Cardiocondyla tenuifrons

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Cardiocondyla tenuifrons
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Cardiocondyla
Species: C. tenuifrons
Binomial name
Cardiocondyla tenuifrons
Seifert, 2003

Cardiocondyla tenuifrons focol0729 p 1 high.jpg

Cardiocondyla tenuifrons focol0729 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Cardiocondyla tenuifrons.

Identification

Seifert (2003) - Big eye size and low postocular index allocate this species to the Cardiocondyla batesii group. Cardiocondyla tenuifrons can be separated from any species by its frontal carinae strongly converging caudad. The ratio FL/FR (measured as in Myrmica, see Seifert 1988) is lower than 1.12 in any sympatric species known but is 1.15 - 1.19 in C. tenuifrons. The most similar species in overall character combination is Cardiocondyla nigra but the latter has less converging frontal carinae, a smaller postocular index, and lower PEH/CS and PPH/CS.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Jordan (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Little is known about Cardiocondyla tenuifrons. 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.

  • tenuifrons. Cardiocondyla tenuifrons Seifert, 2003a: 243, fig. 24 (w.) JORDAN.

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

Description

Worker

Head elongated, CL/CW 1.205. Postocular distance larger than in related species, PoOc/CL 0.413. Occipital margin straight. Eyes large, EYE 0.267. Foveolae on vertex shallow, simple, of 13 - 15 mm diameter; interspaces shining, wider than foveolar diameter, with fine cross-branched to semireticulate microstructures. Frontal lobes, area posterior of frontal carinae, and clypeus finely longitudinally carinulate. Frontal lobes strongly converging immediately caudal of FRS level, FL/FR 1.177 ± 0.023 [1.151, 1.192]. Dorsal mesosoma shining, with shallow foveolae and fine cross-branched microstructures. Ventrolateral area of mesosoma with well-developed microreticulum, metapleuron with clearly visible longitudinal sculpture. Metanotal groove very shallow. Spines steep, very short and acute. Petiole node wedge-shaped in caudal view, in lateral aspect similar to Cardiocondyla nigra. Postpetiole in dorsal view with straight anterior margin, roughly trapezoidal Postpetiolar sternite without any flat bulge. Head and gaster blackish brown. Mesosoma and waist medium to dark brown, with yellowish-red component.

Type Material

Holotype worker and 2 worker paratypes labelled “JORDANIA: Abdallah zw. Shobek und Wadi Musa, 1996.03.30, No 1, leg. Chr. Dietrich”, Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz. The type sample was morphometrically investigated.

References