Crematogaster mimosae

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Crematogaster mimosae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Crematogaster
Species: C. mimosae
Binomial name
Crematogaster mimosae
Santschi, 1914

Crematogaster mimosae casent0904507 p 1 high.jpg

Crematogaster mimosae casent0904507 d 1 high.jpg

Specimen Labels

Subspecies

One of four ant species (also Crematogaster gerstaeckeri sjostedti, 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 (type locality), Saudi Arabia.
Palaearctic Region: Oman.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

C. mimosae depends on the domatia provided by the plant for brood rearing and are never found free living separately from the acacias. Ants patrol all parts of the tree above the ground and directly prey on invertebrates and repel browsing herbivores. Workers tend phloem-feeding scale insects, presumably imposing a cost on host plants that partly offsets the protection given against mammalian herbivores. Trees occupied by C. mimosae had significantly less browsing by giraffes and black rhino than trees occupied by other ant species (Martins 2010).

Swollen thorns of Acacia drepanolobium inhabited by Crematogaster. From Kitengela, Kenya. Photo by Christian Peeters.
Swollen thorns of Vachellia (Acacia) drepanolobium
C. mimosae workers and brood inside a domatia (swollen thorn), showing also carton partitions. Photo by Christian Peeters

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • mimosae. Crematogaster mimosae Santschi, 1914b: 87, fig. 11 (w.) KENYA. Menozzi, 1939c: 105 (q.). Combination in C. (Crematogaster): Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 841; in C. (Acrocoelia): Emery, 1922e: 148; in C. (Crematogaster): Bolton, 1995b: 166. Current subspecies: nominal plus tenuipilis.

Description

References

  • Emery, C. 1922c. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Myrmicinae. [part]. Genera Insectorum 174B: 95-206 (page 148, Combination in C. (Acrocoelia))
  • Martins DJ. 2010 Not all ants are equal: obligate acacia ants provide different levels of protection against mega-herbivores. Afr. J. Ecol. 48, 1115 – 1122. PDF
  • Menozzi, C. 1939c. Hymenoptera Formicidae. Missione Biol. Paese Borana 3: 97-110 (page 105, queen described)
  • Santschi, F. 1914b. Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale, 1911-1912. Résultats scientifiques. Insectes Hyménoptères. II. Formicidae. Paris: Libr. A. Schulz, pp. 41-148. (page 87, fig. 11 worker described)
  • 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
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922j. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VIII. A synonymic list of the ants of the Ethiopian region. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 711-1004 (page 841, Combination in C. (Crematogaster))