Messor piceus

Every Ant Tells a Story - And Scientists Explain Their Stories Here
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Messor piceus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Messor
Species: M. piceus
Binomial name
Messor piceus
Stitz, 1923

Messor piceus casent0235915 p 1 high.jpg

Messor piceus casent0235915 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Messor piceus.


M. piceus is a very closely related to Messor capensis and Messor decipiens; these three names may ultimately prove to represent only a single species. (Bolton 1982)

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Botswana, Namibia, 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.

  • piceus. Messor piceus Stitz, 1923: 150 (w.q.) SOUTH AFRICA. See also: Bolton, 1982: 352.

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



Bolton (1982) - Medium to Large, HW 3.28- > 4.20.

Answering to the description of Messor capensis, but differing mainly in the colour of the body pilosity which is white to yellowish in capensis but very deep red-brown to blackish in piceus. Apart from this the anterior clypeal margin is indented medially in piceus; the propodeum varies from narrowly rounded through right-angled to broadly and bluntly dentate, and the largest known workers are larger than those of capensis. In the HW range 3.28-4.20 the maximum diameter of the eye is 0.54-0.64, about 0.15-0.17 x HW, and the CI range is 106--119. The maximum known for capensis is HW 3.44 but this may not be the largest worker of the species, merely the largest available for study at present. Relative size of eye and CI fall within the range of capensis.

Type Material

Unfortunately the type-series of piceus appears to be lost, but three short series from Transvaal match the original description tolerably well and show the dark pilosity noted by Stitz. I am therefore applying the name piceus to these specimens and to two other short series, from Natal and Botswana. (Bolton 1982)


  • Bolton, B. 1982. Afrotropical species of the myrmecine ant genera Cardiocondyla, Leptothorax, Melissotarsus, Messor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology, 46: 307-370 (page 352)
  • Stitz, H. 1923. Hymenoptera, VII. Formicidae. Beitr. Kennt. Land- Süsswasserfauna Dtsch.-Südwestafr. 2: 143-167 (page 150, worker, queen described)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton B. 1982. Afrotropical species of the myrmicine ant genera Cardiocondyla, Leptothorax, Melissotarsus, Messor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 45: 307-370.
  • Stitz H. 1923. Hymenoptera, VII. Formicidae. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Land- und Süsswasserfauna Deutsch-Südwestafrikas 2: 143-167.