Cardiocondyla fajumensis

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Cardiocondyla fajumensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Cardiocondyla
Species: C. fajumensis
Binomial name
Cardiocondyla fajumensis
Forel, 1913

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Specimen Labels

Synonyms

Nothing is known about the biology of Cardiocondyla fajumensis.

Identification

A member of the Cardiocondyla shuckardi group.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Palaearctic Region: Egypt (type locality), Iran.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about Cardiocondyla fajumensis. Until further studies reveal more about this species we can infer that its natural history and biology is likely similar to other members of the genus. Seifert revised the holarctic species of Cardiocondyla in 2003 and the following synopsis is based on his excellent treatment of the genus. References to other publications and more details about what is reported here can be found in Seifert (2003).

Many Cardiocondyla species inhabit areas that experience frequent disturbance and/or are quite open. These may be human altered areas, where a number of Cardiocondyla tramp species thrive, but also natural areas such as semi deserts and steppes, immature soils at rivers, lakes, and sea shores and to a lesser extent forest margins or burned-down woodland patches. In contrast to this open-land group, the natural habitat affinities of many tropical species are primary rain forests.

Nests are typically in soil and sometimes under stones. Two species are known to nest in vegetation but this is unusual for the genus. The single nest entrances is small (1-1.5 mm) and inconspicuous. In the desert nests can be relatively deep (> 1m) and have many chambers but in areas where conditions are less extreme there is generally a single chamber (15-20 mm diameter and 3-4 mm height) that is not far below the ground surface (2-15 cm).

Cardiocondyla tramp species (Cardiocondyla wroughtonii, Cardiocondyla obscurior, Cardiocondyla mauritanica, Cardiocondyla emeryi and Cardiocondyla minutior) are known to be polygynous, as are some less widespread species, while other species are known to be monogynous.

Cardiocondyla ants are omnivorous. Zoophagy (zoo necrophagy and killing of small weakly sclerotised arthropods), granivory, and nectarivory have also been noted. Tandem running has been observed as a method of recruitment to food sources in a few species.

Intranidal mating appears to be the norm for most species in the genus. Mating strategies are species dependent and may take various forms. Winged males may mate within their nest or fly to and enter other colonies to mate. Queen mate intranidally and fly from their nest to begin a new colony, become integrated into their natal colony, or may walk away from their nest and establish a new colony nearby.

Cardiocondyla are unusual in having peculiar male forms. Male polymorphism is found in some species with typical males and an ergatoid form. These latter males are wingless and worker like in appearance. Ergatoid males fight with other males within their natal nest. By killing potential rival males, a dominant male can monopolize matings with the virgin queens in their colony. Morphological modifications that enhance the fighting abilities of ergatoid males have been documented, e.g., modified mandibles well suited to fighting and increased mesosomal size for better protection against attacks from rivals. Another unusual characteristic of ergatoid males is the continuation of spermatogenesis throughout their adult life. Males of most aculeate hymenoptera stop producing sperm once they are fully mature.

Some species are known to produce different queen morphs. This presumably facilitates there being a longer range dispersal queen form and a shorter or non-dispersing form. Gyne polymorphism appears to be an adaptation for species inhabiting continental desert or semi-desert habitats. The cosmopolitan tramp species, on the other hand, do not exhibit this gyne polymorphism.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • fajumensis. Cardiocondyla nuda var. fajumensis Forel, 1913d: 429 (q.) EGYPT. Raised to species and senior synonym of nilotica, schatzmayri: Seifert, 2003a: 260.
  • schatzmayri. Cardiocondyla emeryi subsp. schatzmayri Finzi, 1936: 170, fig. 5 (w.q.) EGYPT. Junior synonym of fajumensis: Seifert, 2003a: 260.
  • nilotica. Cardiocondyla nilotica Weber, 1952: 8, fig. 13 (w.) SUDAN. Junior synonym of fajumensis: Seifert, 2003a: 260. See also: Bolton, 1982: 315.

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

Description

Worker

Seifert (2003) - Large species, CS 594 ± 28. Head much elongated, CL/CW 1.205. Postocular distance large, PoOc/CL 0.445. Scape very long, SUCS 0.862. Eyes very small (EYE 0.211) and with fine setae of 7 - 13 mm length. Occipital margin straight. Paramedian area of vertex strongly reticulate, meshes with bicoronate foveolae of 19 - 21 mm diameter. Median area of vertex, frontal laminae, and clypeus longitudinally carinulate. Frontal carinae slightly converging immediately posterior of FRS level. Dorsal area of promesonotum moderately shining and weakly carinulate-reticulate. Propodeum and lateral area of mesosoma finely reticulate. Metanotal impression very deep. Spines reduced to blunt rectangular corners. Petiole with long peduncle and a massive node, dorsal profile evenly rounded in lateral view, as long as wide and circular in dorsal view. Postpetiole narrow and ventrally with 2 suggested paramedian, longitudinal carinae, PPW/CS 0.430. Head yellowish to dirty yellowish brown, mesosoma and waist yellowish, gaster dark to blackish brown. 1 worker from Yemen: Al Mahrah 1997.02.13-3376 with much darker colour, petiole node more produced caudad, much longer tergite pubescence, and stronger mesosomal sculpture than in Palaearctic conspecifics.

Queen

Seifert (2003) - Large species, CS 63 1 ± 1 7 . Head much elongated, CL/CW 1.185. Postocular index large, PoOc/CL 0.432. Occipital margin straight. Scape long, SUCS 0.815. Frontal carinae immediately caudal of FRS level parallel or slightly converging. Eyes with conspicuous hairs, longest hairs measuring 12 - 18 mm. Head sculpture comparable to worker, but foveolae (or meshes) with larger mean diameter, dFov 21 - 26 mm. Mesonotum and scutellum strongly longitudinally rugulose, with weak anastomosae. Propodeum reticulate; mesopleurae finely and metapleurae strongly longitudinally rugulose; pronotum and anepisternit rugulose with scattered foveolae. Spines reduced to obtusely angled corners. Petiole node as long as wide and circular in dorsal view. Postpetiole narrow, PPW/CS 0 .496, ventrally with 2 suggested paramedian, longitudinal carinae. Dorsal area of head posterior of level of antennal insertions dark brown, anterior of this light-orange brown. Mesosoma laterally, propodeum and waist light-orange brown to medium brown; mesonotum and scutellum often slightly darker. Gaster dark brown. Gynes from Yemen: Al Mahrah 1997.02.12-3366 in morphometry and most structural characters equal to type gynes and other Palaearctic conspecifics, but differing by darker colour, petiole node produced more caudad in lateral view, and dorsal mesosoma sculpture with the transverse component not weaker than the longitudinal one (i.e., clearly reticulate-foveolate).

Type Material

Seifert (2003) - Fajum /Egypt [types investigated]. 4 syntype gynes labelled “Cardiocondyla nuda var. fajumensis For., 9 type, Fajum (U.Sahlberg)”, Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève.

References