Cataulacus muticus live in hollow internodes of plants and exhibit two interesting behaviors that help them ward off occasional flooding threats. When heavy rains produce conditions where water can infiltrate their nests, workers will use their phragmotic heads to block their nest entrances and stem water flowing into their nest chambers. A second behavior, and one that is so far unique within ants, is to practice what has been coined communal peeing. Many workers imbibe water within the nest, leave the nest, excrete water droplets and deposit these on the outer stem of the plant. (Maschwitz and Moog 2000 and Moog 2005)
A member of the granulatus group. A medium-sized species, definitely of the granulatus-group and seemingly closely related to Cataulacus granulatus itself, and yet distinguished by the presence of blunt propodeal tubercles instead of spines, the node of the petiole which is distinctly longer than broad, and the relatively smooth sides of the propodeum. The head, alitrunk and pedicel are relatively coarsely sculptured.
Keys including this Species
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
Check data from AntWeb
In west Malaysia this species lives inside the internodes of two plants, Gigantochloa scortechinii and Dendrocalamus asper. They form large monogynous, polydomous colonies that can contain more than 2,000 workers and spread to the internodes of several neighboring culms. (Maschwitz and Moog 2000)
Polymorphic microsatellites have been identified for this species. (Debout et al. 2002)
The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- muticus. Cataulacus muticus Emery, 1889b: 507, pl. 10, fig. 17 (w.) MYANMAR.
Unless otherwise noted the text for the remainder of this section is reported from the publication that includes the original description.
Bolton (1974) - TL 5.5 - ca 6.0. Head as in granulatus but proportionately larger and with the denticles of the sides of the head behind the eyes larger and more produced. Sides of pronotum and mesonotum strongly denticulate, but the sides of the propodeum with only one or two denticles and converging posteriorly. Propodeum with a pair of obtuse and blunt tubercles (referred to in Bingham as 'slightly produced rounded projecting laminae'). Petiole distinctly longer than broad, rather slender; postpetiole longitudinally oval, truncated in front and behind. Gaster as in granulatus. Head, alitrunk and pedicel very coarsely reticulate-rugose, the pedicel remarkably rugose. Gaster finely punctate and with fine longitudinal rugulae. Pilosity 'rather long', whitish in colour.
Bolton (1974) - Holotype worker, BURMA: Tenasserim, Thagata, Mt. Mooleyit (L. Pea) (probably in MCSN, Genoa).
- Debout, G., A. Dalecky, et al. (2002). "Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellites in the tropical plant-ant Cataulacus mckeyi (Formicidae: Myrmicinae)." Mol. Ecol. Notes 2: 459-461.
- Emery, C. 1889c. Formiche di Birmania e del Tenasserim raccolte da Leonardo Fea (1885-87). [part]. Ann. Mus. Civ. Stor. Nat. 27[=(2)(7): 485-512 (page 507, pl. 10, fig. 17 worker described)
- Maschwitz, U.; Dorow, W. H. O.; Schellerich-Kaaden, A. L.; Buschinger, A.; Azarae, H. I. 2000. Cataulacus muticus Emery 1889 a new case of a southeast Asian arboreal ant, non-mutualistically specialized on giant bamboo. Senckenb. Biol. 80: 165-173 PDF
- Maschwitz U & Moog J (2000) "Communal peeing: a new mode of flood control in ants." Naturwissenschaften 87 (12): 563-565.