Azteca diabolica

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Azteca diabolica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Dolichoderinae
Genus: Azteca
Species: A. diabolica
Binomial name
Azteca diabolica
Guerrero, Delabie & Dejean, 2010

The five specimens were collected from the rain forest canopy, first with a flight-intercept trap, later by applying a chemical treatment to vegetation. Three gynes were collected by fogging; one from a tree where both Azteca sp.2 chartifex group and Azteca instabilis (Fr. Smith) occurred, the two others from a tree with Azteca sp.2 chartifex group. This suggests that A. diabolica may be a social parasite, in particular of carton-nesting species of the chartifex group. (Guerreo et al. 2010)

Identification

Guerreo et al. (2010) - Azteca diabolica is a member of the Azteca aurita group with a deep and smoothly rounded excavation at the posterior vertex margin extending to the corners that form posteriorly-projecting rounded horns. Mesosoma smooth, shiny and hairless. Propodeal spiracles protruding. Gastral tergum and sternum with hairless, polished surface.

The gyne differs from those of other species in the A. aurita group in being almost hairless, having only sparse, short and decumbent hairs on the clypeus, mandibles and legs. Some species in the aurita group have a strongly pronounced lateral vertex margin, but none is as pronounced as in Azteca diabolica.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Neotropical Region: Panama (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

All known Azteca species are arboreal, nesting in living or dead wood, or external carton nests. Some species exhibit obligate associations with myrmecophytes, especially of the genus Cecropia (see Chapter 14 of The Ants). Feeding habits are generalized with foraging occurring both arboreally and on the ground.

Castes

Known only from the queen caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • diabolica. Azteca diabolica Guerrero, et al., 2010: 56, fig. 6 (q.) PANAMA.

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

Description

Queen

Holotype: HLA 1.48, HLB 1.56, HW 1.12, AHW 0.72, SL 1.24, EL 0.30, OCW 0.06, CI 76, SI 84, MTSC 0.

Paratypes (N5 2): HLA 1.60–1.62, HLB 1.64–1.74, HW 1.20–1.24, AHW 0.78–0.80, SL 1.34–1.36, EL 0.30–0.32, OCW 0.06, CI 75–77, SI 84–85, MTSC 0.

Head: Palpal formula is 4,3. Dorsal and ventral surfaces of head hairless. Dorsal surface of mandibles mostly smooth and shiny, with fine longitudinal striae near masticatory margin; masticatory margin armed with five teeth and two denticles, with no angle or tooth separating it from basal margin; basal margin slightly serrated; surface of mandibles with scattered, sub-decumbent long hairs. Clypeal plate with sub-decumbent, sparse pilosity; medial clypeal lobe strongly convex and protruding, extending well beyond lateral clypeal lobes. Head almost rectangular, somewhat swollen between ocellar region and compound eye; posterior margin highly angular, horn-like laterally, deeply excavate medially. When laid back, scape reaches prolongations of vertex at apex of posterolateral projection; scape and funiculus provided with abundant, nearly erect pilosity.

Mesosoma: Smooth and shiny, without appressed hairs. Middle and hind tibiae lacking apical spur. Dorsal surface of propodeum shorter than posterior surface; propodeal spiracles protruding.

Metasoma: Petiolar node bluntly triangular, posterior surface straight, twice as long as anterior surface; posteroventral petiolar lobe very low, very shallowly convex, ending posteriorly in a somewhat abrupt shelf. Tergites and sternites hairless, smooth and shiny.

Body reddish brown, surface smooth and reflective.

Type Material

Holotype (gyne): PANAMA, San Lorenzo Forest, IBISCA project, 9°16’47.58’’N, 79°58’29.94’’W, Flight-interception trap in the canopy, 3–13 Ago 2004 (M. Rapp) Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau; paratypes: 1 gyne, same location, Fogging #FOC3-6C, 13 Oct. 2004 (J. Bail) Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; 1 gyne, same location, Fogging FOG-R1-5, 20 Oct. 2003 (J. Schmidl) Insect Collection, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales. 2 gynes, same location, Fogging #J-2, 17 Oct. 2003 (J. Schmidl) CPDC, Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo.

Etymology

The name refers to the form of the head of the gyne which suggests popular representations of the Devil.

References