Monday, 22 October 2007

Gambian ant list

My long-running, rather ambitious, spare-time project at the moment is to produce a synopsis of the ants of The Gambia, as very little is known about its ant fauna. This started off from collections made by myself in 2007, from which I still have a lot of unidentified Pheidole minors, but it seems unlikely that I will be able to identify these accurately. All parts of this list are open to change, as there are very few species where I think my identifications are indisputable.

The existing list of ants of The Gambia was part of the Ants of Africa website, with a few additional species included in a checklist produced by Emms and Barnett. In combination these lists included just 21 species.

I've also borrowed some ants from Oxford University Museum of Natural History, so I will be adding the genera and species included in this collection over the next few months, as they are identified. I would be very interested to hear of any other ant specimens collected from the Gambia.

The key to the resources used is as follows:

* = collected during this survey in 2007.
T = listed by Taylor.
E&B = listed by Emms and Barnett.
OUMNH = specimens in the collection at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, collected by D. J. Mann in 1997.
NB = specimens in the Collingwood collection, all collected by Nicolas Blacker.

          rotundatus subsp. guineensis*
          luteum* (OUMNH)
          melanocephalum* 1
          atriceps (T)
          attenuatus (T)
          rufescens (T)
          affinis* (T)
          fimbriatus (T; OUMNH)
          fulvus (OUMNH)
          fulvus subsp. glabratus (T)
          maculatus* (T)
          olivieri subsp. delagoensis*
          olivieri cf. subsp. lemma?*
          rufoglaucus cf. subsp. controversus?*
          sericeus* (T; E&B; OUMNH)
          vestitus subsp. intuens*
          vividus* (T; NB): pseudogyne in Collingwood collection.
          lividus (NB): unlikely, as it is not found elsewhere in Africa.
          oasium* (NB)
          capensis subsp. guineensis* (OUMNH)
          capensis subsp. laevis* (OUMNH)
          longinoda* (T; E&B)
          E&B also list smaragdina, but this is probably erroneous.
          nigrita (OUMNH)
          emeryi*: a widespread tramp species.
          chiarinii subsp. taediosa (T)
          cf. excisa*
          gambiensis* (T)
          cf. impressa*
          impressa subsp. brazzai (T)
          wellmani (T)
          bicolor* (T; OUMNH)
          edouardi (OUMNH) 2
          sericeiventre* (T)
          brunoi (T)
          escherichi (NB)
          tarsata* (E&B)

1 See: Wetterer, J. K. 2008. Worldwide spread of the ghost ant Tapinoma melanocephalum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecological News 12: 23-33.
2 Queen only. Quite clearly either T. edouardi or T. tersum, but matches the description of the queen of T. edourdi better than T. tersum (= kivuense).

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