As this Key develops we shall be concentrating on the more common genera, those with names in caps in the list below. Those where we still have to develop a page appear on the list below in green.
The full list is provided for reference; where further information is available on site the genus name in bold blue CAPS is a link to other pages already on this site.
ACROPYGA Forest sugar ants: one species, obscure and fairly localised
Aenictogiton One species. Extremely obscure, known from a single collection
AENICTUS Double-waisted blind ants: ten species, obscure, very small, in most species no workers ever found
AGRAULOMYRMEX Field ants: two species, several 'new' species awaiting classification. Obscure, a few recent collections
Amblyopone One species. Extremely obscure, one collection only
Anochetus Twelve species. Very uncommon ponerines with gin-trap jaws
Apomyrma One species. Tiny, obscure, blind yellow ants that make deep nests in the litter on the floor of rain-forests
ATOPOMYRMEX Tree Ants. Common in Africa; one species. Local records from KZN and Mpumalanga. Good pics at:
AXINIDRIS Wood ants. Three species. Obscure and localised
BOTHROPONERA Ringbum ants. Ten species; large ponerines that sting, but not common
Brachyponera One species, most in North Africa: there is a single record from the Kruger National Park
Calyptomyrmex Six species; obscure tiny forest ants found mostly in central and west Africa
CARDIOCONDYLA Spined timid ants, two species. Tiny ants, widespread with one tramp species that is often found in greenhouses
CAREBARA Thief ants, fifteen species. A parasitic genus that feeds off other ants
CATAULACUS Sculpted tree ants, six species. Heavily sculpted ants that live in thorns and twigs, in savanna and forest. There are some pics of two species at:
|www.ispotnature.org/node/629223 [C wissmannii]
Centromyrmex Four species; obscure, blind yellow/red tropical ponerines with hectic stings
Cerapachys Twelve species; fairly obscure small ponerines, most subtropical
CREMATOGASTER Cocktail ants; 43 species, some are very hard to tell apart
Cryptopone One species; Obscure tiny yellow blind ponerines
Decamorium One species. Slow, timid myrmicine; red brown; mostly Zimbabwe northwards
Diplomorium One species. Obscure, tiny, Monomorium-type ant associated with Messor
Discothyrea Four species. Obscure tiny yellow/red ants that lurk in termite mounds
DORYLUS Driver or Army ants; 12 species. Most can only be told apart by microscopic features.
Euponera Four species. Small [4 - 6 mm] and rare ponerines with tiny eyes
HAGENSIA Three species; handsome large ponerines without the ‘ringbum’ constriction on the first gastral segment
HYPOPONERA Eighteen species; mostly obscure, small ponerines with two invasive tramp species
LEPISIOTA Small black ants; twenty species [one not universally recognised]. One species has become invasive, although indigenous. Minimum 30x magnification needed to tell species apart.
Leptanilla One species; known from a single male specimen [how obscure is that?!]
LEPTOGENYS Rajor-jaw ants; fourteen species. Widespread ponerines.
LINEPITHEMA Argentine ants; one species in Southern Africa. Massively invasive species throughout the temperate regions of Earth.
MEGAPONERA Matabele ants: one species. Large, polymorphic ants famous for their destructive columns and hectic stings
Melissotarsus Two species; rare and small, known only from KZN: there may only be one species, in fact
MERANOPLUS Cautious or Furry ants: seven species. Very hairy, sculpted ants
MESOPONERA Small ringbum ants; three species. Medium to small dull black ponerines
MESSOR Harvester ants; seven species. Medium to large slow-moving polymorphic ants that gather vegetable matter for fungus gardens
Microdaceton Two species; rare, small, KZN and northwards only. Weird little ants with gin-trap jaws
MONOMORIUM Timid ants: 82 species. Widespread, smallish ants; some species are obscure
Nesomyrmex Twenty species; obscure hollow-stem or rotting-wood dwellers, most species with limited distribution and many only recently identified and named
ODONTOMACHUS Troglodyte ants; two species. Large gin-trap-jawed ponerines from KZN northwards; seldom seen
OECOPHYLLA Tailor ants: one species in southern Africa, east coast only
OPHTHALMOPONE Bug-eyed ants; two species. Large, very fast bug-eyed ponerines. Uncommon
PALTOTHYREUS Foul ringbum ants; one species. Huge [>20mm] ants with large jaws that emit foul smells. Widespread but uncommon; some pics are at:
Paretrechina Five species; only known as tramp ants in our region, with records from Durban harbour and South Peninsula High School. Obscure
PHEIDOLE House ants: 25 species. A massive genus world-wide but most local species are small and poorly known, and in something of a taxonomic mess. Pheidole megacephala is an important worldwide invasive species.
Pheidolegeton Three species. Obscure ants, mostly from Namibia; differ from Pheidole in that both majors and minors have huge heads
PLAGIOLEPIS Restless ants; sixteen species. Mostly small and uncommon, they look like small Anoplolepis but are monomorphic.
PLATYTHYREA Beetle-muncher ants; seven species. Medium-sized, slim and fast ponerines that do not really occur in Southern Africa and might eventually be excluded from this site
PLECTROCTENA Millipede muncher ants; three species. Very large ponerines, up to nearly 25mm in length
Prionopelta One species. Tiny and obscure, in forest litter: only one worker ever found in SA, in KZN
Pristomyrmex Two species. Very rare, coarsely-sculpted forest litter ants from KZN
Probolomyrmex One species. A rare, small ponerine; only one specimen ever found [Port Elizabeth]
Proceratium One species; only two specimens ever found. May be parasitical.
Pyramica Twenty species, mostly tiny and obscure forest ants with strangely-elongated heads
Rhoptromyrmex Two species. Seldom seen, obscure ants with a very broad post-petiole
Simopone Two species. Obscure, slender, stem-dwelling ants that prey on other ants’ brood
SOLENOPSIS Fire ants; four species [one alien invasive]. Polymorphic smallish ants with powerful stings, known to cause anaphylactic shock in some victims
STREBLOGNATHUS Primitive ringbum ants; two species. These are the largest ants in Southern Africa and can be larger than 25mm; small colonies of 10 to 50 individuals
Good pics at:
TAPINOLEPIS Eight species. Small, Anoplolepis-like, honey-coloured ants, mainly from Zimbabwe northwards
Tapinoma Nine species. Very tiny dolichoderine ants uncommon in Southern African
TECHNOMYRMEX Pale-footed ants; seven species. There are several world-wide invasive pests in the genus, but some species are indigenous
TETRAMORIUM Fierce [or Garden] ants; 97 species. Largest genus in Southern Africa in confusing variety; most have spines on propodeum and creases or wrinkles on their heads; the secong petiole node is often considerably thickened
TETRAPONERA Slender ants; 11 species, of which two are relatively common. Very elongated ants that live in hollow stems