Cataglyphis hannae

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Cataglyphis hannae
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Formicini
Genus: Cataglyphis
Species: C. hannae
Binomial name
Cataglyphis hannae
Agosti, 1994

An inquiline of Cataglyphis bicolor.

At a Glance • Social parasite  

 

Identification

Agosti (1994) - C. hannae can be separated from all the other known species in the Cataglyphis bicolor group by the above mentioned diagnostic characters, especially by the body size, the long antennal scape and hind tibiae, the low rounded petiole, and the male genitalia. Cataglyphis abyssinica, the only species with small females, has a much shorter scape (SI < 113), and shorter hind tibiae (TAl< 85); no males of this species are known. The long black hairs on the occiput of the head as seen in bicolor are not present in hannae, and thus exclude the possibility of hannae being a microgyne of bicolor.

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Tunisia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

During fieldwork collecting nest series of North African ants of the Cataglyphis bicolor species group for a revision of this genus, some 200 nests were at least partially dug out. In 2 nests, small alate females and males were present, but no alate sexuals of the expected size for bicolor. The mating flight of bicolor must have taken place at an earlier time, as they were present in nests further north, where nuptial flights occur later. After examination of these smaller specimens, especially of the male genitalia, it became obvious that they belong to a new undescribed species.

The specimens were collected alive in 2 separate nests in El Guettar (Tunisia) in an oasis, with the nests being at the edge of irrigated fields. The sexuals of hannae were kept alive for three weeks in plastic boxes with a plaster layer together with their host, C. bicolor. On several occasions hannae males and females were observed being fed by bicolor workers, and in no case was any sign of aggression between the 2 species detected.

Although > 1500 different samples of species of the bicolor complex are in our collections, and most of them from Tunisia, no further hannae specimens have been collected before. The host of hannae is distributed along the southern foothills of the Atlas mountains in the transitional zone from the Mediterranean to the Desert region, not reaching the Atlantic in the West and not extending into Libya (Agosti et al., in preparation). Thus, hannae might be more common, certainly if one considers that the southern extension of the Mediterranean vegetation during the Pleistocene reached as far south as the Saharan mountains Tassili and Hoggar (Quezel, 1965). But social parasitic ants tend to have a clumped distribution (Buschinger, 1985) and the restricted collecting area might truly reflect its distribution. Finally, these males and females were collected as alates, during a survey where > 200 nests were at least partially dug up.

The habitat was at the edge of an irrigated Medicago sativa field and on a sandy place in the shade of some tall Eucalyptus trees on the side of a track within the oasis. In this desert region, the occurrence of species of the bicolor group is restricted to oases.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • hannae. Cataglyphis hannae Agosti, 1994b: 914, fig. 1 (q.m.) TUNISIA.

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

Description

Queen

Ant of the Cataglyphis bicolor species group with the following diagnostic features:

(1) Small size, alitrunk < 3·2 mm. (2) Scape much longer than head length (SI > 120). (3) Long hind tibiae (TAl> 90). ( 4) Head and alitrunk bright red. (5) First funicular segment of intermediate length (28 < FI < 35). (6) Low rounded petiole in lateral view.

PARATYPES: HL 1.75-1.88, HW 1.65-1.73, EL 0.48-0.50, SL 2.00-2.18, AL 2.95-3.13, CI 90.4-94.3, SI 121.2-129.9, FI 29.0-31.1, El 28.4-29.0, LI 101.8-107.1, TAI 93.5-100.8 (n = 5).

Male

HOLOTYPE: HL 1.40, HW 1.20, EL 0.50, SL 2.18, AL 2.63, Cl 86, SI 181, EI 41.7, FI 35.4, LI 100.8, TAI 114.3.

Ant of the Cataglyphis bicolor species group (Agosti, 1990), with the following diagnostic features:

(1) Black head and alitrunk. (2) Alitrunk length 2·63 mm. (3) Subgenital plate distally trilobed with the median process triangular and not digitiform. (4) In ventral view, median process with hair-carrying pits to the tip. (5) In lateral view, apicolateral appendix of sagitta not overreaching outline of apical, serrated plate. (6) Apicolateral appendix of sagitta short and terminally rounded; in ventral view only slightly raised above the plane of the apical, serrated plate. (7) Long hind tibiae (TAI 114·3).

PARATYPES: HL 1.30-1.43, HW 1.05-1.19, EL 0.44-0.50, SL 1.98-2.23, AL 2.48-2.73, CI 80.8-86.6, SI 175.5-195.6, EI 41.1-43.0, FI 91.4-103.2, LI 101.7-105.5, TAI 108.3-116.0 (n = 8).

There is a slight variation in size, but the extremes of the range of absolute measurements are always far below those of the other males of the bicolor species group. Compared with all the other males of the bicolor group, hannae has the longest hind tibiae (TAI> 108). Head and alitrunk always black in colour.

Type Material

HOLOTYPE: Tunisia, El Guettar, 34·33°N, 8·92°E, 300m; in Oasis, at the edge of irrigated fields under Eucalyptus trees, D. Agosti, 08.06.1992, sample F92039, in nest with Cataglyphis bicolor (Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève). PARATYPES: 5 queeens, (alates) and 14 males, same as holotype. 7 males, Tunisia, El Guettar, 34·33°N, 8·92°E, 300m; in Oasis, at the edge of an irrigated lucerne field, D. Agosti, 08.06.1992, sample F92309, in nest with Cataglyphis bicolor (The Natural History Museum, CDA, CRW, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève).

References