Cape fire ant

Cape fire ant

Observation - Cape fire ant - Southern Africa. Description: This obs is my New Year's gift to Tony Rebelo, who introduced me to the species at http://www.ispotnature.org/node/475889 First collected by Mayr in the Table Mountain forests [probably Newlands] in 1865, the species is widespread through sub-Saharan Af

This obs is my New Year's gift to Tony Rebelo, who introduced me to the species at http://www.ispotnature.org/node/475889
First collected by Mayr in the Table Mountain forests [probably Newlands] in 1865, the species is widespread through sub-Saharan Africa, with several subspecies. The major workers have stings that are perfectly capable of penetrating human skin in softer areas, such as between toes and fingers. Some research suggests that some human individuals can have dangerous allergic reactions to Solenopsis stings.
Solenopsis puntaticeps should not be confused with Solenopsis puncticeps, which does not occur in Africa. Why taxonomists should choose to give two such similar-looking ants such confusingly similar names is only something they can answer for, and hopefully one day they might have to.
There's more about this ant and the genus Solenopsis at www.ants.org.za