|At a Glance||• Brachypterous Queen|
A member of the Tetraponera allaborans species-group.
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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Tetraponera tessmanni is the only inhabitant of mature Vitex thyrsiflora lianas, providing effective defense against herbivores. The association between V. thyrsiflora and T. tessmanni is unusual. Pseudomyrmecine plant-ants often prune vegetation contacting their host plant. This behavior functions in part to protect against invasion of the host by ecologically dominant ants. In contrast, T. tessmanni does not prune because its liana that depends on contacts with many other plants. Several traits of V. thyrsiflora and T. tessmanni combine to make the colonization of host plants by potential competitors very difficult. These include behavioral and morphological filters restricting entrance into the plant and exploitation of the resources it can supply; modifications in plant anatomy that enables T. tessmanni workers to carry out all activities, except leaf patrolling, within a single private nesting space where food resources are offered by the plant; and polygyny permitting the colony to monopolize a large, rapidly growing and long-lived territory (Djiéto-Lordon et al. 2005).
Wheeler (1922b: 108) noted a considerable variation in queen size, including ergatoid and brachypterous (subapterous) forms, as well as dealate individuals. Djiéto-Lordon et al. (2005) - One queen morph has fully functional wings. We observed that claustrally founded colonies were without exception founded by dealate queens of this morph. The other morph has wings reduced to functionless nubs, and a narrower thorax. Tetraponera tessmanni is the only pseudomyrmecine known to show such queen dimorphism (P. Ward, pers. comm.). Established colonies included numerous apparently functional egg-laying queens of both morphs.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- tessmanni. Sima tessmanni Stitz, 1910: 131, fig. 2 (w.) EQUATORIAL GUINEA. Santschi, 1919h: 84 (q.); Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 110 (m.); Wheeler, W.M. 1918c: 304 (l.); Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1956: 391 (l.). Combination in Tetraponera: Wheeler, W.M. 1918c: 303; in Viticicola: Wheeler, W.M. 1919i: 130; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 109; in Sima (Tetraponera): Emery, 1921f: 28; in Tetraponera: Ward, 1990: 489. Senior synonym of castanea: Brown, 1950e: 248.
- castanea. Viticicola tessmanni var. castanea Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 112 (w.q.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO. Junior synonym of tessmanni: Brown, 1950e: 248.
- Brown, W. L., Jr. 1950g. Morphological, taxonomic, and other notes on ants. Wasmann J. Biol. 8: 241-250 (page 248, senior synonym of castanea)
- Djiéto-Lordon, C., Dejean, A., Ring, R.A., Nkongmeneck, B.A., Lauga, J. & McKey, D. 2005: Ecology of an improbable association: The Pseudomyrmecine Plant-ant Tetraponera tessmanni and the myrmecophytic Liana vitexthyrsiﬂora (Lamiaceae) in Cameroon. Biotropica 37: 421–430.
- Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 28, Combination in Sima (Tetraponera))
- Santschi, F. 1919h. Nouvelles fourmis du Congo Belge du Musée du Congo Belge, à Tervueren. Rev. Zool. Afr. (Bruss.) 7: 79-91 (page 84, queen described)
- Stitz, H. 1910. Westafrikanische Ameisen. I. Mitt. Zool. Mus. Berl. 5: 125-151 (page 131, fig. 2 worker described)
- Ward, P. S. 1990. The ant subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): generic revision and relationship to other formicids. Syst. Entomol. 15: 449-489 (page 489, Combination in Tetraponera)
- 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.
- Wheeler, G. C.; Wheeler, J. 1956. The ant larvae of the subfamily Pseudomyrmecinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 49: 374-398 (page 391, larva described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1918c. A study of some ant larvae, with a consideration of the origin and meaning of the social habit among insects. Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 57: 293-343 (page 304, larva described)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1918c. A study of some ant larvae, with a consideration of the origin and meaning of the social habit among insects. Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 57: 293-343 (page 303, Combination in Tetraponera)
- Wheeler, W. M. 1919k. A singular neotropical ant (Pseudomyrma filiformis Fabricius). Psyche (Camb.) 26: 124-131 (page 130, Combination in Viticiola)
- 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 110, male described, page 109, Combination in Viticiola)