Colobostruma mellea

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Colobostruma mellea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Colobostruma
Species: C. mellea
Binomial name
Colobostruma mellea
Shattuck, 2000

Colobostruma mellea P casent0900006.jpg

Colobostruma mellea D casent0900006.jpg

Specimen Label

This rare southern species has been found in mallee and heath habitats. Nothing is known of its biology.

Identification

Shattuck (2000) - This species can be separated from most others in the group by the 5- or 6-segmented antennae, the shallowly concave posterior margin of the head and the uniformly rounded dorsal surface of the head without any indication of phragmatism. Separation from Colobostruma sisypha is based on the more elongate and/or irregularly shaped foveae on the dorsum of the head (the foveae are round in C. sisypha), the sculpture on the lateral surface of the mesosoma consisting of distinct, uniform, closely spaced reticulations (rather than being a mixture of fine punctations overlain with irregular rugae) and in having the angle between the dorsal and posterior faces of the petiole forming an angle of approximately 130° (rather than approximately 90°).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Heterick (2009) - Colobostruma mellea can be found in the northern wheatbelt and south-west corner of WA, and also in SA

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Beyond what is stated in the introduction at the top of this page, little is know about the biology of Colobostruma mellea. Until further studies reveal more about this species we can infer that its natural history and biology should be similar to other species in this genus. In general Colobostruma can be locally common although they are often overlooked. Most species have small colonies with less than 100 workers, and workers will lie motionless when disturbed. Nests can occur in soil usually under rocks, in cracks in rocks or in rotten logs. Only a single rainforest species is known to nest arboreally. Foraging is usually on the ground at night but occasionally they are found foraging on mallee. They are also commonly found in leaf litter.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • mellea. Colobostruma mellea Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 37 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

Type Material

Paratype Specimen Labels

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

With additional material from the southern arid zones of South Australia and Western Australia it is possible that this species and Colobostruma sisypha may prove to represent the same taxon. However, the presently available material suggests that two separate taxa are involved. Within the presently known specimens of mellea, the South Australian material differs from the Western Australian material in being slightly darker and having a dark, infuscated band across the first gastral tergite. In other respects these specimens are very similar and are here placed together in a single taxon.

Description

Worker

HOLOTYPE. TL 2.8, HL 0.63, HW 0.54, CI 86, ML 0.16, MI 25, SL 0.31, SI 57, PW 0.39, AL 0.76. Anterior region of head rounding gradually from the dorsal to lateral surfaces, not phragmotic. In full-face view ridge immediately in front of eye concave. Frontal lobes and lateral margins of clypeus smooth relative to the surrounding surface of the head. Mandibles triangular, their outer margins weakly concave. Hairs absent from dorsum of head. Posterior margin of head broadly concave. Antenna with 5 or 6 segments, the scape strongly elbowed and without a subbasal lobe. In dorsal view the pronotal humeral angles only slightly wider than the medial pronotal surface. Propodeum high, its posterior face approximately as high as the petiolar node and with broad, thin lamellae; in profile the dorsum of the alitrunk broadly convex. Lateral postpetiole drawn outwards into thin flange-like wings, the wings with translucent windows along both their anterior and posterior margins, the windows separated by a narrow band of thickened integument, the anterior windows much smaller than the posterior windows and reduced to narrow bands along the leading edges. First gastral tergite superimposed with weakly defined reticulate sculpturing and with low, closely spaced carinae on the anterior one-quarter to one-third. Body colour yellow, the gaster sometimes with a broad medial infuscated band.

References