Nothing is known about the biology of Cardiocondyla shagrinata.
Seifert (2003) - A member of the Cardiocondyla wroughtonii group. Cardiocondyla shagrinata seems to have a restricted distribution and it is easily distinguished from the cosmopolitan sister species Cardiocondyla wroughtonii and Cardiocondyla obscurior by its characteristic sculpture and dorsal aspect of mesosoma. Morphometrically, C. shagrinata is most similar to C. obscurior from which it differs by the larger FRS/CS and much smaller dFov.
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Little is known about Cardiocondyla shagrinata. 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.
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- shagrinata. Cardiocondyla shagrinata Seifert, 2003a: 275, figs. 53, 55 (w.) INDIA.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Small size CS 426. Head extremely short, CL/CW 1.099. Scape short, SL/CS 0.760. Postocular index smaller than in C. wroughtonii, PoOc/CL 0.427. Eyes small, EYE 0.222. Frons very wide, FRS/CS 0.285, frontal carinae immediately behind FRS level slightly diverging caudad. Anteromedian clypeal margin notched, median occipital margin in 2 of 3 specimens notched. Whole body surface without any carinulae, rugae, or clearly visible foveolae. Paramedian area of vertex with very dense, somewhat irregular reticulum, whose meshes have an inner diameter of 6 - 8 mm. Frontal lobes, median area of head posterior of frontal lobes, and dorsal area of mesosoma densely shagreened. Lateral area of mesosoma and waist with dense reticulum, whose meshes with inner diameter of 4 - 5 mm. Metanotal groove in lateral view with very steep slopes. Propodeal spines long and acute, slightly diverging and incurved in dorsal view, SP/CS 0.184. Outlines of promesonotal plane in dorsal view trapezoid, i.e. sides more or less continuously linearly diverging from level of metanotal groove frontad to the very pronounced, angulate pronotal “shoulders”; anterior margin of dorsal plane only weakly convex (in Cardiocondyla wroughtonii and Cardiocondyla obscurior, sides of dorsal mesonotal plane firstly showing a strong convex divergence frontad from the level of metanotal groove; this curvature is replaced by weaker and more linear divergence frontad to the less pronounced and more rounded pronotal “shoulders”). Axis of petiolar peduncle in lateral aspect deviating by 15° from longitudinal axis of petiole node. Postpetiole with anteroventrolateral corners (weaker than in typical C. wroughtonii and C. obscurior); in dorsal view, the strongly convex sides form with the concave anterior margin a blunt angle and converge significantly more than in C. wroughtonii. Head, mesosoma, waist, and appendages yellow or light-yellowish brown; gaster dark brown.
Holotype worker labelled by Forel “C. Wroughtonii Forel d South Konkan (Wroughton) 1/10”, Musée de Zoologie, Lausanne; 2 paratype workers with the same labelling in Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz [“South Konkan” is in W India approximately at 18°N 73°E].
- Seifert, B. 2003. The ant genus Cardiocondyla (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae) - a taxonomic revision of the C. elegans, C. bulgarica, C. batesii, C. nuda, C. shuckardi, C. stambuloffii, C. wroughtonii, C. emeryi, and C. minutior species groups. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien Serie B Botanik und Zoologie. 104:203-338. PDF (page 275, figs. 53, 55 worker described)