Centromyrmex praedator

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Centromyrmex praedator
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Genus: Centromyrmex
Species: C. praedator
Binomial name
Centromyrmex praedator
Bolton & Fisher, 2008

Centromyrmex praedator casent0102928 profile 1.jpg

Centromyrmex praedator casent0102928 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Nothing is known about the biology of Centromyrmex praedator.

Identification

A member of the feae species group. As only a single specimen is known it is impossible to say whether the almost edentate condition of the mandible is normal or if the teeth have been worn down. The closest relative of Centromyrmex praedator is Centromyrmex fugator. They share a similar long petiole node that contrasts strongly to the usual transverse, broad short dorsal shape of feae group species, and this makes them immediately recognisable. The two are separated by size and the distinctly different form of their mandibles, as noted in the key and descriptions. Apart from this the metatibia of praedator appears to have many more spiniform setae than are seen in fugator, but as so little material is available the consistency of this character cannot be tested. (Bolton and Fisher 2008)

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Democratic Republic of Congo (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

All of the species in the genus appear to be termitophagous and all are superbly adapted to this specialised predatory life style. Observations of some species have found them to be rather helpless when placed in an exposed, open situation. Weber described what happened when he found a worker “just beneath the soil surface under a thin cover of dead leaves”. The ant was “completely helpless when exposed to the daylight and writhed about when placed on the ground or in my palm. It made no attempt to run away, curling and uncurling without stinging, though it had a long, stout sting”. In other words, it seemed unable to walk when removed from its specialised habitat and placed on a surface where it could not use its specialised legs. If not discovered within a termite nest, individuals are occasionally found in the top soil or the root-mat below the leaf litter layer, where their short, powerful, spiny legs facilitate their movement. (Weber 1949, Bolton and Fisher 2008).

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.

  • praedator. Centromyrmex praedator Bolton & Fisher, 2008c: 21, figs. 19, 20 (w.) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.

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 6.4, HL 1.06, HW 0.99, CI 93, ML 0.82, MI 77, SL 0.72, SI 73, PW 0.82, WL 1.90.

With characters of the genus and the feae group. Head capsule in full-face view longer than broad, the sides almost straight and approximately parallel. Mandibles smooth with scattered small punctures. Masticatory margin of mandible almost smooth, weakly uneven, the teeth almost entirely effaced. Basal margin of mandible shallowly convex, distinctly shorter than the masticatory margin. Dorsum of head with scattered punctures on smooth cuticle; on sides of head the punctures denser than on dorsum, and also with very weak remnants of punctulate to striolate sculpture within the antennal fossae and anteriorly on the sides. Anterior margination of pronotum thick and bluntly rounded; sides of pronotum not marginate. Dorsal surface of metatibia with 4–5 spiniform setae near the apex and with 3–4 others located more proximally; the most proximal is at about the midlength. Anterior surface of metatibia with about a dozen spiniform setae, most located near the apex but some more basal. Petiole node in dorsal view longer than broad, the node narrow anteriorly and becoming much broader posteriorly. Pronotal dorsum with coarse shallow punctures that are linked by low, broad rugulae. Mesonotal dorsum mostly smooth, with a few widely scattered broad, shallow punctures. Colour yellow to light brownish yellow.

Type Material

Holotype worker, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire on data label): Bandundu, Kinzambi For., 25.iii.1985 (A. Dejean) (The Natural History Museum). [Holotype is damaged: left midleg and right hindleg are absent except for their coxae.]

References

  • Bolton, B. and B. L. Fisher. 2008c. Afrotropical ants of the ponerine genera Centromyrmex Mayr, Promyopias Santschi gen. rev. and Feroponera gen. n., with a revised key to genera of African Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1929: 1-37. PDF