Cardiocondyla neferka

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Cardiocondyla neferka
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Cardiocondyla
Species: C. neferka
Binomial name
Cardiocondyla neferka
Bolton, 1982

Cardiocondyla neferka casent0901747 p 1 high.jpg

Cardiocondyla neferka casent0901747 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Cardiocondyla neferka.

Identification

Bolton (1982) - C. neferka is closest related to Cardiocondyla emeryi but is quickly separable by its elongate narrow propodeal spines and conspicuously square-shouldered appearance when the pronotum is seen in dorsal view.

Seifert (2003) - A member of the Cardiocondyla emeryi group. The approximated frontal carinae, the elongated head, and the type of head sculpture suggest an allocation of Cardiocondyla neferka to the Cardiocondyla emeryi group.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Cameroun, Ghana (type locality), Ivory Coast.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about Cardiocondyla neferka. 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

Only known from the worker caste.

Nomenclature

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

  • neferka. Cardiocondyla neferka Bolton, 1982: 314, fig. 7 (w.) GHANA. See also: Seifert, 2003a: 280.

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

Description

Worker

Holotype. TL 1.8, HL 0.48, HW 0.36, CI 75, SL 0.32, SI 89, PW 0.26, AL 0.49.

Antennal scapes of moderate length (SI 87-91 in type-series), when laid back on the head not reaching the occipital corners in full-face view. Maximum diameter of eye 0.11, about 0.31 x HW and with 9-10 ommatidia in the longest row. Head conspicuously longer than broad, CI < 80. Pronotum in dorsal view with narrowly rounded, somewhat prominent corners, giving the ant a conspicuously square-shouldered appearance. With the alitrunk in profile the promesonotum forming an even shallow convexity from front to back which grades into the metanotal groove without passing through an abrupt change of slope. Metanotal groove shallowly impressed, the propodeal dorsum shallowly convex behind the groove, then sloping downwards posteriorly towards the spines. Propodeal spines elongate and narrow, in profile much longer than their basal width; in dorsal view the spines slightly incurved and each as long as the distance separating their bases. Shape of pedicel segments as in Fig. 7. In dorsal view the petiole node longer than broad, the postpetiole distinctly broader than long and broadest at its midlength. Dorsum of head shagreened-granular, the sculpture very fine and dense, blanketing the surface. Promesonotal dorsum very finely and densely superficially shagreened and mat, but the propodeal dorsum with only vestigial sculpture and glossy, much less densely sculptured than the promesonotum. Dorsal surfaces of petiole, postpetiole and gaster unsculptured except for a faint and patchy superficial patterning. Hairs absent except on mouthparts but a fine appressed pubescence is present which is most apparent on the gaster. Colour uniform light brownish yellow, the dorsum of the head slightly darker than the sides; sides of the first gastral tergite a rich darker brown.

Paratypes. TL 1.80-1.81, HL 0.46-0.48, HW 0.35-D.37, CI 76-79, SL 0.32-0.33, SI 87-91, PW 0.24-D.27, AL 0.48-0.51 (3 measured).

Maximum diameter of eye 0.1O-D.11, about 0.27-0.31 x HW and with 9-10 ommatidia in the longest row. As holotype but in a couple the darker colour of the sides of the first gastral tergite extends onto the dorsum.

Seifert (2003) - Small size. Head elongated, CL/CW 1.224. Scape short, SL/CS 0.770. Postocular index large, PoOc/CL 0.447. Eyes medium-sized, EYE 0.243, EyeHL 5. Frons narrow, FRS/CS 0.227, frontal carinae immediately behind FRS level slightly converging and then diverging. Occipital margin more or less straight. Whole head and mesosoma without longitudinal sculpture. Anterior clypeal margin straight or with a suggested concavity. Vertex with deeply impressed, flat-bottomed foveolae of 15 - 18 mm diameter in densely-packed arrangement; foveolae showing an inner corona (flat tubercle) of 8 - 9 11 m diameter. Frontal laminae and clypeus with scattered smaller foveolae. Pronotal shoulders well-developed, each forming a rounded angle of l 20°. Dorsal promesonotal profile slightly convex, dorsal propodeal profile with stronger convexity. Metanotal groove well-developed, in profile with shallow (30°) anterior and posterior slope. Propodeal spiracle very small, inner diameter 6 mm. Spines long, strong, slightly incurved; in lateral view deviating from longitudinal mesosomal axis by 20°. Dorsal area of promesonotum irregularly microreticulate-corrugated, frontal area of pronotum in the transitional zone from dorsal plane to declivity foveolate. Dorsomedian area of propodeum rather shining, finely microreticulate. Whole lateral area of mesosoma strongly microreticulate. Petiole node longer than wide, dorsal plane rather smooth, only microreticulate, node in lateral view massive and strongly microreticulate, peduncle relatively short. Postpetiole in dorsal view little wider than long, with distinctly concave anterior margin and angulate-convex sides; postpetiolar node shining, but finely microreticulate; postpetiolar sternite rather flat, with well-pronounced anterolateral corners, resembling situation in Cardiocondyla wroughtonii. First gaster tergite shining but with a very fine, widely-meshed microreticulum. Holotype: whole body light-yellowish brown; Gambari worker: head, mesosoma, and petiole light-yellowish brown, postpetiole little darker, antennal club dark brown, gaster blackish brown.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Ghana: Mampong, lO.ii.1970 (P. Room) (The Natural History Museum).

Paratypes. 3 workers with same data as holotype (BMNH, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Museum of Comparative Zoology).

References