotum, mesonotum, propodeum rough, and coarsely foveolate; mesopleuron, lateropropodeum covered with foveolae, with punctures, striae, and coarse grooves; pronotal shoulder rounded; basalar sclerite nearly oval; propodeal spiracle nearly horizontal; antennae, legs shiny; petiole rounded, slightly narrowed anteriorly, slightly concave posteriorly; dorsum and sides of petiole, postpetiole (first gastral segment) coarsely foveolate, punctate; second gastral segment to tip of gaster mostly smooth, punctate, with weak markings of foveolae; entire head, pronotum, mesonotum, propodeum, petiole, and postpetiole covered with short golden erect hairs; hairs on underside of head long; head, pronotum, mesonotum, mesopleuron, propodeum, petiole, postpetiole, entire gaster black; legs, antennae, andmandibles red; clypeus reddish brown.

Type Material


The name of the new species of African Bothroponera “umgodikulula” comes from isiZulu, one of the major South African languages. The word “umgodi” means hole, and “kulula” means level, to express that this species has a hole for respiration that is situated horizontally on the lateropropodeum.


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Joma A. M. A., and W. P. Mackay. 2013. A new species of afroptropical ants in the genus Botrhoponera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae). Psyche (in Press) 12 pages.