Acropyga paleartica

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Acropyga paleartica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Plagiolepidini
Genus: Acropyga
Species: A. paleartica
Binomial name
Acropyga paleartica
Menozzi, 1936

LaPolla (2004) - Acropyga palertica has one of the most northerly distributions of any Acropyga species. It has been found in pine forests. This species has been observed in mating swarms in the afternoon, though actual mating was observed by Buschinger et at. (1987) to take place on the tops of rocks, on which both queens and males crawled. Queens were observed to crawl into the soil after dealation. It is a known trophophoretic species associated with E. corinthiacus.

Identification

LaPolla (2004) - Worker: Antennae 11 segmented; 6-8 uneven mandibular teeth; basal tooth offset from masticatory margin. Queen: As in worker with modifications expected for caste. Male: unknown. Compare with Acropyga arnoldi and Acropyga silvestrii.

This species in many ways resembles Acropyga arnoldi, with a high number of mandibular teeth, high number of maxillary palpal segments (up to 5) and a similarly shaped pronotum. The known distributions of the two species are quite different: A. arnoldi is known only from southern Africa. Additionally, A. arnoldi is larger species with head width greater than 0.55 mm, while A. paleartica is known from specimens with head widths less than 0.5 m. Acropyga silvestrii is smaller than A. palearctica with regards to head width, possesses torulae that are much more closely set together.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Greece (type locality).

LaPolla (2004) - This species is the only Acropyga known to occur in the Mediterranean area.

Check distribution from AntMaps.

Distribution based on specimens

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The above specimen data are provided by AntWeb. Please see Acropyga paleartica for further details

Biology

LaPolla (2004) - It is interesting to note that the mealybugs utilized by A. paleartica and A. arnoldi are thought to be closely related to each other (Williams, 1998; see under A. arnoldi for more details).

Buschinger, A., Heinze, J., Jessen, K., Douwes, P., Winter, U. 1987: First European record of a queen ant carrying a mealybug during her mating flight. Naturwissenschaften 74, p.139. - First observation of a mating flight of A. paleartica, near Meteora monasteries in Greece, on 7 Oct. 1985. - Gynes carried mealybug larvae in their mandibles. The ants were misidentified as Plagiolepis sp.

Seifert, B. & Heller, G. 1999: Carrying of a worker pupa by a singly-dispersing foundress of Acropyga paleartica Menozzi, 1936 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Myrmecologische Nachrichten 3, 63-65. http://myrmecologicalnews.org/cms/images/pdf/volume3/mn3_63-65_printable.pdf - On the Greek island of Crete a swarming gyne was observed on 19 Sept. 1979.

Castes

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • paleartica. Acropyga (Rhizomyrma) paleartica Menozzi, 1936d: 298, fig. 17 (w.) GREECE. LaPolla, 2004a: 78 (q.); LaPolla, 2006a: 171 (m.).

Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.

LaPolla (2004) - Unfortunately, I could not locate males for this study despite the fact that they have been collected in the past (Buschinger et al., 1987), and they therefore remain undescribed. Without males I have chosen not to place A. paleartica in a species-group. With a high number of mandibular teeth (up to 8) and a 5-segmented maxillary palp, I suspect that A. paleartica is a primitive species within the genus, perhaps even being closely related A. arnoldi.

Description

Worker

LaPolla (2004) - (n=4): TL: -; HW: 0.462-0.496; HL: 0.549-0.574; SL: 0.441-0.556; ML: 0.47-0.532; GL: - ; CI: 81.18-87.48; SI: 88.91-119.31.

Head: yellow; covered by a layer of short appressed hairs; head distinctly longer than broad; posterior margin entire; 11 segmented, incrassate antennae; apical segment about as long as preceding four segments; scape reaches posterior margin to slightly failing to reach posterior margin; clypeus medially convex, with longer erect hairs on surface; mandible with 6-8 uneven teeth; basal tooth typically offset from masticatory margin; inner mandibular margin nearly parallel with anterior clypeal margin. Mesosoma: yellow; entire mesosoma covered in layer of short appressed hairs; in lateral view, pronotum rounded broadly toward mesonotum; mesonotum flat, at about same level as propodeum; metanotal area often distinct; propodeum dorsum flat; declivity steep. Gaster: yellow; covered in a layer of short appressed hairs, with scattered, longer erect hairs throughout.

Queen

LaPolla (2004) - (n=1): TL: 2.77; HW: 0.577; HL: 0.591; SL: 0.515; ML: 0.952; GL: 1.23; CI: 97.63; SI: 89.25. As in worker with modifications expected for caste.

Male

LaPolla, J.S. 2006: Description of the male of Acropyga paleartica Menozzi, 1936. Myrmecologische Nachrichten 8: 171-173. http://myrmecologicalnews.org/cms/images/pdf/volume8/mn8_171-173_non-printable.pdf

Type Material

Acropyga paleartica Menozzi, 1936: 298 (w.). 4 syntype workers, GREECE: T. Mili; island of Scarpanto (= Karpathos) (C. Menozzi) (IEGG) [examined]. The designated lectotype is a worker labeled JSL # 126 and is deposited at IEGG.

References