Anenteotermes cherubimi Scheffrahn

Scheffrahn, Rudolf H. & Roisin, Yves, 2018, Anenteotermescherubimi sp. n., a tiny dehiscent termite from Central Africa (Termitidae: Apicotermitinae), ZooKeys 793, pp. 53-62: 54-55

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Anenteotermes cherubimi Scheffrahn

sp. n.

Anenteotermes cherubimi Scheffrahn  sp. n. Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Holotype. Worker from colony UF no. AFR1508. University of Florida Termite Collection, Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Davie, Florida. Paratypes. CAMEROON: Ebogo, slope above Nyong River (3.386, 11.466), 667 m elev., 23NOV2011, col. J. Křeček, AFR1282, two workers in capped plastic vial and approx. 25 workers desiccated in broken glass vial collected with Orthotermes  sp. CAMEROON: Ebogo II (3.386, 11.682), 660 m elev., 10DEC2011, col. J. Šobotník, AFR1810, 4 workers, larvae. CONGO (Republic of): Mokabi SA (Groupe Rougier) logging concession (3.14658, 16.96377), 527 m elev., 8DEC2017, col. Y. Roisin, Accession no. CGO060, 7 male imagos and 11 workers in soil at base of tree in rainforest.

Type locality.

CAMEROON: Korup National Park (5.0045, 8.8635), 109 m elev., 5DEC2011, col. J. Křeček, UF no. AFR1508, 53 workers collected under stone.

Description of worker

(Figs 1-4, Table 1). Monomorphic, very small, approx. 2 mm. Head capsule yellowish, covered with approximately 100 setae of varying length (Figure 1A, B). Postclypeus moderately inflated, fontanelle indiscernible. Anterior margin of abdomen, in lateral view, raised vertically above metanotum and marked at apex by dehiscence line (Figure 2 A-C). Antennae with 13 articles; 23=4=56. Left mandible with apical and first marginal teeth well separated, long, and projecting well beyond line formed by third marginal tooth and molar prominence. A subsidiary (fourth) marginal tooth visible above molar prominence in dorsal (Figure 1C) views. Right mandible with apical tooth much longer than first marginal; third marginal nearly symmetrical. Fore-tibia moderately inflated; width:length ratio 0.32. Mesenteric tongue long and tubular forming long mixed segment (Figure 1D). P1 bridged to P3 through a broadly conical EV seating resembling a sunflower receptacle (Figure 3 A–C). Enteric valve cuticle consists of six cushions of unequal size (Figure 4). The largest two cushions comprise a soft basal part covered with fringed scales and 5-6 narrow spines, and bear sclerotized extensions that broaden into wing-like paddles; margins finely pectinate (40-70 compound spines per extension) and approx. a dozen more separated spines in interior of extension (Figure 4). Other cushions soft and scaly, without spines. Middle one, situated between the largest cushions, approx. half their size. Two cushions lateral to the major ones small, approx. half smaller than the middle one. Cushion opposite to the middle one approx. the same length as it, narrower. Soft cushions anchored in their seating and seating lumen filled with bacterial slime; extensions penetrate to middle of P3 lumen (Figure 3C).

Description of imago.

(male) (Figure 5, Table 2). Tiny, 7 mm. Head with vertex and frons sepia brown, postclypeus slightly lighter. Genae and labrum light brown. Fontanelle ovoid, hyaline. Eyes dark sepia brown. Pronotum lighter than head capsule. Meso- and metanotum slightly lighter than pronotum, with hind margins tinged with yellow. Abdominal tergites and sternites light brown, sternites paler in middle. Wing membrane light brown, with darker veins. Legs light brown. Head capsule rounded posteriorly. Eyes of medium size, protruding. Ocelli elliptical, close to eyes. Antennae with 15 articles. Pronotum slightly broader than long, semi-octogonal, anterior corners deflected downward, hind margin nearly straight. Hind margins of meso- and metanotum narrow, sinuated. Wings long, approx. half their length beyond extremity of abdomen.


Anenteotermes cherubimi  is the smallest soldierless termite worker in Africa (head width, HW), followed by Acidnotermes praus  (0.52 mm HW) and An. nanus  (0.56 mm HW). The EVA of A. cherubimi  is very diagnostic and unlike that of any other termite species in having two broad and symmetrical pectinate paddles as opposed to two narrow paddles in other Aneneteotermes  spp. or tri- and hexa-radial, or asymmetrical armature as in other soldierless genera.


Sands (1998) placed " Anenteotermes  new species" in this genus based on a well-developed mixed segment which is only shared in African soldierless workers by Aderitotermes  and Adaiphrotermes  ( Sands 1972). Of these three genera, only Anenteotermes  contain species with a single pair of sclerotized EV extensions penetrating into P3. The Anenteotermes  worker key in Sands (1972, p. 194) can accom modate An. cherubimi  by inserting a new couplet three as follows and renumbering the subsequent couplets: