Carebara polita

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Carebara polita
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Carebara
Species: C. polita
Binomial name
Carebara polita
(Santschi, 1914)

Carebara polita casent0217139 p 1 high.jpg

Carebara polita casent0217139 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Individuals and nest series have been collected in leaf-litter and from soil, using Winkler and pitfall traps.


Fischer et al. (2014) - Antennae with 11 segments. Major worker: Head in full-face view about as long as wide, posterior wider than anterior, posterior head margin with widely V-shaped emargination and small, tooth-like horns at posterolateral corners, propodeum with short, triangular, bluntly rounded spines, dorsum of propodeum nearly straight or very weakly convex, petiole with small, shallowly triangular ventral process, gaster with little, very short and appressed pilosity. Minor worker: Head in full-face view oval with strongly convex sides and deeply concave posterior emargination, face and most of mesosoma smooth and shiny, frontal carinae not extending beyond cephalic midlength, spines elongate-triangular, in dorsal view about as long as distance between them, gaster smooth and shiny and with or without very few standing hairs.

Carebara polita can be easily separated from the other species, because major workers have small protuberances or horns at the posterolateral lobes of head. Minor workers with sides of head strongly convex and head and body mostly smooth and shiny. This species can be confused with Carebara nicotianae, but major workers of C. nicotianae do not have horns at the posterolateral lobes, and the mesonotum and propodeum are areolate in C. niconianae minor workers, but mostly smooth and shiny in C. polita.

Keys including this Species


Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 49.78306° to -7.78912°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya (type locality), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania.

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.



Mainly found in rainforest, montane wet forest, and evergreen forest. Carebara polita has been collected at elevations ranging from 110–2045 m.




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

  • polita. Aneleus politus Santschi, 1914b: 79, fig. 8 (w.) KENYA.
    • Type-material: 3 syntype minor workers.
    • Type-locality: Kenya (“Afrique orientale anglaise”): Blue Post Hotel, Kikuyu territory, 1520 m., st. no. 29, i.1912 (Ch. Alluaud & R. Jeannel).
    • Type-depository: NHMB.
    • [Unresolved junior secondary homonym of Myrmica polita Smith, F. 1860b: 108.]
    • Consani, 1951: 170 (q.).
    • Combination in Aneleus (Aneleus): Emery, 1924d: 214;
    • combination in Oligomyrmex: Ettershank, 1966: 124;
    • combination in Carebara: Fernández, 2004a: 235.
    • Status as species: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 881; Emery, 1924d: 214; Menozzi, 1933a: 104; Weber, 1943c: 315; Consani, 1951: 169; Ettershank, 1966: 124; Bolton, 1995b: 300; Hita Garcia, et al. 2013: 209; Fischer, et al. 2014: 90 (redescription).
    • Distribution: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda.

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



Fischer et al. (2014) - Major Measurements (n=6): HW 1.20–1.74 (1.62), HL 1.17–1.77 (1.59), SL 0.65–0.74 (0.70), MDL 0.68–0.86 (0.80), EL 0.09–0.15 (0.13), WL 1.58–1.80 (1.71), PNH 0.83–1.05 (0.97), PNW 0.93–1.17 (1.07), MNH 1.13–1.35 (1.28), PDH 0.72–0.77 (0.75), PTL 0.65–0.72 (0.68), PPL 0.42–0.48 (0.45), PTH 0.54–0.57 (0.55), PPH 0.47–0.51 (0.48), PTW 0.47–0.58 (0.55), PPW 0.63–0.69 (0.67), PSL 0.29–0.33 (0.31), MFL 1.07–1.16 (1.12), MTL 0.84–0.95 (0.89), CI 97–108 (102), SI 40–54 (44), MDI 45–56 (50), EI 5–9 (8), FI 62–94 (71), PSLI 17–28 (19), LPpI 88–100 (94), DPpI 140–153 (148), PpWI 109–135 (122), PpLI 63–70 (60), PpHI 84–89 (87).

Head about as long as wide (CI 97–108), in full-face view weakly subquadrate, with posteriorly slightly diverging, convex sides, posterior margin usually triangularly emarginate and with small protuberances or horns at posterolateral lobes. Mandibles with five well-developed teeth. Clypeus slightly concave at anteromedian margin, laterally with two carinae. Antennae eleven-segmented, scapes short, reaching slightly beyond midlength of head (SI 40–54). Eyes present, with between ten and sixteen ommatidia (EI 5–9).

In profile, promesonotum roundly convex, much higher than propodeum. Scutum well-developed, scutellum either fused with scutum or vestigial in most specimens, but well-developed in a few major workers. Promesonotal suture present on dorsum, metanotum developed and usually well-separated. Anepisternum and katepisternum large and well separated by a wide groove with some cross-ribs. Dorsal face of propodeum straight and declining posteriorly, propodeal spines comparatively short and stout with rounded tips, declivity of propodeum slightly concave, with lamella reaching from basal edge of spines towards propodeal lobes. Propodeal spiracle close to center of propodeum.

Petiole with moderately short peduncle, in profile ventrally weakly concave with rounded posterior corner, subpetiolar process short and subtriangular to reduced, petiole node in profile high and subrectangular, anteriorly concave, posterior margin vertical and nearly straight, dorsal face nearly straight or weakly convex. Postpetiole in profile lower than petiole (PpHI 84–89), subglobular, almost as long as high (LpPI 88–100), dorsally roundly convex, ventral face much shorter than dorsal face. In dorsal view, petiole wider than long, strongly flattened anteroposteriorly, anterior and posterior faces straight to almost straight, postpetiole weakly hexagonally shaped, on average 1.2 times as wide as petiole (PpWI 109–135), and sides weakly subangulate anteriorly and towards posterior face.

Mandible and head with scattered punctures, except medially on frons. Mandibles smooth and shiny, and laterally weakly striate, clypeus smooth and shiny, with lateral carinae, frons finely longitudinally rugulose, rugulae diverging posteriorly towards posterolateral lobes, at sides of head weaker and more irregular, interspaces weakly to faintly punctate-rugose. Frontal carinae weakly developed, length varying from reaching towards anterior eye level to about midlength of head.

Dorsum of pronotum and scutum variably circularly striate, sometimes only on margins, with center being smooth and shiny, lateral portions of pronotum, anepisternum and katepisternum mostly smooth and shiny to faintly striate. Propodeum longitudinally striate lateroventrally, dorsally and dorsolaterally coarsely sculptured with irregular rugulae, posterior propodeal declivity shagreened or micropunctate. Petiole and postpetiole densely punctate lateroventrally, grading to smooth and shiny on dorsal faces. Gaster smooth and shiny, anteriorly, at articulation with postpetiole, weakly punctate.

In profile, head and body with several short, suberect hairs and scattered short, appressed pilosity. Head in full-face view with two or three relatively coarse suberect hairs present on posterolateral lobes. Scapes and tibiae with abundant appressed and yellow pilosity. Color reddish brown, legs and antennae yellowish or light brown.

Minor (n=11): HW 0.43–0.54 (0.51), HL 0.50–0.62 (0.57), SL 0.36–0.44 (0.41), MDL 0.25–0.32 (0.30), EL 0.00–0.03 (0.02), WL 0.48–0.76 (0.58), PNH 0.23–0.29 (0.26), PNW 0.26–0.32 (0.29), MNH 0.33–0.42 (0.38), PDH 0.23–0.29 (0.26), PTL 0.23–0.29 (0.25), PPL 0.14–0.18 (0.16), PTH 0.15–0.17 (0.16), PPH 0.10–0.12 (0.11), PTW 0.08–0.12 (0.10), PPW 0.11–0.15 (0.13), PSL 0.08–0.11 (0.09), MFL 0.38–0.49 (0.45), MTL 0.29–0.38 (0.35), CI 86–91 (88), SI 78–84 (81), MDI 53–62 (59), EI 0–7 (5), FI 78–92 (88), PSLI 16–21 (18), LPpI 136–171 (147), DPpI 75–91 (83), PpWI 119–136 (126), PpLI 58–75 (63), PpHI 61–73 (66).

Head in full-face view longer than wide (CI 86–91), with strongly convex sides, posterior margin of head sharply concave, posterolateral corners angulate to subangulate. Mandibles with four well-defined teeth. Anterior margin of clypeus deeply concave medially, bicarinate and anteriorly divergent, laterally with two small, triangular teeth. Frontal carinae extending towards the cephalic midlength. Antennae with eleven segments, scapes reaching about 6/7 towards posterior margin of head (SI 78–84). Eyes usually present and consisting of one or two ommatidia, rarely no ommatidia visible (EI 0–7).

In profile, promesonotal dorsum smoothly rounded and convex, metanotal groove shallowly impressed. Dorsum of propodeum slightly convex and much shorter than posterior declivity, spines long and lamellate, lamella reaching from spines down toward large propodeal lobes. Propodeal spiracle closer to posterodorsal corner than center of propodeum.

Petiole in profile with moderately long peduncle, ventrally nearly straight, anteroventral corner with a very short to inconspicuous angulate tooth present, petiole node anteriorly slightly concave, posteriorly weakly convex, and dorsal face weakly convex to subangulate anteriorly and posteriorly. Postpetiole in profile convex, on average 1.5 times longer than high (LPpI 136–171), lower than petiole (PpHI 61–73). In dorsal view petiole anteriorly and laterally convex, postpetiole slightly wider than petiole (PpWI 119–136), postpetiole convex and tapering anteriorly, sides subparallel, posteriorly almost straight to faintly convex.

Mandibles, clypeus and face smooth and shiny, with scattered punctures, malar area up to eye level longitudinally striate. Mesosoma mostly smooth and shiny without microsculpture, propodeal lamella, dorsal and posterior propodeal margins weakly alveolate. Petiole weakly alveolate, dorsal face of node, postpetiole and gaster mostly smooth and shiny. Head and body usually without standing hairs and with very little appressed pilosity, in some specimens a few erect, relatively short and stiff hairs with blunt apices present on mesosoma and gaster. Scapes and tibiae with short, appressed pilosity. Color orange to dark brown (in Kibale and Semuliki National Parks, Uganda).

Type Material

Fischer et al. (2014) - Syntypes (3 minor workers, CASENT0913517) KENYA: Blue Post Hotel (Thika, ca. 40 km NE of Nairobi), 1520m, i.1912 (Alluaud & Jeannel) [3 syntypes examined].


  • Cantone S. 2018. Winged Ants, The queen. Dichotomous key to genera of winged female ants in the World. The Wings of Ants: morphological and systematic relationships (self-published).
  • Consani, M. 1951. Formiche dell'Africa Orientale I. Boll. Ist. Entomol. Univ. Studi Bologna 18: 167-172 (page 170, queen described)
  • Ettershank, G. 1966. A generic revision of the world Myrmicinae related to Solenopsis and Pheidologeton (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Aust. J. Zool. 14: 73-171 (page 124, Combination in Oligomyrmex)
  • Fernández, F. 2004a. The American species of the myrmicine ant genus Carebara Westwood (Hymentoptera: Formicidae). Caldasia 26(1): 191-238 (page 235, Combination in Carebara)
  • Fischer, G., Azorsa, F. & Fisher, B.L. 2014. The ant genus Carebara Westwood (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): synonymisation of Pheidologeton Mayr under Carebara, establishment and revision of the C. polita species group. ZooKeys 438:57–112. doi:10.3897/zookeys.438.7922
  • Santschi, F. 1914b. Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale, 1911-1912. Résultats scientifiques. Insectes Hyménoptères. II. Formicidae. Paris: Libr. A. Schulz, pp. 41-148. (page 79, fig. 8 worker described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Consani M. 1951. Formiche dell'Africa Orientale I. Bollettino dell'Istituto di Entomologia della Università degli Studi di Bologna 18: 167-172.
  • Fischer G., F. Azorsa, F. Fernandez, and B. L. Fisher. 2014. The ant genus Carebara Westwood (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): synonymisation of Pheidologeton Mayr under Carebara, establishment and revision of the C. polita species group. Zookeys doi: 10.3897/zookeys.@@.7922
  • Garcia F.H., Wiesel E. and Fischer G. 2013.The Ants of Kenya (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)—Faunal Overview, First Species Checklist, Bibliography, Accounts for All Genera, and Discussion on Taxonomy and Zoogeography. Journal of East African Natural History, 101(2): 127-222
  • IZIKO South Africa Museum Collection
  • Ross S. R. P. J., F. Hita Garcia, G. Fischer, and M. K. Peters. 2018. Selective logging intensity in an East African rain forest predicts reductions in ant diversity. Biotropica 1-11.
  • Weber N. A. 1941. Four new genera of Ethiopian and Neotropical Formicidae. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 34: 183-194.
  • Weber N. A. 1943. The ants of the Imatong Mountains, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 93: 263-389.
  • 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