Aenictus sulawesiensis

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Aenictus sulawesiensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Aenictus
Species: A. sulawesiensis
Binomial name
Aenictus sulawesiensis
Jaitrong & Wiwatwitaya, 2013

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Paratype Specimen Label

So far A. sulawesiensis has been known only from the type locality.

Identification

A member of the pachycerus group. This species is very similar to Aenictus kutai (see under A. kutai).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Sulawesi

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Indonesia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about the biology of Aenictus sulawesiensis. The genus is comprised of species that live an army ant lifestyle. Aenictus typically prey on other ants, from other genera, or other insects such as wasps or termites. There are reports of Aenictus preying on other insects as well and even have been observed collecting honeydew from homopterans (Santschi, 1933; Gotwald, 1995) but this appears, at least from available evidence, to be uncommon. Foraging raids can occur day or night across the ground surface. Occasionally raids are arboreal. During a raid numerous workers attack a single nest or small area, with several workers coordinating their efforts to carry large prey items back to the nest or bivouac. Aenictus have a nomadic life style, alternating between a migratory phase in which nests are temporary bivouacs in sheltered places above the ground and a stationary phase where semi-permanent underground nests are formed. During the nomadic phase bivouacs move regularly, sometimes more than once a day when larvae require large amounts of food. Individual nests usually contain up to several thousand workers, although nest fragments containing only a few hundred workers are often encountered. Queens are highly specialised and look less like workers than in most ant species. They have greatly enlarged gasters (dichthadiform) and remain flightless throughout their life. New colonies are formed by the division of existing colonies (fission) rather than by individual queens starting colonies on their own.

Castes

Known only from the worker caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • sulawesiensis. Aenictus sulawesiensis Jaitrong & Wiwatwitaya, 2013: 100, figs. 2A-C (w.) INDONESIA.

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

Description

Worker

Holotype: TL 3.25 mm; HL 0.76 mm; HW 0.65 mm; SL 0.63 mm; ML 1.05 mm; PL 0.29 mm, CI 85; SI 96.

Paratypes (n = 9): TL 3.25-3.30 mm; HL 0.75-0.78 mm; HW 0.63-0.65 mm; SL 0.60-0.63 mm; ML 1.04-1.06 mm; PL 0.28-0.30 mm, CI 82-85; SI 96-98.

Head in full-face view elliptical, distinctly longer than broad, with feebly convex sides; posterior margin convex; occipital margin bearing a narrow collar. Antennal scape relatively short, extending beyond 2/3 of head length, but not reaching posterolateral corner of head; antennal segment II slightly shorter than broad; III–VII each almost as long as broad; terminal segment almost as long as VII+VIII+IX. Frontal carinae well developed, fused at the level of antennal base to form a single carina, extending less than half length of head; posterior half of frontal carina very poorly developed, with head in profile roundly concave. Parafrontal ridge well developed, reaching 1/3 of head length (0.30 mm); seen in profile, its anteriormost part well developed and subtriangular, and posterior part feebly convex. Masticatory margin of mandible with large apical tooth followed by a medium-sized subapical tooth and 5–6 denticles; basal margin lacking denticles. Mesosoma elongate and stout; promesonotum seen in profile slightly convex dorsally, sloping gradually to metanotal groove; mesopleuron not clearly demarcated from metapleuron; metanotal groove indistinct; propodeum in profile lower than promesonotum, nearly straight dorsally; propodeal junction angulate; declivity of propodeum shallowly concave, encircled with a rim. Petiole subsessile, almost as long as high, its node short and elevated posteriorly; subpetiolar process weakly developed or almost absent, its ventral margin feebly convex. Postpetiole almost as long as petiole, dorsally convex.

Dorsum of head punctate; lateral face with weaker punctuation (reticulate with smooth and shiny bottoms) than dorsum and partly smooth and shiny or superficially reticulate with smooth interspaces. Antennal scape microreticulate. Mandible entirely micropunctate except for apical tooth and along masticatory margin. Greater part of pronotum superficially sculptured or smooth and shiny. Petiole entirely punctate and opaque; postpetiole entirely punctate except small area on dorsum shiny. First gastral tergite and sternites smooth and shiny except for the basalmost part with dense punctures. Basal half of femora microreticulate, but apical half superficially macroreticulate, smooth and shiny, partly superficially shagreened with smooth and shiny interspaces. Tibiae microreticulate, somewhat shiny.

Head and mesosoma dorsally with dense standing hairs; longest pronotal hair 0.23-0.25 mm long. Dorsum of head, mandible and mesosoma dark brown; legs, waist, and gaster dark reddish brown to reddish brown; antennal scape dark brown except for apicalmost portion reddish brown; all funicular segments reddish brown. Typhlatta spot absent

Type Material

Holotype worker from Indonesia, S. Sulawesi, Barru, Taneterilau, Lipukasi, Forest Complex Coppo (4°30'S, 119°37'E), 8 Jan.2011, coll. Sk. Yamane, CE11-SKY-21 (Bogor Zoological Museum). Sixty-seven paratype workers, same data as holotype (Ant Museum, The Natural History Museum, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève, Bogor Zoological Museum, SKY Collection, Natural History Museum of the National Science Museum).

Etymology

The specific name is derived from name of the type locality, Sulawesi Island of Indonesia.

References