Anochetus grandidieri

Brown, WL Jr.,, 1978, Contributions toward a reclassification of the Formicidae. Part VI. Ponerinae, tribe Ponerini, subtribe Odontomachiti. Section B. Genus Anochetus and bibliography., Studia Entomologica 20, pp. 549-638: 606-607

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Anochetus grandidieri


[32] Anochetus grandidieri  HNS 

The small African species related to A. grandidieri  HNS  were multiplied mercilessly by Santschi and Bernard. These forms have short, stout mandibles and small, but not minute eyes (worker EL 0.07-0.12 mm), and the antennal scapes usually fail to réach the posterior corners of the head; funicular segments II, III, IV short, hardly longer than broad. The petiolar node is narrow in side view and tapered apicad to a sharp, or at least very narrow apex; in front view, the petiolar margin varies from convex to emarginate, and is often merely flattened in the middle. The vertex, pronotal disc and gastric dorsum are mostly smooth and shining, with spaced punctures of varying coarseness.

Only in A. grandidieri  HNS  of Madagascar do the frontal striae reach far back on the vertex, where they overrun some of the punctures and surround the front and sides of the posteromedian impression. This is the commonly-collected small Anochetus  HNS  of Madagascar in leaf litter and forest soil, including the soil about the roots of epiphytes: Andasibé (= Périnet), 950-980 mm, several collections in forest, March 1969 and February 1977; W. L. and D. E. Brown; Imerintsiatosika, about 34 km W of Tananarive, pasture with eucalyptus, W. L. Brown; above Sakaramy on road to Joffreville, 500 m, litter of disturbed forest, Browns; 84 km SW Sambava on road to Andapa, disturbed forest, Browns. 8 km W of Maroantsetra, degraded forest with vanilla, Browns.

M. A. Peyrieras has found this species in forest litter and humus berlesates from: Causse de Kelifely, west-central Madagascar, litter of dry limestone forest; route d’Anosibé (from Moramanga) ; Beforona, 500 m.

A. madecassusView Treatment  HNS  is just the queen of grandidieri  HNS  . The only other Anochetus  HNS  at present known from Madagascar is A. madagascarensis  HNS  [29], also represented by repeated collections.

On the African mainland, the grandidieri  HNS  complex groups into two entities that differ by minor, but possibly constant characters. One of these entities occurs in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa, where it corresponds to the type of A. punctaticeps  HNS  , the first name available for it. This form is concolorous ferruginous yellow and has a smooth and shining first gastric tergum, with only fine and inconspicuous punctures; the propodeal angles are low and obtuse, and the petiolar node as seen from the side tapers to a narrowly-rounded apex (fig. 20). The type locality of A. punctaticeps  HNS  is Port Elizabeth, eastern Cape Province. I took samples at Walmer, a western suburb of Port Elizabeth, in thin eucalypt litter along a roadside strip; at Alexandria Forest, near Alexandria; at Beggar’s Bush, near Grahamstown, in ravine forest; and on Signal Hill, near Grahamstown, under a rock in thin forest.

In eastern, central and western sub-Saharan Africa, panctaticeps is replaced by a rather common, more variable form, corresponding to a group of available names, the earliest of which is A. grandidieri var. katonae Forel  HNS  1907, so that I am calling the species A. katonae  HNS  . The types of the worker-based species and varieties concinms, punctatus  HNS  , punctatus var. occidentalis  HNS  , lampttei and gnomulus  HNS  all seem to be minor variants of this same species. The type of A. parvus  HNS  is missing from its mount and presumably lost, but there is nothing about its description to suggest that it belongs to a different species. A. parvus var. longiceps  HNS  is based partly on a queen from Cameroun, so I cannot be sure that it is not one of the species with minute worker eyes, such as siphneus  HNS  , but in the absence of queen samples of siphneus  HNS  there appears to be no way to decide this problem; I am provisionally listing longiceps  HNS  as a synonym of katonae  HNS  .