Crematogaster gerstaeckeri sjostedti

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Crematogaster gerstaeckeri sjostedti
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Crematogaster
Species: C. gerstaeckeri
Subspecies: C. gerstaeckeri sjostedti
Trinomial name
Crematogaster gerstaeckeri sjostedti
Mayr, 1907

One of four ant species (also Crematogaster mimosae, Crematogaster nigriceps, Tetraponera penzigi) that live on Acacia drepanolobium. This small arboreal ant assemblage, nesting in this dominant Africa savanna tree, have been the subject of intensive research by a large group of ecologists studying species interactions and species co-existence.

Identification

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Afrotropical Region: Kenya, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Inhabits swollen thorns of Acacia drepanolobium, a dominant tree in large expanses of African savanna and acacia woodland. This species and three other ants (Crematogaster mimosae, Crematogaster nigriceps, Tetraponera penzigi) that compete for the hollow thorn nesting sites have been the subject of some of the most intensive ecological research examining interactions between ants, acacias, and other elements, e.g., herbivory and fire, in places where this plant is abundant. Many of these studies have been carried out in Kenya's Mpala Research Centre and surrounding areas, all of which are part of the expansive Laikipia Plateau.

Crematogaster gerstaeckeri sjostedti is the dominant ant in the largest, oldest trees (>5 m in height). The ants are mutualists with the acacia trees. The trees provide nesting resources (domatia) and can produce extralfloral nectaries. The ants, in turn, protect the tree from herbivory. Rather than using the extrafloral nectaries as a food resource, as some of the other ants that are part of this arboreal community do, C. sjostedti appears to tend scale insects.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • sjostedti. Crematogaster sjostedti Mayr, 1907b: 17 (w.) TANZANIA. Combination in C. (Crematogaster): Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 844; in C. (Acrocoelia): Emery, 1922e: 148. Subspecies of gallicola: Forel, 1913a: 124 (in text). Revived status as species: Santschi, 1919b: 236; Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 844; Santschi, 1928d: 65. Currently subspecies of gerstaeckeri: Santschi, 1930b: 69; Santschi, 1937a: 55.

Description

References

  • Sensenig, R. L., D. K. Kimuyu, J. C. Ruiz Guajardo, K. E. Veblen, C. Riginos, and T. P. Young. 2017. Fire disturbance disrupts an acacia ant–plant mutualism in favor of a subordinate ant species. Ecology. 98:1455-1464. doi:10.1002/ecy.1797