Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biological Sciences


William P. Mackay


Abstract (chapter 1)

The Afrotropical ants in the genus Bothroponera include the pumicosa, talpa, and sulcata species complexes. Species in the Bothroponera pumicosa species complex are mainly distributed in the southern part of Africa. This group of ants is characterized by having coarsely foveolate sculpture and by having either a raised a "v" or "u" shaped anterior medial area of the clypeus (anteclypeus), with or without a carina. The mandibles have 7 teeth in the majority of species and 8 teeth in the others. The eyes are relatively large. The scapes usually do not reach the posterior lateral corner of the head, but in some species they reach or slightly exceed the posterior corner. Members of this complex lack the metatibial gland on the anterior side of the metatibia. The African members of this complex include: Bothroponera aspera (stat. nov.), B. berthoudi (= variolosa syn. nov.), B. cariosa, B. cavernosa, B. granosa, B. laevissima, B. montivaga (stat. nov.), B. pumicosa, B. strigulosa, and B. umgodikulula. Several morphological characters distinguish members of the Bothroponera pumicosa complex, such as sculpture pattern, gastral segment form, scape length, and form of the anterior border and disc of the clypeus. A key to the workers with diagnoses and comparisons is provided, together with illustrations of each species as well as the distributions and information about the material examined and colored photographs of the species.

Abstract (chapter 2)

The Bothroponera sulcata species complex is distributed in Afrotropical areas including tropical and subtropical ecosystems. The sulcata species complex includes 11 species: B. ancilla (stat. nov.), B. crassa, B. crassior (stat. nov.), B. notaula (sp. nov.), B. kenyensis, B. kruegeri, B. picardi, B. silvestrii, and B. soror, B. ryderae (sp. nov.), B. pilosuperficia (sp. nov.), and 6 new synonyms B. ilgii (syn. nov.), B. asina (syn. nov.), B. rhodesiana (syn. nov.), B. lamottei (syn. nov.), B. suturalis (syn. nov.), B. nimba (syn. nov.). The main defining character of these species is the presence of a metatibial gland; however, there are other characters such as the shape of the anterior clypeal border, mandible surface and shape, teeth number, postero-dorsopropodeum shape ( broadly or strongly curved or angulated). Diagnosis, comparisons, illustrations, distributions and other information about the species are provided with a key for the worker caste.

Abstract (chapter 3)

The members of the Bothroponera talpa species complex are distributed in Afrotropical areas along with the B. pumicosa and B. sulcata species complexes. The B. talpa species complex includes 8 valid species and 5 synonyms: Bothroponera cribrata, B. fugax, B. pachyderma (= B. pachyderma attenata, = B. pachyderma postsquamosa, = B. funerea syn. nov.), B. rubescens, B. sanguinea, B. sculpturata stat. nov. (= B. mlanjiensis syn. nov.), B. talpa (= Psalidomyrmyx clavicornis syn. nov.), and B. zumpti. These species share similar characters such as the shape of the clypeus, the length of the antennal scape, mandibular shape and sculpture. The anterior medial margin of the clypeus is convex or straight with a slightly concave anterior border. The scape does not reach the posterior lateral corner of the head. The mandibles are triangular with striae and 6 - 7 teeth. There is no metatibial gland on the ventral anterior surface of the posterior tibia. Diagnoses, descriptions, comparisons, illustrations, distributions and other ecological and biological information are provided. A taxonomical key is provided for the worker caste.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

303 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Abdulmeneem Joma