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The first Late Cretaceous ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from southern Africa, with comments on the origin of the Myrmicinae

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image of Insect Systematics & Evolution

Ants (10 specimens) comprise 12% of the hymenopteran Armaniid-Kind assemblage collected from the Turonian deposits at Orapa, Botswana. The taxa Orapia Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, gen. n. (Armaniinae), Orapia rayneri Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, sp. n., Orapia minor Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, sp. n., Afropone Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, gen. n. (Ponerinae), Afropone oculata Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, sp. n., Afropone orapa Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, sp. n., Afromyrma Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, gen. n. (oldest known Myrmicinae), and Afromyrma petrosa Dlussky, Brothers & Rasnitsyn, sp. n. are described. The significance of these findings is discussed in the context of observed faunal changes in Cretaceous ants, evolutionary changes in the Ponerinae, and time and mode of origin of Myrmicinae.


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