The phylogeography of the southern African ant genus Ocymyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)


Ants are among the most conspicuous organisms that one encounters in terrestrial landscapes and they have a profound influence on most terrestrial plants and animals through their predatory, scavenging and symbiotic behaviour. Ecologists often need to be able to identify ants because they are having an impact on the system being studied. Ants are also often used as biological indicators in ecological assessments because of the relative ease with which they can be sampled.

There are probably just over a thousand species of ants in southern Africa (south of the Kuneni and Zambezi rivers) but only about 550 of them have names. It is relatively easy to identify an ant to genus level but to species level is difficult, if not impossible, for the many genera that have not recently received (in the last 50 years) a taxonomic revision.

My goal is to advance understanding of ant systematics, ecology and biology.

Current projects

  • Taxonomy, phylogeny and distribution of the Tetramorium solidum-group in southern Africa (Hymenoptera:Formicidae).
  • Unraveling the phylogeography of the southern African ant genus Ocymyrmex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): using a genetic and morphological approach (MSc. Project, University of Stellenbosch).

Nokuthula Mbanyana

BSc.(Hons) University of Stellenbosch (2010)

Assistant Curator/ Entomology

Natural History Department

Iziko South African Museum
PO Box 61
Cape Town 8000
South Africa


Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3866
Fax: +27 (0)21 481 3993

Research interests

Systematics, ecology and biology of southern African ants 

Research for exhibitions and displays


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