Tetraponera natalensis, 1852

Ward, Philip S., 2022, The ant genus Tetraponera (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the Afrotropical region: taxonomic review and key to species, Zootaxa 5102 (1), pp. 1-70 : 45-46

publication ID


publication LSID




persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Tetraponera natalensis


Tetraponera natalensis -group

Worker diagnosis. Medium to large species (HW 0.92–1.68); masticatory margin of mandible with three teeth, preceded by a single tooth on basal margin; basal margin notably longer than masticatory margin; labrum with a pair of widely flanking lateral tubercles near proximal margin and a median tubercle on distal third of labrum near cleft; anteromedial margin of clypeus usually crenulate or toothed, rarely emarginate; distance between frontal carinae equaling or exceeding basal scape width (FCI 0.08–0.19), scape length about half of head width and subequal to eye length (SI 0.45–0.57, SI3 0.81–1.23); head capsule typically with two ocelli, median ocellus lacking or weakly developed; pronotum with sharp lateral margination, extending (sometimes weakened) to lateral borders of propodeum and petiole; mesonotum 2–4 times wider than long, with a semicircular or broadly arched anterior margin and a straight to weakly arched posterior margin, the posterior margin occasionally weakly defined; dorsal face of propodeum long and flat, sometimes with a weakly differentiated area (metanotal plate?) interpolated between propodeum and mesonotum; posteroventral margin of petiole notched medially, as seen in ventral view, and well separated from helcium venter, as seen in lateral view; metabasitarsal sulcus present; appressed pubescence dense on abdominal tergite 4. Head and mesosoma usually densely punctulate to punctulate-coriarious, the sculpture imparting a subopaque (matte) appearance, but punctulate with shiny interspaces in one species. Sculpture weaker on petiole, postpetiole, and gaster, which are correspondingly sublucid.

Comments. Members of this group can be distinguished from other Afrotropical Tetraponera by the laterally marginate mesosoma and petiole, short and broadly transverse mesonotum, and medially notched posteroventral margin of the petiole. All species, except T. setosa sp. nov., also have characteristic punctulate-coriarious sculpture that imparts a matte appearance to the head and mesosoma. One of the ten species in the T. natalensis group, T. insularis sp. nov., is endemic to Madagascar; the remainder are restricted to the African mainland.