Tetraponera ophthalmica

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Tetraponera ophthalmica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Pseudomyrmecinae
Genus: Tetraponera
Species: T. ophthalmica
Binomial name
Tetraponera ophthalmica
(Emery, 1912)

Tetraponera ophthalmica casent0091649 profile 1.jpg

Tetraponera ophthalmica casent0091649 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label


Occurs in west Africa and central Africa in areas of higher rainfall. It is apparently a generalist inhabitant of dead twigs.


A member of the Tetraponera ambigua-group.

Ward (2018) - This species can be readily distinguished from Tetraponera ambigua by its smaller size, disproportionately larger eyes, and much sparser standing pilosity. The anterior clypeal margin of queens and soldiers is adorned with a single median tooth, especially stout in soldiers (anterior clypeal margin usually crenulate or bluntly tridentate in queens and soldiers of T. ambigua). For differences between T. ophthalmica and Tetraponera parops see under the latter species.

Keys including this Species


Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun (type locality), Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda.

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.

  • ophthalmica. Sima ophthalmica Emery, 1912b: 98 (w.) CAMEROUN. Combination in S. (Tetraponera): Emery, 1921f: 28; in Tetraponera: Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 107. Senior synonym of nasuta, tenebrosa, unidens: Ward, 2006: 126.
  • tenebrosa. Tetraponera ophthalmica var. tenebrosa Santschi, 1928d: 61 (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Junior synonym of ophthalmica: Ward, 2006: 126.
  • unidens. Tetraponera ophthalmica st. unidens Santschi, 1928d: 60, fig. 2 (q.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Junior synonym of ophthalmica: Ward, 2006: 126.
  • nasuta. Tetraponera nasuta Bernard, 1953b: 222, fig. 7 (q.) GUINEA. Terron, 1971: 74 (s.w.m.). Junior synonym of ophthalmica: Ward, 2006: 126.

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



Ward (2018) - (n = 11). HW 0.52 - 0.59, HL 0.71 - 0.88, LHT 0.46 - 0.56, CI 0.67 - 0.73, FCI 0.15 - 0.19, REL 0.45 - 0.50, REL2 0.64 - 0.71, SI 0.60 - 0.65, SI3 0.85 - 0.96, FI 0.42 - 0.47, PLI 0.47 - 0.56, PWI 0.35 - 0.46, LHT / HW 0.89 - 0.99, CSC 2 - 4, MSC 0 - 2.

Relatively small species with elongate head and large eyes; masticatory margin of mandible with four teeth; clypeus narrow and protruding anteromedially; median lobes of antennal sclerites expanded laterally and covering most of the antennal insertions; ocelli absent (represented at most by small flecks of dark pigment below the cuticle); profemur moderately slender; pronotum laterally submarginate; mesosonotum flat to weakly convex in profile, metanotal spiracles not conspicuously raised; dorsal face of propodeum rounding insensibly into declivitous face; petiole slender, about twice as long as high; metabasitarsal sulcus absent. Integument finely coriarious/puncticulate and sublucid. Standing pilosity sparse (see CSC and MSC values), absent from the mesonotum and propodeum; typically one pair of long setae on pronotum and petiole, and one or two pairs of shorter setae on postpetiole; scattered appressed pubescence on most of body, moderately dense on abdominal tergite 4 (hairs separated by less than their lengths). Usually pale yellow to yellowish-brown, occasionally much darker (blackish-brown).

Type Material

Ward (2018) - Holotype (by monotypy), worker, "Kamerun" (leg. Conradt) (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genoa) [examined].


  • Emery, C. 1912b. Études sur les Myrmicinae. [I-IV.]. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Belg. 56: 94-105 (page 98, worker described)
  • Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 28, Combination in S. (Tetraponera))
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922b. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. II. The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 39-269 (page 107, Combination in Tetraponera)

References based on Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics

  • Baroni Urbani C. 1977. Katalog der Typen von Formicidae (Hymenoptera) der Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Basel (2. Teil). Mitt. Entomol. Ges. Basel (n.s.) 27: 61-102.
  • Braet Y., and B. Taylor. 2008. Mission entomologique au Parc National de Pongara (Gabon). Bilan des Formicidae (Hymenoptera) recoltes. Bulletin S. R. B. E./K.B.V.E. 144: 157-169.
  • Emery C. 1912. Études sur les Myrmicinae. [I-IV.]. Annales de la Société Entomologique de Belgique 56: 94-105.
  • Fisher B. L. 2004. Diversity patterns of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along an elevational gradient on Monts Doudou in southwestern Gabon. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences 28: 269-286.
  • 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
  • Lévieux J. 1972. Les fourmis de la savane de Lamto (Côte d'Ivoire): éléments de taxonomie. Bulletin de l'Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire. Série A. Sciences Naturelles 34: 611-654.
  • Menozzi C. 1942. Formiche dell'isola Fernando Poo e del territorio del Rio Muni (Guinea Spagnola). 24. Beitrag zu den wissenschaftlichen Ergebnissen der Forschungsreise H. Eidmann nach Spanisch-Guinea 1939 bis 1940. Zoologischer Anzeiger 140: 164-182.
  • Tadu Z., C. Djieto-Lordon, R. Babin, Yede, E. B. Messop-Youbi, and A. Fomena. 2013. Influence of insecticide treatment on ant diversity in tropical agroforestry system: some aspect of the recolonization process. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 5(12): 832-844.
  • Taylor B. 1976. Ants of the Nigerian Forest Zone (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). I. Ponerinae, Cerapachyinae, Pseudomyrmecinae. Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria Technical Bulletin Series 4: 1-41.
  • Terron G. 1971. Description des castes de Tetraponera nasuta Bernard (Hym. Formicidae, Promyrmicinae). Annales de la Faculté des Sciences, Université Fédérale du Cameroun 6: 73-84.
  • Ward. P. S. 2006. The ant genus Tetraponera in the Afrotropical region: synopsis of species groups and revision of the T. ambigua-gropu (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mymecologische Nachrichten 8: 119-130.
  • Wheeler W. M. 1922. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. II. The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45: 39-269.