Tetraponera clypeata (Emery)

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 : 26-27

publication ID


publication LSID




persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Tetraponera clypeata (Emery)


Tetraponera clypeata (Emery)

( Figs 2 View FIGURES 1–3 , 4 View FIGURES 4–6 , 35 View FIGURES 35–40 )

Sima clypeata Emery 1886: 361 View Cited Treatment . Syntypes, 3 dealate queens, Cape of Good Hope [“Cap B. Sp.”], South Africa (Peringuey) (MSNG, NHMV, SAMC) [examined]. 1 syntype queen in NHMV imaged on AntWeb: CASENT0915850 .

Sima Braunsi Forel 1913: 112 . Syntypes, 4 workers, 3 dealate queens, Willowmore, South Africa (H. Brauns) ( MHNG) [examined] . 1 syntype worker imaged on AntWeb: CASENT0907470. Syn. nov.

Sima (Tetraponera) clypeata race braunsi var. equidentata Arnold 1916: 184 . 5 workers, Cape Town , South Africa (Arnold) (BMNH) [examined]. Unavailable name.

Sima clypeata Emery ; Emery 1895b: 24 View Cited Treatment . Description of worker.

Sima (Tetraponera) clypeata Emery ; Arnold 1916: 182. Combination in Sima (Tetraponera) .

Tetraponera clypeata (Emery) ; Wheeler 1922b: 797. Combination in Tetraponera .

Tetraponera clypeata (Emery) ; Chomicki et al. 2015: figure S1. Placement in molecular phylogeny.

Sima (Tetraponera) clypeata race Braunsi Forel ; Arnold 1916: 182. Combination in Sima (Tetraponera) ; subspecies of S. clypeata .

Tetraponera clypeata subsp. braunsi (Forel) ; Wheeler 1922b: 797. Combination in Tetraponera .

Tetraponera braunsi (Forel) ; Ward 1990: 488. Raised to species.

Worker measurements (n = 10). HW 0.58–0.68, HL 0.78–0.94, LHT 0.48–0.58, CI 0.71–0.76, FCI 0.10–0.14, REL 0.28–0.31, REL2 0.39–0.44, SI 0.61–0.64, SI3 1.46–1.62, FI 0.40–0.45, PLI 0.50–0.60, PWI 0.39–0.46, LHT/ HW 0.83–0.90, CSC 0–2, MSC 0.

Worker diagnosis. Small species; masticatory margin of mandible with three teeth; minimum distance between frontal carinae slightly exceeding basal scape width (FCI 0.10–0.14, MFC/SL 0.16–0.22); scape moderately long, greater than one-half head width (SI 0.61–0.64, SI2 0.45–0.48); median lobe of clypeus produced anteriorly, usually with two pairs of lateral teeth separated by a small concavity, flanked by a weaker pair of outer lateral teeth ( Fig. 4a View FIGURES 4–6 ); profemur moderately robust (FI 0.40–0.45), legs moderately short (LHT/HL 0.61–0.65); mesopropodeal impression with irregular longitudinal rugulae, preceded by a short, raised metanotal plate ( Fig. 4b View FIGURES 4–6 ); dorsal face of propodeum subequal in length to declivitous face and rounding insensibly into the latter; petiole elongate and slender (see PLI and PWI values), with a well marked anterior peduncle and weak anteroventral tooth; postpetiole longer than broad. Integument predominantly smooth and shiny, with scattered fine punctures and weak reticulation. Standing pilosity inconspicuous, present on frontal carinae and as a single supraocular pair of setae on the vertex, absent from dorsum of mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole, sparse on succeeding abdominal segments 4–8. Dark brown, appendages lighter.

Comments. Tetraponera clypeata belongs to a cluster of closely related species—here termed the T. clypeata complex—that also includes T. dispar , T. emeryi , T. exactor , and T. furtiva . The workers of this complex can be distinguished from other African members of the allaborans group by their reduced mandibular dentition (masticatory margin with 3 teeth), closely adjacent frontal carinae (FCI 0.08-0.14), relatively long scapes (SI 0.56–0.67), and elongate petiole (PLI 0.50–0.61). T. dispar differs from T. clypeata by its smaller size (worker HW 0.51-0.52), larger eyes (worker REL 0.35), and orange-brown coloration. Workers of T. emeryi are light yellowish-orange but otherwise quite similar in structure to those of T. clypeata (see further discussion under T. emeryi ). Workers of T. furtiva are medium-brown in color, and with a shorter petiole than T. clypeata (PL/HW 0.72–0.77 in T. furtiva , versus 0.79–0.88 in T. clypeata ).

Distribution and biology. Known only from southwestern South Africa (Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape provinces), T. clypeata nests in dead twigs, stems, and thorns of various plants. Specific nest site records include Vachellia karroo thorns, dead stem of Osteospermum , dead stem of Restionaceae , “stalks tenanted by Allodape bees”, “dead branch”, and “hollow twigs”. Recorded habitats include valley bushveld, coastal scrub forest, fynbos, fenosterbos, renosterveld, “S. Coast Strandveld”, spiny forest/thicket, and roadside.

Material examined ( ANIC, ASIC, BMNH, CASC, CUIC, HZIC, KUBC, KUEC, MCZC, MHNG, MNHN, MSNG, MZLU, NHMB, NHMW, PSWC, SAMC, UASK, UCDC, USNM, UTIC, ZMAS). South Africa: Eastern Cape: Faraway Farm, nr. Grahamstown (Rashbrook, V.); Februarie Farm, 39.9 km 268° W Kirkwood (Robertson, H. G.; Tourle, R.); Februarie Farm, 39.9 km 268° W Kirkwood (van Noort, S.); Grahamstown (Weatherill, L.); Hamburg, 10 m (Wild, A. L.); Kranshoek (c.u.); Port Elizabeth (Brauns); Port Elizabeth (c.u.); Port Elizabeth (Krauss, N. L. H.); Southwell (Hepburn); Willowmore (Brauns, H.); Northern Cape: Fynbos 2 Site, 6.41 km 295° WNW Nieuwoudtville (van Noort, S.); Glen Lyon farm, 4.98 km 127° SE Nieuwoudtville (van Noort, S.); province unknown: Cape Colony [as “Le Cap”] (c.u.); Capland (c.u.); Western Cape: 14 km ENE Montagu, 600 m (Ward, P. S.); 2 km NNW Vrede, Anysberg Nature Reserve, 750 m (Ward, P. S.); 3 km E Ashton, 220 m (Ward, P. S.); 3 km S Scarborough (O’Brien, C. W.; O’Brien, L. B.; Marshall, G. B.); Brandfontein Reserve (Robertson, H. G.); Cape of Good Hope [as “Cap B. Sp.”] (Péringuey); Cape of Good Hope [as “Cap B. Sza”] (Péringuey, L.); Cape of Good Hope [as “ Cape de B. E.”] (Brauns); Cape Peninsula, Hout Bay, Little Lions Head (Brinck; Rudebeck); Cape Peninsula, Kirstenbosch (Brinck; Rudebeck); Cape Town (Arnold); Cape Town (Bridwell, J. C.); Cape Town (c.u.); Cape Town (Foly, F.); Cape Town (Phillips, E. P.); Cape Town (Simon, E.); Cape Town above Tokai Forest, Constantiaberge, above Donkerboskloof, 460 m (van Noort, S.); Cecelia Reservaat, Nuwelande (Geertsema, H.); Clanwilliam (Malkin, B.); Constantia [as “Constan”] (c.u.); De Hoop Nature Reserve, 100 m (Danielsson, R.); De Hoop Nature Reserve, Potberg (Smulian, T.); Dikbome, Merweville Koup (Zinn, H.); Grootvadersbosch (c.u.); Hermanus, Fernkloof Nature Reserve, Mt. Cyclopia, 380 m (van Noort, S.); Jacobsbaai (Robertson, H. G.); Kluitjieskraal Forestry Station, Dist. Wolseley (Boonzaaier, A. A.); Koeberg (Robertson, H. G.); Koppie Alleen, De Hoop Nature Reserve (Robertson, H. G.); Lorraine Farm (Robertson, H. G.; Picker, M.); Matjesfontein (Simon, E.); Montagu [as “Montague”] (c.u.); Montagu Pass (Penther); Mosselbay (Penther); Muizenberg, Cape Prov. (Malkin, B.); Olifantsbos, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (Robertson, H. G.); Oudebos River, Kogelberg Nature Reserve, 140 m (Ward, P. S.); Oudebos River, Kogelberg Nature Reserve, 280 m (Ward, P. S.); Piekenierskloof, 15 km S Citrusdal, 370 m (Danielsson, R.); Plant Research Institute, Rosebank, Cape Town (Cillie, J. J.); Retreat (Malkin, B.); Riviersonderend [as “R. Sonder End”], Oudebosch, 455 m (Barnard, K. H.); Seaforth, 5 m (Ward, P. S.); Stellenbosch (Kovalev, O.); Table Mountain (c.u.); Tierberg, nr. Prince Albert (Dean, W. R. J.); Tulbagh (Lightfoot); Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Cape Town, 324 m (Braschler, B.); Vrede, Anysberg Nature Res., 750 m (Ward, P. S.); Wilderness Natl. Park, 17 km SE George (Danielsson, R.); Wolfgat Nature Reserve (van Noort, S.).


Museum d'Histoire Naturelle


Australian National Insect Collection


Cornell University Insect Collection


Kyushu University Entomology Collection


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova 'Giacomo Doria'


Lund University


Natural History Museum Bucharest


Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien


Iziko Museums of Cape Town


Ukrainian Academy of Science


R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History














Tetraponera clypeata (Emery)

Ward, Philip S. 2022

Tetraponera braunsi (Forel)

Ward, P. S. 1990: 488

Tetraponera clypeata (Emery)

Wheeler, W. M. 1922: 797

Tetraponera clypeata subsp. braunsi (Forel)

Wheeler, W. M. 1922: 797

Sima (Tetraponera) clypeata race braunsi var. equidentata

Arnold, G. 1916: 184

Sima (Tetraponera) clypeata

Arnold, G. 1916: 182

Sima (Tetraponera) clypeata

Arnold, G. 1916: 182

Sima Braunsi

Forel, A. 1913: 112

Sima clypeata

Emery, C. 1895: 24

Sima clypeata

Emery, C. 1886: 361