Odontomachus troglodytes Santschi

Fisher, B. L. & Smith, M. A., 2008, A revision of Malagasy species of Anochetus Mayr and Odontomachus Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., PLoS ONE 3, pp. 1-23: 16-19

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Odontomachus troglodytes Santschi


Odontomachus troglodytes Santschi  HNS 

Figures: worker 10e,f, 13a; queen 10g,h; male 11c,d,f; map 14b

Type material: Odontomachus haematodes troglodytes Santschi, 1914: 58  HNS  [ 36]. Lectotype worker: Kenya, Shimoni cave ( NHMB), designated by Brown, 1976: 106 [ 2] [examined] AntWeb CASENT0101134.CASC  Raised to species Brown, 1976: 106 [ 1].

Odontomachus haematodus stanleyi Wheeler, 1922: 102  HNS  [ 37]. Type worker: DRC ( Zaire) Stanleyville , 25° 10'E, 0°30'N Feb 1915, ( AMNH) [examined] AntWeb CASENT0104653GoogleMapsCASC  , CASENT0104654.GoogleMapsCASC  Synonymized with troglodytes  HNS  by Brown, 1976: 106 [ 1].

Worker measurements: maximum and minimum based on n = 15 from Madagascar: HL 2.23-2.66, HW (across vertex) 1.56- 1.92, HW (across upper eye margin) 1.69-1.98, CI 74-78, EL 0.40-0.47, ML 1.13-1.33, MI 45-54, SL 2.07-2.42, SI 117-127, WL 2.61-3.07. FL 2.28-2.65, PW 1.02-1.19.

The specimens from Madagascar are notably smaller than specimens in CAS collection from South Africa, ceIntral Africa and Sao Tome. Maximum and minimum measurements based on n = 5: HL 2.52-2.94, HW (across vertex) 1.81-2.25, HW (across upper eye margin) 1.94-2.31, CI 74-79, EL 0.41-0.51, ML 1.19- 1.38, MI 47-49, SL 2.24-2.53, SI 110-122, WL 2.88-3.23. FL 2.42-2.91, PW 1.13-1.36.

Queen measurements: maximum and minimum based on n = 5 from Madagascar: HL 2.59-2.74, HW (across vertex) 1.99- 2.19, HW (across upper eye margin) 2.05-2.18, CI 78-79, EL 0.56-0.59, ML 1.39-1.44, MI 52-55, SL 2.36-2.52, SI 112-119, WL 3.18-3.49. FL 2.67-2.76.

Male measurements: maximum and minimum based on n = 5 from Madagascar: HL 1.00-1.04, HW 1.30-1.35, CI 127- 133, EL 0.68-0.70, SL 0.22-0.26, SI 17-19, WL 2.52-2.59. FL 1.80-1.88

Worker Diagnosis: Workers of this species can be easily distinguished from coquereli  HNS  by their smaller size, distinct extraocular furrows and temporal ridges on vertex and short and blunt mandibular teeth. Brown (1976) provides additional description and references.

Distribution and biology. O. troglodytes  HNS  was first reported from Madagascar by Andre [ 38:290] as O. haematodes (Linnaeus)  HNS  . African and Malagasy records of haematodes  HNS  actually refer to troglodytes  HNS  . In Madagascar, troglodytes  HNS  is widespread throughout the east in secondary habitats, including coastal scrub, eucalyptus plantations, littoral forest, and rainforest below 800 m elevation. This species is also widespread across sub-Saharan Africa in second growth forests and open habitats. Forel [ 25:159] recorded Odontomachus  HNS  (as haematodes  HNS  ) from Seychelles. These specimens have not been examined but probably refer to O. simillimus  HNS  and not troglodytes  HNS  .

Because of its preference of secondary habitats, it is possible that troglodytes  HNS  in Madagascar is a recent colonist from Africa, possibly introduced by humans. This is in coIntrast to coquereli  HNS  which is most closely related to Melanesian species in the tyrannicus group.

Our collections in Madagascar were focused primarily on less disturbed habitats, thus the distribution map (Fig. 10b) probably does not reflect the full extent of its range. O. troglodytes  HNS  was most often recorded nesting in rotten logs (30 collection records) followed by sifted litter (15). Males were collected at light, malaise traps, and yellow pan traps.

A lab colony was kept for a number of months and thrived on a diet of crickets, producing numerous larvae, brood, and males. The trap jaw behavior is very similar to that of O. bauri  HNS  [ 39, Fisher unpublished]. When disturbed, the specimen use trap jaw propulsion to "jump" away.

CO1. Shallow iIntraspecific and deep interspecific divergences between O. troglodytes  HNS  in Madagascar and Africa and the other species - what one might expect if it has been recently introduced. Average within species sequence divergence of 0.4% (Figs 15, 17).

Diagnostic barcoding loci. O. troglodytes  HNS  : G- 1659, G-465, G- 519, T-535, A-537.

Specimens examined for Odontomachus troglodytes  HNS  :

Specimens from 105 separate collection events from the following 40 localities were examined. CAMEROON: Sud: Res. de Faune de Campo, 2.16 km 106° ESE Ebodje ;  Sud-Ouest: Bimbia Forest , 7.4 km 119° ESE Limbe   . CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Prefecture Sangha-Mbaere: Parc National Dzanga-Ndoki, 39.6 km 174° S Lidjombo ;  Parc National Dzanga-Ndoki, 38.6 km 173° S Lidjombo   ; Parc National Dzanga-Ndoki, 37.9 km 169° S Lidjombo   ; Reserve Speciale de Foret Dense de Dzanga-Sangha, 12.7 km 326° NW Bayanga   ; Parc National Dzanga-Ndoki, Mabea Bai , 21.4 km 53° NE Bayanga   . GABON: Estuaire: Pointe Ngombe, Ekwata , 16 km 240° WSW Libreville ;  Libreville; F.C. Mondah, 21 km 331° NNW Libreville .  GABON: Ogooue-Maritime: Aire d'Exploit. Rationnelle de Faune des Monts Doudou , 25.2 km 304° NW Doussala;  Reserve de la Moukalaba-Dougoua, 12.2 km 305 NW Doussala   ; Reserve de Faune de la Moukalaba-Dougoua, 12.2 km 305° NW Doussala   ; Reserve de Faune de la Moukalaba-Dougoua, 10.8 km 214° SW Doussala   ; Woleu-Ntem: 31.3 km 108° ESE Minvoul   ; KENYA: [Cote d' Afrique or. angl. Shimoni ;  LIBERIA: Sapo Nat. Park   . MADAGASCAR: Toamasina: Mahavelona (= Foulpointe ); 5.3 km SSE Ambanizana , Andranobe ;GoogleMapsCASC  Foret d'Analava Mandrisy , 5.9 km 195° Antanambe   ; Res. Ambodiriana, 4.8 km 306° Manompana , along Manompana river GoogleMapsCASCCASC1GB1  ; Ile Sainte Marie, Foret Ambohidena , 22.8 km 44° Ambodifotatra GoogleMapsCASCCASC1GB1  ; Ile Sainte Marie, Foret Ampanihy , 14.4 km 52° Ambodifotatra ;GoogleMapsCASCCASC1GB1  Ile Sainte Marie, Foret Kalalao , 9.9 km 34° Ambodifotatra GoogleMapsCASCCASC1GB1  ; Parcell K9 Tampolo ;  Tampolo GoogleMapsCASC  ; S.F. Tampolo, 10 km NNE Fenoarivo Atn .GoogleMapsCASCCASC1GB1  ; Parcelle E3 Tampolo GoogleMapsCASC  ; Parcelle K7 Tampolo ;GoogleMapsCASC  Bridge at Onibi, NW of Mahavelona GoogleMapsCASC  ; Mahavelona ( Foulpointe ); 2.1 km 315° Mahavelona ;GoogleMapsCASCCASC1CASC2GB1GB2  Toamasina ( Tamatave ); Prison de Tamatave ;GoogleMapsCASC  Station forest de Tampolo, 10 km N Fenerive GoogleMaps  ; Res. Betampona, Ambodiriana 45 km NW Toamasina GoogleMaps  ; 10k N Brickaville GoogleMapsCASC  ; 11 km SE Ampasimanolotra (= Brickaville );GoogleMapsCASC  Fianarantsoa: Riv: Ranomafana Aff. de laroka ;GoogleMapsCASC  Local: Ranomafana RN2GoogleMapsCASC  ; Riv: laroka Aff de Rianila;   Local: Manakana   ; Riv: Mahatsara Aff de Rianila   ; Local: Piste vers Brickaville GoogleMapsCASC  ; Riv: Rongaronga   ; Local: Ambodifaho   ; Riv: Rianila ( Ivohitra )  ; Local: Antseranambe   ; Riv: Santaravina   ; Local: Ampasipotsy-pont routier  ; Riv: Sandragniro   ; Local: Tanambao-Pont routier   ; Riv: Farimbogna   ; Local: Village 202 ( Pont routier RN2 )  ; Riv: Ilazana   ; Local: Gri-gri   ; 8k E Kianjavato Vatovavy Forest GoogleMapsCASC  ; Ranomafana Nat. ParkGoogleMaps  ; 10k E Ranomafana GoogleMapsCASC  ; Ranomafana Nat. Park, 10 km E; Mananjary 2 km south; 7.6 km 122° Kianjavato , Foret Classee Vatovavy ;GoogleMapsCASC  SOUTH AFRICA: Mpumalanga: Songimuelo Nat. Reserve , Kromdraai Camp , Komati River   ; Natal: Mtunzini   ; Limpopo: Dunstable Farm , 27 km E ofHoedspruit  . DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Stanleyville; Epulu   .

Complementary analyses to CO1

In some instances we chose to amplify independent nuclear markers to help interpret CO1 divergences involving populations where specimens were morphologically cryptic. Because of their high copy number and relatively conserved primer regions, we selected three ribosomal regions to amplify: 18S, 28S and ITS1. We had high expectations for the utility of these markers to complement the mtDNA barcode analysis based on our own experiences with other taxa [40,41], the utility of these markers in other taxonomic groups where, for instance, ITS1 functions as a barcode [ 42], and, for 28S, based on predictions of others for the utility of this region as an alternative barcode region [ 43]. Unfortunately, we found that, while the CO1 data from species with exclusively (putatively) ergatoid queens had large phylogeographic signal, when compared to the three rRNA regions we utilized it was markedly simpler to generate, interpret and analyze. The rRNA markers utilized here, particularly 18S and 28S, can be useful for identifying interspecific (species as revised here) hybridization [see 40,41,43].


Switzerland, Basel, Naturhistorisches Museum


USA, New York, New York, American Museum of Natural History


USA, California, San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences














Odontomachus troglodytes Santschi

Fisher, B. L. & Smith, M. A. 2008


Odontomachus haematodus stanleyi

Wheeler WM 1922: 102


Odontomachus haematodes troglodytes

Santschi F 1914: 58