Aphaenogaster relicta

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Aphaenogaster relicta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Stenammini
Genus: Aphaenogaster
Species: A. relicta
Binomial name
Aphaenogaster relicta
Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914

Aphaenogaster relicta casent0900419 p 1 high.jpg

Aphaenogaster relicta casent0900419 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Subspecies

From Wheeler and Mann (1914): "It nests in the earth in holes beneath stones in moist localities, usually on hill-sides. The workers are timid and very rapid in their movements. They are quite unlike the workers of any of our other North American species of Aphaenogaster in the shape of the antennal scapes, in sculpture and coloration. The species is probably an ancient insular relict, confined to the island of Haiti."

Identification

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Greater Antilles, Haiti (type locality).

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Biology

Castes

Worker

Nomenclature

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

  • relicta. Aphaenogaster relicta Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914: 25, fig. 8c (w.q.m.) HAITI.
    • Combination in Novomessor: Emery, 1915d: 73.
    • Combination in Veromessor: Wheeler, W.M. & Creighton, 1934: 382.
    • Combination in Aphaenogaster: Bolton, 1982: 341.
    • Senior synonym of epinotalis: Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 375.
  • epinotalis. Aphaenogaster relicta subsp. epinotalis Wheeler, W.M. & Mann, 1914: 27, figs. 8a,b (w.) HAITI.
    • Combination in Veromessor: Wheeler, W.M. & Creighton, 1934: 384.
    • Combination in Aphaenogaster: Bolton, 1995b: 69.
    • Junior synonym of relicta: Mackay & Mackay, 2017: 375.

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

Description

Worker

Length 4-5 mm.

Head about 1 1/12 times as long as broad, a little broader in front than behind, where it is rounded and without distinct posterior corners , but with a distinct occipital margin which is somewhat elevated on each side at the posterior end of the gula. Eyes moderately large and convex, just in front of the middle of the sides of the head. Mandibles rather large, with thc external borders straight at the base, more convex at the tips ; their apical borders with 6 or 7 teeth, those near the base being short and broad. Clypeus moderately convex in the middle, depressed on the sides, its anterior border somewhat projecting, with a narrow but distinct notch in the middle. Frontal carinre elevated and rounded in front, lower, more approximated and subparallel behind. Antennre rather stout, the scapes reaching fully twice their greatest diameter beyond the posterior border of the head, at the base with a compressed, rounded lobe, not unlike that on the scapes of Myrmica scabrinodis; funicular joints, except the last, subequal, about 1 1/2 times as long as broad. Thorax long and robust, pro and mesonotum narrower than the head, in profile hemispherical; seen from above the pronotum is rather angular in front just behind the neck and more convex on the sides, behind. Mesocpinotal constriction deep and rather narrow Epinotum longer than high, its base in profile rather convex in front, more flattened behind, twice as long as the rather sloping declivity, armed with two powerful, acute spines, which are nearly as long as the base of the epinotum, directed backward, upward and outward and slightly curved downward. Petiole from above about twice as long as broad, broadest behind, with slightly concave sides; node in profile with a longer, slightly concave anterior and a shorter, convex posterior declivity and a rather acute summit; seen from behind its border is rounded and entire. Postpetiole as long as broad, broadest behind, where it is half again as broad as the petiolar node, rounded in profile above and swollen ventrally at its anterior end. Gaster broadly elliptical. Legs long and rather stout.

Mandibles subopaque, densely and coarsely striated. Clypeus, head and thorax subopaque, very coarsely, reticulately rugose, the rugae on the head somewhat finer than those on the thorax and with a more longitudinal trend. Epinotal spines shining at their tips, finely longitudinally striated at the base; epinotal declivity transversely rugulose. Neck of pronotum, petiole, postpetiole, basal and middorsal portion of first gastric segment, scapes and legs, opaque, densely and evenly punctate, with much sparser, evenly distributed and coarser piligerous punctures. Sides of first segment and the whole of the remaining gastric segments smoother, more sparsely punctate and more or less shining. Antennal funiculi rather shining.

Hairs glistening white ; coarse, pointed, erect, rather long, moderately abundant, covering the body and appendages, shorter and more reclinate on the scapes and tibiae. Deep black; mandibles, except their bases and borders, tarsi, articulations of legs, two large spots on the base of the gaster and the upper surface of the postpetiole, dull red. In some specimens the two gastric spots are fused into one and in others the entire gaster and postpetiole are black.

Queen

(dealated). Length nearly 6 mm.

Differing from the worker in the shape of the thorax. The mesonotum is only moderately, the scutellum very convex and protuberant, the base of the epinotum long, slightly sloping and straight in profile, with the spines much stouter, less divergent and shorter than in the worker, being shorter than the distance between their bases. The rugosity of the thorax is somewhat finer than in the worker and the mesopleurm are densely punctate. The sculpture of the remainder of the body, the pilosity and color are like those of the worker.

Male

Length 4 mm.

Head through the eyes about as long as broad, produced backward and somewhat conical behind. Cheeks moderately short. Mandibles feeble, but distinctly denticulate. Anterior border of clypeus broadly rounded and entire. Antennae slender; scapes about 5 times as long as broad, first funicular joint slightly swollen, about twice as long as broad, increasing in length towards the tip. Thorax robust, the anterior portion of the pronotum projecting forward, convex, flattened behind; epinotum unarmed, sloping, without distinct base and declivity. Petiole, postpetiole and gaster similar to those of the worker.

Head, thorax, pedicel and basal half of first gastric segment opaque, densely punctate, remainder of gaster and legs shining and more superficially punctate. Mesoriotum with a smooth, shining median longitudinal line.

Pilosity very similar to that of the worker.

Black; mandibles and genitalia yellow; clypeus and antennm brown; legs piceous; wings faintly infuscated, with pale veins and stigma. This beautiful species, the first Aphmnogastcr to be found in the West Indies, is described from numerous workers, a single female and a single male taken from several colonies at Diquini, Petionville, Port au Prince and in the mountains north of Jacmel. It nests in the earth in holes beneath stones in moist localities, usually on hill-sides. The workers are timid and very rapid in their movements. They are quite unlike the workers of any of our other North American species of Aphamogaster in the shape of the antennal scapes, in sculpture and coloration. The species is probably an ancient insular relict, confined to the island of Haiti.

Type Locality Information

Described from numerous workers, a single female and a single male taken from several colonies at Diquini, Petionville, Port au Prince and in the mountains north of Jacmel. In his autobiography, Ant Hill Odessy, Mann (1948) describes his expedition and collecting of ants in Haiti.

References

  • Bolton, B. 1982. Afrotropical species of the myrmecine ant genera Cardiocondyla, Leptothorax, Melissotarsus, Messor and Cataulacus (Formicidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology, 46: 307-370 (page 341, combination in Aphaenogaster)
  • Emery, C. 1915k. Definizione del genere Aphaenogaster e partizione di esso in sottogeneri. Parapheidole e Novomessor nn. gg. Rend. Sess. R. Accad. Sci. Ist. Bologna Cl. Sci. Fis. (n.s.) 19: 67-75 (page 73, combination in Novomessor)
  • 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.
  • Mann, W. M. 1948. Ant Hilll Odyssey.
  • Wheeler, W. M.; Creighton, W. S. 1934. A study of the ant genera Novomessor and Veromessor. Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci. 69: 341-387 (page 382, combination in Veromessor)
  • Wheeler, W. M.; Mann, W. M. 1914. The ants of Haiti. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 33: 1-61 (page 25, fig. 8c worker, queen, male described)