Tetramorium uelense

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Tetramorium uelense
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Tetramorium
Species: T. uelense
Binomial name
Tetramorium uelense
Santschi, 1923

Decamorium uelense casent0280848 p 1 high.jpg

Decamorium uelense casent0280848 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels


Hita Garcia & Fisher (2014) - T. uelense is known from a few collections in savannah habitats throughout a relatively wide geographical range from West to Central Africa. Compared to most other Afrotropical Tetramorium species, there is a wealth of information about the natural history of T. uelense (Longhurst, 1979). Longhurst et al. (1979) provided important observation data about nests, foraging, recruitment, and predation on termites. Tetramorium uelense live in subterranean nests difficult to locate without observing foraging workers. At least in the area observed by Longhurst et al. (1979), the main prey of T. uelense consisted of various species of Microtermes Wasmann, and T. uelense exerted great predation pressure on these small termites. Scouting is performed by solitary workers that search the leaf litter, fallen grass stems or pieces of wood for prey. After locating termites the scouts return to the colony for recruitment of groups between 10 to 30 workers. These groups locate, immobilise, and retrieve the prey. For more details refer to Longhurst et al. (1979).

At a Glance • Termite specialist  



Hita Garcia & Fisher (2014) - A member of the Tetramorium decem species group. The following character combination separates T. uelense from the other members of its species group: relatively larger species (WL 0.98–1.06); propodeum armed with short triangular to elongate-triangular teeth (PSLI 16–18); petiolar node in profile around 1.1 times higher than long (LPeI 88–93); dorsum of mesosoma conspicuously longitudinally rugose with distinctive reticulate-punctate ground sculpture; strongly bicoloured with dark brown to black gaster contrasting with light brown to reddish brown remainder of body.

Tetramorium uelense can be easily distinguished from the remainder of the T. decem species group. The presence of longitudinally rugose sculpture on the dorsum of the mesosoma separates T. uelense immediately from Tetramorium decem, Tetramorium ultor, and Tetramorium venator. In the latter three the mesosomal dorsum is completely unsculptured, smooth, and very shiny. The only other species with sculpture on the dorsum of the mesosoma, which could be confused with T. uelense, is T. raptor. Nevertheless, both are well separable in morphology and ecology. Most obviously, T. uelense is a larger species (WL 0.98–1.06) with distinct bicolouration while T. raptor (WL 0.88–0.93) is smaller and a uniform dark brown colour. In addition, T. uelense has longer and better developed propodeal teeth (PSLI 16–18) compared to T. raptor (PSLI 10–11), even though this might be difficult to see and may require measurements to confirm. Another, more visible character is the sculpture on the mesosomal dorsum, which is strongly longitudinally rugose with distinct punctate ground sculpture in T. uelense versus longitudinally rugulose with very little ground sculpture in T. raptor. Also, the lateral pronotum of the latter is mostly unsculptured, smooth, and shiny while in T. uelense the lateral pronotum is strongly rugose with conspicuous ground sculpture.

Despite the broad distribution range, we did not observe any significant intraspecific variation in T. uelense.

Keys including this Species


The known distribution spans Guinea through Ghana and Nigeria to the northeast of the D. R. Congo close to South Sudan and Uganda.

Latitudinal Distribution Pattern

Latitudinal Range: 9.3° to -10.03547°.

Tropical South

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (type locality), Ghana, Guinea (type locality), Nigeria.

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.







Images from AntWeb

Decamorium uelense casent0906826 h 1 high.jpgDecamorium uelense casent0906826 p 1 high.jpgDecamorium uelense casent0906826 d 1 high.jpgDecamorium uelense casent0906826 l 1 high.jpg
Holotype of Tetramorium uelenseWorker. Specimen code casent0906826. Photographer Michele Esposito, uploaded by California Academy of Sciences. Owned by NHMB, Basel, Switzerland.


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

  • uelense. Tetramorium (Decamorium) decem st. uelense Santschi, 1923e: 258 (w.q.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Combination in Decamorium: Bolton, 1976: 298; in Tetramorium: Hita Garcia & Fisher, 2014: 87. Raised to species and senior synonym of nimba: Bolton, 1976: 298. See also: Longhurst, Johnson & Wood, 1979: 83.
  • nimba. Decamorium decem r. nimba Bernard, 1953b: 250 (w.) GUINEA. Junior synonym of uelense: Bolton, 1976: 298.

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



Hita Garcia & Fisher (2014) - (N=6). HL 0.67–0.72 (0.70); HW 0.54–0.59 (0.57); SL 0.39–0.42 (0.41); EL 0.19–0.20 (0.20); PH 0.36–0.38 (0.37); PW 0.43–0.47 (0.45); WL 0.98–1.06 (1.02); PSL 0.11–0.13 (0.10); PTL 0.27–0.29 (0.28); PTH 0.29–0.32 (0.31); PTW 0.21–0.23 (0.22); PPL 0.24–0.26 (0.25); PPH 0.28–0.34 (0.31); PPW 0.30–0.33 (0.31); CI 80–83 (81); SI 69–74 (72); OI 34–35 (35); DMI 43–44 (44); LMI 35–37 (36); PSLI 16–18 (17); PeNI 48–49 (49); LPeI 88–93 (90); DPeI 77–81 (79); PpNI 69–70 (70); LPpI 75–86 (80); DPpI 122–125 (124); PPI 141–145 (143).

Head much longer than wide (CI 80–83); posterior head margin weakly concave. Anterior clypeal margin with distinct, but often shallow median impression. Frontal carinae strongly developed and noticeably raised forming dorsal margin of very well-developed antennal scrobes, curving down ventrally and anteriorly halfway between posterior eye margin and posterior head margin and forming posterior and ventral scrobe margins; antennal scrobes very well developed, deep and with clearly defined margins, but ventral margin less strongly developed, median scrobal carina absent. Antennal scapes short, far from reaching posterior head margin (SI 69–74). Eyes relatively large (OI 34–35). Mesosomal outline in profile relatively flat, elongate and low (LMI 35–37), moderately to strongly marginate from lateral to dorsal mesosoma; promesonotal suture absent; metanotal groove present, distinct, but relatively shallow. Propodeum armed with short, triangular to elongate-triangular, and acute teeth (PSLI 16–18), propodeal lobes reduced, short, and well rounded, usually shorter than propodeal teeth. Tibiae and femorae strongly swollen. Petiolar node nodiform with moderately rounded antero- and posterodorsal margins, in profile around 1.1 times higher than long (LPeI 88–93), anterior and posterior faces approximately parallel, anterodorsal and posterodorsal margins situated at about same height and equally angled, petiolar dorsum clearly convex; node in dorsal view around 1.2 to 1.3 times longer than wide (DPeI 77–81), in dorsal view pronotum between 2.0 and 2.1 times wider than petiolar node (PeNI 48–49). Postpetiole in profile globular, approximately 1.2 to 1.3 times higher than long (LPpI 75–86); in dorsal view between 1.2 and 1.3 times wider than long (DPpI 122–125), pronotum around 1.4 times wider than postpetiole (PpNI 69–70). Postpetiole in profile more or less of same volume as petiolar node, postpetiole in dorsal view around 1.4 times wider than petiolar node (PPI 141–145). Mandibles and clypeus unsculptured, smooth, and shining; cephalic dorsum between frontal carinae with fine irregularly longitudinally rugulose/ rugose sculpture, rugulae/rugae often interrupted, meandering, or with cross-meshes, cephalic dorsum also puncticulate to punctate throughout its length; scrobal area strongly reticulate-punctate; lateral head mainly reticulate-rugose with weak to moderately well developed punctate ground sculpture. Ground sculpture on head usually weak, except scrobal area (see above). Dorsum of mesosoma densely longitudinally rugose on top of strong punctate ground sculpture; lateral mesosoma longitudinally rugose and very conspicuously reticulate-punctate. Forecoxae unsculptured, smooth, and shining. Petiolar node and postpetiole superficially longitudinally rugulose or irregularly rugulose superimposed on conspicuous but relatively weak reticulate-punctate ground sculpture. Mesosoma and waist segments appearing matt. First gastral tergite unsculptured, smooth, and shiny. Pilosity and pubescence greatly reduced: head with few pairs of moderately long, standing hairs, anterior pronotum with one long pair, waist segments sometimes with one long pair each, and sometimes first gastral tergite with one long pair; appressed pubescence present everywhere on body, but noticeable only on antennae, cephalic dorsum, legs, and first gastral tergite. Anterior edges of antennal scapes and dorsal (outer) surfaces of hind tibiae with appressed hairs. Body strongly bicoloured with dark brown to black gaster contrasting with light brown to reddish brown remainder.

Type Material


References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Bolton B. 1976. The ant tribe Tetramoriini (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Constituent genera, review of smaller genera and revision of Triglyphothrix Forel. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 34:281-379.
  • Hita Garcia F., and B. L. Fisher. 2014. The ant genus Tetramorium Mayr in the Afrotropical region (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae): synonymisation of Decamorium Forel under Tetramorium, and taxonomic revision of the T. decem species group. ZooKeys 411: 67-103.
  • Levieux J., and T. Diomande. 1985. Evolution des peuplements de fourmis terricoles selon l'age de la végétation dans une foret de Cote d'Ivoire intacte ou soumise à l'action humaine. Insectes Sociaux 32(2): 128-139.
  • Longhurst C., R. A. Johnson, and T. G. Wood. Foraging, Recruitment and Predation by Decamorium uelense (Sanstchi) (Formieidae: Myrmicinae) on Termites in Southern Guinea Savanna, Nigeria. Oecologia 38: 83-91.
  • Yeo K., T. Delsinne, S. Komate, L. L. Alonso, D. Aidara, and C. Peeters. 2016. Diversity and distribution of ant assemblages above and below ground in a West African forest–savannah mosaic (Lamto, Cote d’Ivoire). Insectes Sociaux DOI 10.1007/s00040-016-0527-6