Plagiolepis,

Wheeler, W. M., 1922, The ants collected by the American Museum Congo Expedition., Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 45, pp. 39-269: 210-212

publication ID

20597

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/DF6E78ED-4343-40ED-E24D-1DB3AB0085E7

treatment provided by

Christiana

scientific name

Plagiolepis
status

 

Plagiolepis  HNS  Mayr

Worker medium-sized to very small, monomorphic or feebly polymorphic. Mandibles rather narrow, with oblique, usually 5-toothed, apical borders. Clypeus large, convex, carinate or subcarinate, lozenge-shaped, its anterior border arched and projecting somewhat over the bases of the mandibles. Maxillary palpi 6-jointed, labial palpi 4-jointed. Frontal carinae short, subparallel, rather far apart. Frontal area poorly denned. Antennae 11-jointed, inserted very near the clypeal suture, the funiculi slender, gradually thickened towards their tips, the first joint long, the remaining joints gradually lengthening distally, the terminal joint elongate. Eyes moderately large and flat, placed in front of the middle of the head. Ocelli usually absent. Thorax short, more or less constricted in the mesonotal region, the epinotum simple and unarmed. Petiole with its scale anteriorly inclined, its superior border entire. Gaster rather voluminous, elliptical. Legs slender. Gizzard with the calyx strongly reflexed, parasol-shaped.

Female much larger than the worker. Head small, thorax and gaster massive, the mesonotum somewhat flattened above, the gaster elliptical. Antennae 11-jointed. Wings long, with one cubital cell and usually without a discoidal cell.

Male somewhat smaller than the female. Mandibles acutely toothed. Frontal area large. Antennae 12-jointed, with long scapes; funiculi with elongate first joint. Thorax voluminous, mesonotum large, flattened above, covering the small pronotum. Petiole as in the female. External genital valves large, rounded. Wings as iu the female.

Pupae enclosed in cocoons.

This genus is peculiar to the warmer parts of the Old World (Maps 34 and 35) and is represented by the largest and most numerous species in the Ethiopian Region. Two of the latter, P. custodiens  HNS  and steingroveri , resemble our northern species of Formica  HNS  in stature and structure. A single medium-sized species, P. longipes (Jerdon)  HNS  , has been widely distributed by commerce in the Old World tropics and has also gained a footing in Mexico. Another species, P. nuptialis Santschi  HNS  , recently discovered by Dr. Hans Brauns in the Cape Province, is parasitic on P. custodiens  HNS  (vide infra). So far as known, the species of Plagiolepis  HNS  nest in the ground, making crater nests or tunneling under stones, with the single exception of P. mediorufa  HNS  , which inhabits plant-cavities.

Santschi has recently separated the genus into three subgenera: Plagiolepis  HNS  , sensu stricto, Anacantholepis  HNS  , and Anoplolepis  HNS  , on the structure of the mesonotum.