New Species: Tetraponera merita

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Tetraponera merita Ward 2009, Madagascar
Tetraponera merita Ward 2009, Madagascar

Tetraponera merita Ward 2009 is one of many aculeate species described in the pages of a new festschrift honoring Roy Snelling.  I can’t link to it, unfortunately, as the festschrift is printed the latest issue of the paper-only Journal of Hymenoptera Research.

All the same, if you can get your hands on a copy the effort is worth it, especially for a touching biography penned by Jack Longino and Roy’s son, Gordon Snelling.  The festschrift also holds a couple dozen articles spanning the ecology, chemistry, evolution, and systematics across a broad sampling of aculeate hymenoptera.  Rather appropriate considering the scope of Snelling’s career.

I have been sitting on photos of this pretty malagasy Tetraponera for years, unable to put a name to it.  Thanks to the crystal-clear illustrations in Phil Ward’s contribution to the festschrift- a revision of the Tetraponera grandidieri species group- I was able to identify my mystery ant as T. merita, one of several new species in the revision.  Apparently this species has a memorably painful sting, leading Ward to suggest that “the conspicuous orange and reddish-brown coloration of workers of T. merita…is aposematic.”

source: Ward, P.S. 2009. The Ant Genus Tetraponera in the Afrotropical Region: the T. grandidieri group (Hymenoptera:Formicidae). J. Hym. Res. 18:285-304.

4 thoughts on “New Species: Tetraponera merita”

  1. Hi guys – JHR is actually electronic, but the latest PDF/HTML versions are not yet available in one place. Each author gets a PDF reprint, and the BHL scans, OCRs, and indexes the Journal except for the last two years. I agree that the Journal could be modernized in many respects, and a little bird told me there is an ISH committee looking into alternatives. They’d love to have your ideas!

      1. That model is definitely highly desirable…not sure what the committee has found, though. It’ll almost certainly be discussed at the ISH meeting in Indianapolis. Hopefully we’ll see you and other ant folks there!

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