Aphaenogaster picea

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Aphaenogaster picea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species: A. picea
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster picea
(Wheeler, W.M., 1908)

Aphaenogaster-picea-MCZ001L.jpg

Aphaenogaster-picea-MCZ001D.jpg

Specimen Label

Synonyms

A common ant in the eastern United States, it can be found across a wide range of forest habitats. Aphaenogaster picea is closely related to Aphaenogaster rudis, with which is shares many morphological and biological characteristics. It will preferentially nest in downed wood and old stumps but is rather opportunistic and flexible in that it will nest under bark, under objects on the ground, in soil, or in any cavity that provides a suitable range of temperature and protection. Their omnivorous foragers are important dispersers of myrmecochorous seeds.

Photo Gallery

  • Foraging worker.
  • Worker returning to her nest with a prey item. Horn Pond Hill, Woburn, Massachusetts, USA, 27 June 2013, collected by Gary D. Alpert in small forest on side of hill. Nest under a stone.
  • Workers within their nest.
  • A nest with workers and larvae.

Identification

Aphaenogaster picea is diagnosed by the last four antennal segments being lighter in color than the rest of the antenna, by its piceous color and northern ranges in North America (DeMarco, 2015).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Nearctic Region: United States (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

This species is closely related to Aphaenogaster rudis. An account of the biology of these species (see the biology section of the A. rudis species page) was summarized by Lubertazzi (2012).

Paluh et al (2015) found this ant was a preferred prey of the Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus).

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • picea. Stenamma (Aphaenogaster) fulvum var. piceum Wheeler, W.M. 1908f: 621 (w.q.m.) U.S.A.
    • [First available use of Stenamma (Aphaenogaster) fulvum subsp. aquia var. piceum Emery, 1895c: 305 (w.q.m.) U.S.A; unavailable (infrasubspecific) name.]
    • Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma): Emery, 1921f: 57.
    • Subspecies of fulva: Buren, 1944a: 284.
    • Subspecies of rudis: Enzmann, J. 1947b: 150 (in key); Creighton, 1950a: 148; Smith, D.R. 1979: 1362.
    • Senior synonym of punctithorax: Smith, 1951c: 796; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 359.
    • [Note: picea was made available earlier than rudis; hence picea has priority (Bolton, 1995b: 72).]
    • Status as species: Bolton, 1995b: 72; Umphrey, 1996: 558 (in key); Mackay & Mackay, 2002: 76; Coovert, 2005: 48; Ellison, et al. 2012: 230.
  • punctithorax. Aphaenogaster texana subsp. punctithorax Cole, 1938a: 239, fig. 2 (w.) U.S.A.
    • Unidentifiable taxon: Creighton, 1950a: 151.
    • Junior synonym of picea: Smith, M.R. 1951a: 796.
    • Unidentifiable taxon; incertae sedis in Aphaenogaster: Smith, D.R. 1979: 1364.
    • Junior synonym of picea: Smith, 1951c: 796; Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 359.

Type Material

  • Stenamma fulvum piceum: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s), male(s), Canada, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, United States, location of material unknown.
  • Stenamma fulvum piceum: Syntype, worker(s), queen(s), male(s), locality not specified, Canada, location of material unknown.
  • Aphaenogaster texana punctithorax: Holotype, worker, Gregory Bald, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee, 3500 ft., United States, 35°31′0″N 83°52′0″W / 35.516667°N 83.866667°W / 35.516667; -83.866667, 19 October 1937, A.C. Cole, Cole No. C-T-2186, Cole Collection; minute surface nest beneath rock on wet, deciduous forested slope.
  • Aphaenogaster texana punctithorax: Paratype, 4 workers, Gregory Bald, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee, 3500 ft., United States, 35°31′0″N 83°52′0″W / 35.516667°N 83.866667°W / 35.516667; -83.866667, 19 October 1937, A.C. Cole, Cole No. C-T-2186, Cole Collection; minute surface nest beneath rock on wet, deciduous forested slope.

Description

References

  • Bolton, B. 1995b. A new general catalogue of the ants of the world. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 504 pp. (page 72, raised to species: new status, catalogue)
  • Buren, W. F. 1944a. A list of Iowa ants. Iowa State Coll. J. Sci. 18: 277-312 (page 384, Subspecies of fulva)
  • Creighton, W. S. 1950a. The ants of North America. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 104: 1-585 (page 148, Subspecies of rudis (incorrect as picea made available earlier than rudis and hence senior name.)
  • DeMarco, B.B. 2015. Phylogeny of North American Aphaenogaster species (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) reconstructed with morphological and DNA data. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
  • Emery, C. 1895d. Beiträge zur Kenntniss der nordamerikanischen Ameisenfauna. (Schluss). Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 257-360 (page 305, First available use of Stenamma (Aphaenogaster) fulvum subsp. aquia var. piceum; unavailable name.)
  • Emery, C. 1921c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174A:1-94 94: 1-94 + 7 (page 57, Combination in Aphaenogaster (Attomyrma))
  • Lubertazzi, D. 2012. The Biology and Natural History of Aphaenogaster rudis. Psyche. 2012:1-11. doi:10.1155/2012/752815
  • Mackay, W.P., Mackay, E. 2017. The New World Gypsy Ants of the genera Aphaenogaster and Novomessor (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lambert Academic Publishing, Mauritius. 605 pp.
  • Paluh, D. J., C. Eddy, K. Ivanov, C. A. M. Hickerson, and C. D. Anthony. 2015. Selective Foraging on Ants by a Terrestrial Polymorphic Salamander. American Midland Naturalist. 174:265-277.
  • Umphrey, G. J. 1996. Morphometric discrimination among sibling species in the fulva-rudis-texana complex of the ant genus Aphaenogaster (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Can. J. Zool. 74: 528-559 (page 558, see also (in key))
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1908i. The ants of Casco Bay, Maine, with observations on two races of Formica sanguinea Latreille. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 24: 619-645 (page 621, worker, queen, male described)