Tetramorium capense

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Tetramorium capense
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Tetramorium
Species: T. capense
Binomial name
Tetramorium capense
Mayr, 1865

Tetramorium capense casent0217961 p 1 high.jpg

Tetramorium capense casent0217961 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Collections records suggest this a bushveld and fynbos inhabitant with soil nests.


Bolton (1980) - The only known species which is definitely closely related to T. capense is Tetramorium dominum which shares most of its basic features but which is easily separated by its characteristic pilosity. In T. capense hairs are sparsely present on the alitrunk and first gastral tergite and are of the same construction and approximately the same density in both places, being elongate, quite stout and blunt apically. In T. dominum on the other hand hairs are dense on the alitrunk and first tergite and are radically different in form in the two places. Those on the alitrunk are erect, very short, thick and blunt whilst those on the first tergite are very fine, elongate and acute apically, being 3-4 times longer than those on the alitrunk. The affinities of these two related species are obscure. For the most part they resemble the Tetramorium shilohense-group and they could be related to those species in the T. shilohense-complex itself, were it not for the fact that those species lack a notched clypeal margin. Also, the eyes in T. capense and T. dominum are just that bit too large to allow them to fit in easily with the small-eyed forms close to T. shilohense.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: South Africa (type locality), Zimbabwe.

Distribution based on AntMaps


Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb





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

  • capense. Tetramorium capense Mayr, 1865: 89 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Emery, 1895h: 36 (q.m.). Senior synonym of braunsi: Santschi, 1914a: 435; Bolton, 1980: 359; of popovici: Bolton, 1980: 359. See also: Prins, 1973: 8.
  • braunsi. Tetramorium braunsi Forel, 1913a: 119 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Subspecies of capense: Forel, 1913j: 220. Junior synonym of capense: Santschi, 1914a: 435; Bolton, 1980: 359.
  • popovici. Tetramorium popovici Forel, 1914d: 230 (w.) SOUTH AFRICA. Arnold, 1917: 312 (q.). Junior synonym of capense: Bolton, 1980: 359.

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



Bolton (1980) - TL 3.8-4.3, HL 0.92-1.08, HW 0.82-0.96, CI 88-92, SL 0.66-0.78, SI 78-83, PW 0.56-0.66, AL 1.00-1.20 (25 measured).

Mandibles longitudinally striate. Anterior clypeal margin with a small median notch or impression. Frontal carinae strongly developed at least to level of posterior margins of eyes and usually beyond this, but fading out or ending suddenly in the occipital region well in front of the occipital margin. The frontal carinae are widely separated at eye level and are surmounted by a narrow rim or crest at least to the level of the posterior margins of the eyes. Antennal scrobes shallow and inconspicuous, no more than a faint impression in the side of the head below the frontal carinae. Eyes relatively small, maximum diameter 0.14-0.18, about 0.17-0.19 x HW and with 6-7 ommatidia in the greatest diameter. Propodeal spines elongate-triangular, stout, acute apically. Metapleural lobes variable in shape but usually broadly triangular, always shorter than the propodeal spines but broader basally. Petiole in profile with a thick anterior peduncle. Anterior face of node meeting dorsum in a right-angle which is sometimes produced into a minute peak. Posterodorsal angle of node blunt and narrowly rounded. Petiole node in dorsal view distinctly broader than long and usually with a narrow but quite distinct low rim or crest traversing the anterior face. Dorsum of head finely and densely longitudinally rugulose and with a fine dense conspicuous punctulate or granular ground-sculpture. In the occipital region the rugulae usually become weaker or partially fade out, but in some individuals a few anastomoses are present; there is no rugoreticulum developed. Dorsal alitrunk finely and densely reticulate-punctate, usually without rugulose sculpture but in some a few faint longitudinal rugulae may be developed on the pronotum. Dorsal surfaces of petiole and postpetiole finely or minutely densely punctulate, sometimes the sculpture very fine and superficial; very rarely one or two vestigial rugulae may be present. First gastral tergite smooth to finely punctulate basally, but most commonly lightly shagreened or with a faint surface-reticular pattern. Hairs on dorsal surfaces of head and body sparse (pronotum with 3 pairs at most) quite stout, blunted long hairs, the longest of which exceed the maximum diameter of the eye; hairs on alitrunk and gaster approximately the same length. Dorsal (outer) surfaces of hind tibiae only with minute decumbent to appressed pubescence.

Type Material

Bolton (1980) - Syntype workers, SOUTH AFRICA: Cape of Good Hope, Cape Colony (The Natural History Museum; Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna) [examined].


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Arnold G. 1917. A monograph of the Formicidae of South Africa. Part III. Myrmicinae. Annals of the South African Museum. 14: 271-402.
  • Bolton B. 1980. The ant tribe Tetramoriini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). The genus Tetramorium Mayr in the Ethiopian zoogeographical region. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 40: 193-384.
  • Braschler B., S. L. Chown, and K. J.Gaston. 2012. The Fynbos and Succulent Karoo Biomes Do Not Have Exceptional Local Ant Richness. PLoS ONE 7(3): e31463.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031463
  • Emery C. 1895. Voyage de M. E. Simon dans l'Afrique australe (janvier-avril 1893). 3e mémoire. Formicides. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 64: 15-56.
  • Forel A. 1913. Fourmis de Rhodesia, etc. récoltées par M. G. Arnold, le Dr. H. Brauns et K. Fikendey. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 57: 108-147.
  • French K., and R. E. Major. 2001. Effect of an exotic Acacia (Fabaceae) on ant assemblages in South African fynbos. Austral Ecology 26: 303–310.
  • Prins A. J. 1973. African Formicidae (Hymenoptera) in the South African Museum. Description of four new species and notes on Tetramorium Mayr. Annals of the South African Museum 62: 1-40.
  • Santschi F. 1914. Formicides de l'Afrique occidentale et australe du voyage de Mr. le Professeur F. Silvestri. Bollettino del Laboratorio di Zoologia Generale e Agraria della Reale Scuola Superiore d'Agricoltura. Portici 8: 309-385.
  • 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