Tetraponera merita, 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: 299-300

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Tetraponera merita

sp. n.

Tetraponera merita  HNS  sp. n.

(Figs 1, 17-18, 26)

Sima Grandidieri var. Hildebrandti; Forel 1892: 260 (in part) (misidentification)

Tetraponera  HNS  psw92; Fisher 1996:100; Fisher 1998: 49; Fisher 1999: 134; Fisher 2002: 318. Cited in faunal inventories.

Holotype worker. MADAGASCAR Toamasina : 1 km SSW Andasibe (= Perinet ), 920 m, 18°56'S 48°25'E, 16.xi.1990, ex rotting tree stump, rainforest, P. S. Ward #10943 ( CASENT0012863) ( CASC)GoogleMaps  .

Paratypes. Séries of workers and queens, same locality as holotype, 16.xi.1990 and 12.xii.1990 (P. S. Ward #10939, 19043, 10944-3, 11144) ( BMNH, CASC, MCZC, PSWC, SAMC, UCDC)  .

Material Examined.-( BMNH, CASC, MCZC, MHNG, MNHN, NHMV, PSWC, SAMC, UCDC) MADAGASCAR Antsiranana: Ampasindava, Ambilanivy, 3.9 km 181° S Ambaliha, 600 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al.); Ampasindava, Ambilanivy, 3.9 km 181° S Ambaliha, 600 m (Rafanomezantsoa, J. J.); Forêt Antsahabe, 11.4 km 275° W Dairana, 550 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al.); Forêt Binara, 9.1 km 233° SW Dairana, 650-800 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al); P.N. Marojejy, 27.6 km 35° NE Andapa, 775 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al); R.S. Manongarivo, 10.8 km 229° SW Antanambao, 400 m (Fisher, B. L.); R.S. Manongarivo, 12.8 km 228° SW Antanambao, 780 m (Fisher, B. L.); Fianarantsoa: 43 km S Ambalavao, Res. Andringitra, 800 m (Fisher, B. L.); 43 km S Ambalavao, Res. Andringitra, 825 m (Fisher, B. L.); 45 km S Ambalavao, 785 m (Fisher, B. L.); Ambodiamontana[as "Ambodiamatana"], Ranomafana Nati Pk, 800 m (Rajeriarison, E.); Miaranony, Ranomafana Nati Pk, 1050 m (Rajeriarison, E.); Miaranony, Ranomafana Nati Pk, 700 m (Rajeriarison, E.); Nat. Park Ranomafana, Miaranony, 1050 m (Rajeriarison, E.); P.N. Ranomafana, 1130 m (Harin'Hala, R.); P.N. Ranomafana, Vatoharanana, 4.1 km 231° SW Ranomafana, 1100 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al.); PN Befotaka-Midongy, 940 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al); R.S. Ivohibe, 8.0 km E Ivohibe, 1200 m (Fisher, B. L.); R.S. Ivohibe, 9.0 km NE Ivohibe, 900 m (Fisher, B. L.); Ranomafana Nati Pk. (Rajeriarison, E.); Ranomafana, Miaranony Village (Kingman, A.); Valoloaka Forest, Ranomafana Nati Pk, 1150 m (Rajeriarison, E.); Vevembe, 600 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al.); Toamasina: 17 km W Andapa, Res. d'Anjanaharibe-Sud, 875 m (Alpert, G. D.); 1 km SSW Andasibe (=Permet), 920 m (Ward, P. S.); 6.5 km SSW Befingotra, Res. Anjanaharibe-Sud, 875 m (Fisher, В. L.); 9.2 km WSW Befingotra, Res. Anjanaharibe-Sud, 1280 m (Fisher, В. L.); Andasibe ( Périnet) (Brooks, R. W.); Betampona, 390 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); Betampona, 520 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); F.C. Andriantantely, 530 m (Ratsirarson, H. J.); F.C. Sandranantitra, 450 m (Ratsirarson, H. J.); Forêt Ambatovy, 14.3 km 57° [NE] Moramanga, 1075 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); Forêt Analamay, 19.1 km 51° NE Moramanga, 1068 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al.); Forêt Torotorofotsy, 14.9 km 71° ENE Moramanga, 1070 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); Manakambahiny(Pauly, A.); Mont. Anjanaharibe, 18.0 km 21° NNE Ambinanitelo, 470 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al); Mont. Anjanaharibe, 19.5 km 27° NNE Ambinanitelo, 1100 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); P.N. Mantadia, 895 m (Ratsirarson, H. J.); PN Zahamena, 860 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al); PN Zahamena, Besaky River, 760 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); PN Zahamena, Oribe River, 780 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); PN Zahamena, Sahavorondrano River, 765 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); vie. Andasibe (=Perinet), 950-980 m (Brown, W. L.; Brown, D. E.); Toliara: 10 km NW Enakara, Rés. Andohahela, 420 m (Fisher, В. L.); Env. de Tsivory ( Région du Sud) (Vacher); Forêt Ivohibe, 200 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); Forêt Ivohibe, 650 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); Fort Dauphin (Sikora); Grand Lavasoa, 450 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); P.N. Andohahela, Manampanihy, 5.4 km 113° ESE Mahamavo, 650 m (Fisher, В. L.; et al.); PN Andohahela, 275 m (Fisher, B. L.; et al.); province unknown: "Madagascar Central" (Sikora); "Madagascar /(S.-E.)" (Decary, R.).

Worker measurements (n = 9). HW

1.16-1.59, HL 1.23-1.74, LHT 1.38-1.83, CI 0.90-0.94, FCI 0.11-0.15, REL 0.31-0.34, REL2 0.34-0.38, SI 0.76-0.82, FI 0.28-0.32, PLI 0.49-0.56, PWI 0.46-0.53.

Worker diagnosis. Similar to T. grandidieri  HNS  (q.v.). Basal margin of mandible with conspicuous tooth (Fig. 1); anterior clypeal margin deflected ventrally; head relatively broad (CI 0.90-0.94); 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; orange to reddish-brown, appendages paler; head usually concolorous with mesosoma.

Comments. This is one of the more distinctive species in the Г. grandidieri  HNS  group, easily recognized by the presence of a tooth on the basal margin of the mandible and by the undercut median portion of the clypeus. T. merita  HNS  is usually more or less unicolorous reddish- or orange-brown, without a contrastingly darker head, but in some northern populations(3.9 km S Ambaliha, Forêt Antsahabe and Forêt Binara) the head is infuscated relative to the rest of the body. This species also tends to be larger than ali the others except T. manangotra  HNS  (see HW, HL and LHT measurements). Although the holotype of T. grandidieri hildebrandti  HNS  (Forel, 1891) is conspecific with T. grandidieri  HNS  (Forel, 1891), material referred to T. g. hildebrandti  HNS  by Forel (1892: 260) includes T. merita  HNS  . During earlier examination and identification of muséum material I assigned the code name Tetraponera  HNS  psw92 to this species.

Distribution and biology. T. merita  HNS  is widely distributed in rainforest of eastern and northern Madagascar, overlapping the ranges of ali other species in the T. grandidieri  HNS  group (Fig. 26). Nests have been found on the ground in rotten logs, sticks and tree stumps. A worker from the type series ( PSW 10943) stung me on my left index finger. The sting was rather painful and left a pustule that lasted more than a week. It reinforced my impression that the conspicuous orange and reddish-brown coloration of workers of T. merita  HNS  and related species in the T. grandidieri  HNS  group is aposematic.


USA, California, San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences


United Kingdom, London, The Natural History Museum [formerly British Museum (Natural History)]


USA, Massachusetts, Cambridge, Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology




South Africa, Cape Town, Iziko Museum of Capetown (formerly South African Museum)


USA, California, Davis, University of California, R.M. Bohart Museum of Entomology


Switzerland, Geneva, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


France, Paris, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle