Key to Afrotropical Tetraponera species-groups

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This key is based on Ward, P. S. 2006. The ant genus Tetraponera in the Afrotropical region: synopsis of species groups and revision of the T. ambigua-group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecologische Nachrichten 8:119-130. PDF

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NOTE: MFC=Minimum distance between frontal carinae.


  • Large species (HW > 1.70, MFC > 0.35); head with three distinct ocelli; petiole with prominent, recurved anteroventral tooth ..... T. rufonigra group
  • Smaller species (HW < 1.70, MFC < 0.25); either head with 0 - 2 ocelli or anteroventral tooth of petiole small and simple or (usually) both .....2


return to couplet #1

  • Pronotum with sharp lateral margination, extending in attenuated form to the lateral borders of the propodeum and petiole; integument sculpture imparting a matte appearance to most of body; mesonotum strongly transverse, 2 - 3× wider than long, and semicircular in dorsal view with a straight posterior margin; posteroventral margin of petiole with a median notch (ventral view)..... T. natalensis group
  • Pronotum, propodeum and petiole usually with soft-edged lateral margins; if sharply marginate, then integument shiny; mesonotum about as long as wide and appearing ovoid or sub-rectangular in dorsal view; posteroventral margin of petiole lacking median notch (ventral view) .....3


return to couplet #2

  • Larger species (HW 0.95 - 1.59), with long and slender appendages: scape length three-quarters or more of head width (SI 0.74 - 0.85) and length of metatibia subequal to that of head (LHT / HL 0.94 - 1.12); head with three distinct ocelli.....T. grandidieri group
  • Smaller species (HW 0.44 - 1.15), with shorter and more robust appendages: scape length about two-thirds or less of head width (SI 0.40 - 0.70) and length of metatibia distinctly less than that of head (LHT / HL 0.58 - 0.82); head with two ocelli or (more commonly) none .....4


return to couplet #3

  • Long axis of compound eye directed antero-medially; upper half of mesosternum sparsely pubescent; workers dimorphic, with a discrete soldier subcaste..... T. ambigua group, KEY
  • Long axis of compound eye directed anteriorly or anterolaterally; mesosternum densely pubescent; workers monomorphic...... T. allaborans group