Tetraponera variegata , Ward, P. S., 2009

Ward, P. S., 2009, The ant genus Tetraponera in the Afrotropical region: the T. grandidieri group (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Journal of Hymenoptera Research 18, pp. 285-304: 300-301

publication ID


publication LSID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Tetraponera variegata

stat. n.

Tetraponera variegata  HNS  (Forel 1895) stat. n.

(Figs 21-22, 24)

Sima Grandidieri var. variegata Forel  HNS  1895: 487. Syntypes, 2 workers, " Centr Madag ." (Sikora) ( MHNG) [examined] [Imaged on AntWeb: CASENT0101045, CASENT0101046]. Syn. n. One syntype ( CASENT0101046) here designated lectotype  .

Tetraponera grandidieri var. variegata (Forel)  HNS  ; Wheeler 1922: 1014. Combination in Tetraponera  HNS  .

Tetraponera grandidieri var. variegata (Forel)  HNS  ; Santschi 1926: 27. Description of queen.

Material Examined.-( CASC, MHNG, NHMB, PSWC) MADAGASCAR Antananarivo : 3 km 41° NE Andranomay, 11.5 km 147° SSE Anjozorobe , 1300 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al)  ; Antsiranana : PN Marojejy , 488 m (Irwin, M. E.)  ; Fianarantsoa : 7 km W Ranomafana , 1100 m (Steiner, W. E.)  ; Ranomafana National Park , Talatakely , 850 m (Irwin, M. E.; Schlinger, E. I.)  ; RS Kalambatritra , Ampanihy , 1269 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.)  ; Toamasina : Moramanga ( Descarpentriesi Morarano-Chrome (Pauly, A.)  ; Toliara : Foret Ivohibe , 650 m (( Fisher, B. L.; et al.)  ; province unknown: " Centr Madag ." (Sikora)  .

Worker measurements (n = 6). HW

1.15-1.36, HL 1.36-1.62, LHT 1.39-1.59, CI 0.80-0.85, FCI 0.13-0.17, REL 0.29-0.32, REL2 0.35-0.38, SI 0.76-0.81, FI 0.30-0.32, PLI 0.49-0.55, PWI 0.41-0.46.

Worker diagnosis. Similar to T. grandidieri  HNS  (q.v.), but larger on average. Basal margin of mandible lacking tooth; anterior clypeal margin broadly convex and crenulate, directed forward; metanotal spiracle visible in lateral view of mesosoma; dorsal face of propodeum broadly convex in posterior view; standing pilosity and appressed pubescence generally sparse; integument mostly sublucid, with fine coriarious /puncticulate sculpture; mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole orange-brown, head and gaster a contrasting blackish brown, legs with a black band on the distal portions of the femora.

Comments. T. variegata  HNS  can be distinguished from related species by the bicolored body and black banded legs (Fig. 22). T. grandidieri  HNS  lacks black banding on the legs and, although the body is often bicolored, only the head is dark, not the head and gaster (as in T. variegata  HNS  ). Although such color differences might appear to be a weak basis for treating T. variegata  HNS  as a species distinct from T. grandidieri  HNS  , the two forms have been collected sympatrically at several sites (PN Marojejy, PN Ranomafana, Forêt Ivohibe) without showing any signs of intergradation. One other species, T. hespera  HNS  , from northwestern Madagascar, exhibits black leg banding in most populations but in that species the body is unicolored light yellow or orange-brown.

I have designated a lectotype for T. variegata  HNS  since there is a dealate queen in NHMB (Basel) from Moramanga (leg. Descarpentries) labeled, incorrectly, as a variegata  HNS  "type". This specimen has no status as a type, but it reflects the practice of earlier myrmecologists of designating "type specimens" for queens and maies when they were described later than the worker caste of the same species.

Distribution and biology. T. variegata  HNS  is known from several widely scattered locations in the rainforest zone of eastern Madagascar (Fig. 24). Its range broadly overlaps the distributions of Г. grandidieri, T. inermis  HNS  and T. merita  HNS  . Specimens have been collected in Malaise traps and foraging on vegetation. Up to this point no nests have been found.


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


USA, California, San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences


Switzerland, Basel, Naturhistorisches Museum