Asphinctopone differens

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Asphinctopone differens
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Asphinctopone
Species: A. differens
Binomial name
Asphinctopone differens
Bolton & Fisher, 2008

Asphinctopone differens casent0417143 profile 1.jpg Asphinctopone differens casent0417143 dorsal 1.jpg Specimen labels

Asphinctopone differens is rarely collected. Nothing is known about its biology.

Identification

differens = With the propodeum in profile the dorsum with a pelt of erect, weakly curved pubescence. Side of propodeum entirely densely irregularly sculptured (Central African Republic)

Asphinctopone silvestrii = with the propodeum in profile the dorsum with pubescence extremely scanty, almost absent. Side of propodeum with scattered punctures, the spaces between them usually smooth (Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroun, Gabon, Central African Republic).

Asphinctopone pilosa = 1) larger size, 2) stronger and much more extensive sculpturation and denser pubescence, 3) differently shaped mesonotum and propodeum, 4) far less strongly impressed promesonotal suture and metanotal groove, 5) terminal four, rather than three, antennal segments forming a weak club, 6) more strongly squamiform petiole, which is also more arcuate in dorsal view, 7) less developed clypeal structure (in Asphinctopone silvestrii and Asphinctopone differens the median clypeal lobe is bounded by distinct sharp angles, is distinctly though shallowly concave on either side of the more acutely rounded median projection and is relatively broader at about 0.40 x HW), 8) the lack of a tooth-like process on the inner basal margin of the mandible and 9) darker colour.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Central African Republic (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Asphinctopone is one of the most rarely collected and least known small ponerine genera of the Afrotropical region. Specimens are seldom found and most samples recovered consist of only one or two workers. As a measure of its rarity, a survey of leaf litter in Ghana (Belshaw & Bolton, 1994) recorded 43,824 individual ants, of which only 5 (about 0.01%) were Asphinctopone. Despite this rarity, the genus is widespread in wet forest zones in leaf litter, topsoil, pieces of rotten wood and rotting vegetation on the forest floor. One worker has been found foraging in a fallen, abandoned termitary (Dejean et al., 1996). Beyond this nothing is known of its biology. Its specialised morphology implies that it may be prey-specific, but in reality its victims remain unknown. (Bolton and Fisher 2008)

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • differens. Asphinctopone differens Bolton & Fisher, 2008a: 59, figs. 1c,d; 2b,d (w.) CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC.

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

Description

Holotype. TL 3.7, HL 0.82, HW 0.66, CI 81, SL 0.61, SI 92, PW 0.48, WL 1.06. Answering the description of Asphinctopone silvestrii but differing as follows.

Side of propodeum entirely densely irregularly sculptured.

Dorsum of propodeum with a pelt of fine short pubescence that is erect and weakly curved.

In addition, pubescence on the pronotum and mesonotum is more dense and more elevated than in silvestrii. The propodeal dorsum in profile is longer and flatter than in any silvestrii specimen examined, but the latter shows variation in the shape of the propodeum, and as only a single specimen of Asphinctopone differens is known it is impossible to tell if the sclerite also shows variation here. In differens the dorsal margin of the anepisternum is distinctly concave, whereas in all known silvestrii specimens it is flat to very feebly sinuate.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Central African Republic: P.N. Dzanga-Ndoki, 37.9 km. 169°S Lidjombo, 2°22’N, 16°10’E, 360 m., 21.v.2001, #4130(30), CASENT 0417143, sifted litter, rainforest (B.L. Fisher) (California Academy of Sciences).

References

BOLTON, B. & FISHER, B.L. 2008a. The Afrotropical ponerine ant genus Asphinctopone Santschi. Zootaxa 1827: 53-61. PDF