Axinidris luhya, Snelling, R. R., 2007

Snelling, R. R., 2007, A review of the arboreal Afrotropical ant genus Axinidris., Advances in ant systematics (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Homage to E. O. Wilson - 50 years of contributions. (Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute 80), pp. 551-579: 564-565

publication ID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Axinidris luhya

new species

Axinidris luhya   HNS   , new species

Figures 6, 16, 26

Worker diagnosis. Erect hairs present on pronotal disc but absent from scape shaft; propodeal spines thick and directed posterolaterally, distance between their apices greater than propodeal width; metanotal spiracles prominent in profile and base of propodeum abruptly elevated behind metanotal suture; propodeum dull and contiguously minutely punctate.

Worker measurements (mm) (n = 12). HW 0.99 - 1.04; HL 1.00 - 1.09; SL 0.69 - 0.74; EL 0.23 - 0.28; OVD 0.37 - 0.42; PNW 0.60 - 0.68; PPW 0.38 - 0.46; WL 1.13 - 1.26. Indices. CI 92 - 100; CNI 12 - 15; OI 22 - 28; SI 69 - 74.

Worker description. Head slightly shiny, with fine strigulate sculpture, interspaces contiguously finely punctate; clypeal disc and malar area with fine longitudinal rugae. Vertex with 0 - 3 pairs of short stiff hairs; frons with 6 - 8 widely spaced hairs of variable length in addition to much longer pair along each frontal carina; entire head with abundant short coarse subappressed to appressed pubescence. Shaft of antennal scape without erect or suberect hairs.

Entire mesosoma contiguously punctate and slightly shiny and with abundant coarse subappressed to appressed pubescence; mesepisternum and side of propodeum also with weak irregular longitudinal rugae. Pronotal disc (Fig. 16) with 2 - 3 pairs of long erect hairs and a variable number (but fewer than 12) of much shorter erect hairs; 1 - 3 short erect hairs on each propodeal spine. Mesonotum flat in profile; metanotal spiracles prominent. Propodeum abruptly elevated behind metanotal suture; disc nearly flat; propodeal spiracle on well-developed prominence and spiracular opening directed distad; medial carina low; propodeal spines thick, their apices subacute in profile; spines broad in dorsal view and direct posterolaterally, their outer margins straight and distance between their apices about equal to width of propodeum at spiracles; 4 - 10 fine erect hairs present, including on spines.

Gastral terga slightly shiny and weakly imbricate, with abundant minute piligerous punctures; terga with close coarse appressed pubescence and discs of two basal segments also usually with scattered short erect hairs; T 3 - 4 with 2 - 4 longer erect hairs.

Head and body blackish, antennae and legs dark brownish, tarsi reddish brown; yellowish spot on head between eye and antennal socket; mandibles largely reddish, but blackish at base and apex.

Queen and male unknown.


Holotype worker: KENYA, Kakamega Distr., Isecheno , 19 March 2002 (R. R. Snelling, # 02 - 156), on tree trunk.   Numerous additional worker paratypes from Isecheno, collected by R. R. Snelling, various dates, mostly on trunk of Solanum mauritiana. Holotype in LACM; paratypes in AKRI, BMNH, CASC, ICIPE, LACM, MCZC, NMKC, SAMC, and USNM.


This species is named for the Luhya people who live in the Kakamega area and, in particular, for those at Isecheno who made me feel welcome there; the name is a noun in apposition.


Additional specimens (not types) are from Yala and " Colobus Trail ", Kakamega Forest, both taken while fogging Teclea nobilis, by W. Freund. There is also a single worker collected in GABON: Prov. Ogoove-Maritime, Reserve des Monts Doudou , 24.3 km 307 ° NW Doussala , 2 ° 13.35 ' S 10 ° 24; 35 ' E, 370 m, 7. iii. 2000, S. van Noort ( CASC), on vegetation in lowland rainforest   .

The erect hairs of the antennal scape are pale, very fine and short, about 0.05 mm long, and are widely and irregularly distributed along the length of the shaft. The number varies from 2 to 6, but one specimen was examined that lacked erect hairs on one scape, but had 4 on the other. Also variable is the number of erect hairs on the mesosomal dorsum. Although the pronotum often has but a single pair of long (up to 0.10 mm) hairs, the number varies from 0 (2 specimens) to 8 within a nest series. Occasionally, 1 or 2 short erect hairs may be present on the propodeal dorsum in the vicinity of the spiracles; 1 or 2 similar hairs are present on each spine rising above the sometimes suberect pubescence.

This appears to be an eastern sister species to A. occidentalis   HNS   , currently known only from Liberia. The two are similar is size, head shape, mesosomal profile and in most details of sculpture, but A. luhya   HNS   has the mesosoma more coarsely sculptured and there are long erect hairs on both the upper frons (usually) and pronotal disc. In general habitus A. luhya   HNS   might also be confused with A. ghanensis   HNS   , but in that species the distance between the outer margins of the propodeal spines is no greater than that between the spiracles, the pronotum has only a single pair of erect hairs and none are present on the propodeum and on gastral tergum 3.


USA, California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History


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


USA, California, San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences


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


USA, Washington D.C., National Museum of Natural History, [formerly, United States National Museum]