Crematogaster alafara

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Crematogaster alafara
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Crematogaster
Species: C. alafara
Binomial name
Crematogaster alafara
Blaimer, 2013

Crematogaster alafara casent0492837 p 1 high.jpg

Crematogaster alafara casent0492837 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Crematogaster alafara has only been collected at a few rainforest localities in central, northern and western Madagascar ranging from 600 m to 1350 m in elevation. The species is known to co-occur with C. sewellii, C. dentata and C. mafybe. The few collections have been made from dead twigs above ground at the lower elevation range, and from rotten logs at higher altitudes. Otherwise nothing is known of the biology of this species.

Identification

A member of the Crematogaster degeeri group. Blaimer and Fisher (2013) - Workers of Crematogaster alafara are fairly small (HW 0.72-0.88, WL 0.79-0.91) and have short to medium-sized propodeal spines (SPI 0.06-0.10). The characteristic promesonotal characters, with the propodeum usually distinctly set off from the promesonotum in lateral view, render this species moderately easy to recognize from other species in the C. degeeri-assemblage. Possibly this species could be confused with Crematogaster malahelo; the latter, however, bears sharp lateral margins on the pronotum (absent in C. alafara) and has shorter, more triangular spines (SPI 0.03-0.07) than C. alafara.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Malagasy Region: Madagascar (type locality).

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Check specimen data from AntWeb

Biology

Castes

Males have yet to be collected.

Worker

Queen

Nomenclature

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

  • alafara. Crematogaster alafara Blaimer, in Blaimer & Fisher, 2013: 17, fig. 6 (w.q.) MADAGASCAR.

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

Description

Worker

(n = 12) [holotype] HW 0.72-0.88 [0.83]; HL 0.69-0.80 [0.78]; EL 0.15-0.19 [0.17]; SL 0.54-0.64 [0.61]; WL 0.79-0.91 [0.90]; SPL 0.05-0.08 [0.06]; PTH 0.17-0.20 [0.20]; PTL 0.22-0.26 [0.26]; PTW 0.29- 0.35 [0.35]; PPL 0.13-0.18 [0.16]; PPW 0.23-0.28 [0.25]; LHT 0.56-0.67 [0.66]; CI 1.02-1.11 [1.06]; OI 0.20-0.25 [0.21]; SI 0.73-0.83 [0.77]; SPI 0.06-0.10 [0.07]; PTHI 0.71-0.81 [0.79]; PTWI 1.18-1.47 [1.36]; PPI 1.56-1.97 [1.59]; LBI 1.30-1.47 [1.38]. Small size (HW 0.72-0.88, WL 0.79-0.91). Masticatory margin of mandibles with four teeth; head shape quadrate, as long, or slightly longer than wide (CI 1.02-1.11); posterior margin of head in full-face view laterally rounded; occipital carinae distinct; antennal scapes reaching or slightly surpassing head margin; midline of eyes situated slightly above midline of head in full-face view; eyes moderately large (OI 0.20-0.25) and protruding. Pronotum laterally angular; promesonotal suture indistinct, promesonotum forming one plane; mesonotum usually without posterior face; laterally mesonotum carinate, sometimes ending in small denticles, but not greatly set off from propodeum; metanotal groove shallow, laterally constricted and bordered by carinae; propodeal spines short, spiniform (SPI 0.06-0.10) and straight; dorsal face of propodeum distinct; posterior face of propodeum gently sloping; petiole in dorsal view greatly flared and convex, dorsolaterally rounded to carinate, without posterolateral tubercules or denticles; subpetiolar process usually a small, angular dent; postpetiole distinctly bilobed, with a narrow median impression; subpostpetiolar process absent. Head sculpture aciculate to faintly reticulate; sculpture otherwise mostly reticulate; face usually with < six erect, longer setae, and regular appressed to decumbent pubescence; erect pilosity on promesonotum usually sparse, < six long setae; otherwise promesonotum dorsally with sparse appressed to subdecumbent pubescence; petiole and postpetiole usually with a pair of short, erect setae posterolaterally, and sparse suberect, decumbent or appressed pubescence; abdominal tergites and sternites four to seven usually with moderately abundant, short, erect pilosity, and regular appressed to decumbent pubescence throughout. Color yellow-brown to brown.

Queen

(n = 1) HW 1.01, HL 1.01, EL 0.33, SL 0.64, MSNW 0.76, MSNL 0.87, WL 1.68, SPL 0.00, PTH 0.29, PTL 0.33, PTW 0.39, PPL 0.23, PPW 0.39, LHT 0.75, CI 0.99, OI 0.32, SI 0.63, MSNI 0.87, SPI 0.00, PTHI 0.87, PTWI 1.18, PPI 1.68, LBI 2.24. Small queen (HW 1.01, WL 1.68). With worker characters, except as follows. Masticatory margin of mandibles with five teeth; antennal scapes reaching level of lateral ocelli; eyes large (OI 0.33), situated below midline of head in full-face view; head elongate-rectangular (CI 0.99), posterior margin straight. Mesoscutum in dorsal view longer than wide (MSNI 0.87); dorsal face of propodeum short; propodeal tubercules or denticles absent; petiole moderately flared, postpetiole with complete impression; subpetiolar process present as minute tooth.

Sculpture aciculate to reticulate throughout; face with six longer erect setae (but n = 1) and regular short suberect to decumbent pubescence; mesonotum with regular short, erect to suberect pubescence, interspersed with abundant, longer, erect setae; petiole and postpetiole with fairly dense, short, suberect to decumbent pilosity, and postpetiole with additional longer dorso-posterior setae; abdominal tergites and sternites four to seven with abundant, short, erect pilosity and dense appressed to decumbent pubescence. Color yellowish brown.

Type Material

Holotype Worker: pinned, CASENT0492837, BLF08619, ex rotten log [imaged on AntWeb]; original locality label: MADG’R: P.N. Ranomafana, Sahamaloatra, 6.6 km 310° NW Ranomafana, 31 Mar. 2003, 21º14.2’S, 47º23.8’E, 1150 m, Fisher et al., BLF# (Brian L. Fisher); deposited at California Academy of Sciences. Paratypes 4 workers, pinned, #1 and #2 same collection and locality data as holotype. #1: CASENT0317785, deposited at South African Museum. #2: CASENT0317786, deposited at Musee d'Histoire Naturelle Genève. #3 and #4: BLF08628, ex dead twig above ground, remaining data same as holotype. #3: CASENT0317787, deposited at Museum of Comparative Zoology. #4: CASENT0317788, deposited at University of California, Davis.

MADAGASCAR: Fianarantsoa: P.N. Ranomafana, Sahamaloatra River: -21.23667, 47.39667, 1150 m, montane rainforest.

Etymology

The Malagasy word alafara means “last forest”, alluding to the restricted distribution of this species as a reminder of forest conservation concerns in Madagascar. This name is treated as a noun in apposition.

References

  • Blaimer, B.B. & Fisher, B.L. 2013. Taxonomy of the Crematogaster degeeri-species-assemblage in the Malagasy region (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). European Journal of Taxonomy 51: 1-64 (DOI 10.5852/ejt.2013.51).