Cryptopone

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Cryptopone
Cryptopone testacea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Ponerinae
Tribe: Ponerini
Alliance: Ponera genus group
Genus: Cryptopone
Emery, 1893
Type species
Cryptopone testacea
Diversity
25 species
(Species Checklist)

Cryptopone testacea castype06939-01 profile 1.jpg

Cryptopone testacea castype06939-01 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen labels

Synonyms

Cryptopone is a moderately large genus (25 described species and subspecies) with a cosmopolitan distribution, though the species diversity is centered in Asia. Cryptopone workers are well-adapted to a hypogeic lifestyle, with small body size, reduced or absent eyes, flattened scapes, and traction setae on the mesotibiae.

Identification

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Cryptopone workers lack any obvious autapomorphic characters, but can be identified by the following characters (in combination): mandibles usually with a basal pit or fovea (absent in members of the former genus Wadeura, here newly synonymized with Cryptopone), frontal lobes small and closely approximated, scapes flattened, eyes vestigial to absent, propodeum with a distinct dorsal face which widens posteriorly, metabasitarsus with simple setae but lacking spiniform or peg-like traction setae, and mesotibiae with stout traction setae (sometimes small and reduced to a few, but always present). Workers of Cryptopone most closely resemble those of Pseudoponera (a close relative of Cryptopone), but differ most consistently in the presence of mesotibial traction setae. Similar traction setae occur in Centromyrmex, Feroponera, Promyopias, and Buniapone, but these genera all lack at least some portion of the Diagnosis given above. Several other ponerine genera have basal mandibular pits, including Brachyponera, Euponera, and Hagensia, but these genera all lack mesotibial traction setae and have larger eyes, among many other differences.

Keys including this Genus

Keys to Species in this Genus

Distribution

Cryptopone has a virtually cosmopolitan distribution, occurring in every major biogeographic region, though the species diversity is centered in East and Southeast Asia (Brown, 1963; Bolton et al., 2006).

World distribution based on political regions. View/Edit Data
Cryptopone Distribution.png Worlddistribution legend.jpg

Species richness

Species richness by country based on regional taxon lists (countries with darker colours are more species-rich). View Data

Cryptopone Species Richness.png

Biology

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014) - Very little is known about the habits of Cryptopone, but based on morphology and anecdotal observations they are clearly hypogeic (e.g., Wheeler & Gaige, 1920). Cryptopone workers exhibit many classic characters of hypogeic ants, including small size, depigmentation, flattened scapes, vestigial eyes, and traction setae on the mesotibiae (e.g., Wheeler, 1933a). Reported field observations and collection data indicate that Cryptopone species nest in a diversity of microhabitats including rotting wood, polypore fungi, under grass, in leaf litter, in soil, or even inside termitaria (Creighton & Tulloch, 1930; Forel, cited by Wheeler, 1933a; Smith, 1934; Weber, 1939; Wilson, 1958c; Terayama, 1999; Radchenko, 2005; Longino, 2013). Workers have been observed foraging in soil, leaf litter, and under moss or rocks (Wheeler & Gaige, 1920; Wilson, 1958c; Radchenko, 2005; Longino, 2013). Haskins (1931) observed workers of Cryptopone gilva in laboratory conditions foraging in exposed conditions for brief periods, suggesting that they are not strictly hypogeic. Wilson (1958c) reported that workers of Cryptopone butteli are timid and slow moving, and Wheeler & Gaige (1920) noted similar behavior in workers of C. gilva and observed that they feign death; Smith (1934) also noted sluggish behavior in C. gilva. Cryptopone are most likely generalist predators, though observations of Cryptopone food preferences are scant. Imai et al. (2003) reported that Cryptopone sauteri is a predator of beetle and fly larvae.

Almost nothing is known about the social organization of Cryptopone, but colonies are typically small (C. butteli: Wilson, 1958c; Cryptopone guianensis: Weber, 1939). Creighton & Tulloch (1930) observed a single colony of C. gilva with five dealate queens and stated that its colonies are small, and Smith (1934) similarly observed polygynous colonies of C. gilva but noted that its colonies could have as many as several hundred workers. Haskins (1931) also reported frequent polygyny in C. gilva. Nest emigrations are facilitated by social carrying in C. gilva (Haskins, 1931). Haskins (1931) gives many additional details of the habits of C. gilva, including the results of interesting experiments on its visual and auditory acuity.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • CRYPTOPONE [Ponerinae: Ponerini]
    • Cryptopone Emery, 1893a: cclxxv. Type-species: Cryptopone testacea, by monotypy.
    • [Cryptopone also described as new by Emery, 1893f: 240. Type-species not Amblyopone testacea, unjustified subsequent designation by Wheeler, W.M. 1911f: 161, repeated in Emery, 1911d: 88, Wheeler, W.M. 1922a: 780, Donisthorpe, 1943f: 636, Kempf, 1972a: 90 and Taylor & Brown, D.R. 1985: 28; see discussion in Wilson, 1958d: 360.]
    • Cryptopone junior synonym of Pachycondyla: Mackay & Mackay, 2010: 3.
    • Cryptopone revived from synonymy: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 182.
    • Cryptopone senior synonym of Wadeura: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 182.
  • WADEURA [junior synonym of Cryptopone]
    • Wadeura Weber, 1939a: 102. Type-species: Wadeura guianensis, by original designation.
    • Wadeura junior synonym of Pachycondyla: Snelling, R.R. 1981: 389; Hölldobler & Wilson, 1990: 11; Brown, in Bolton, 1994: 164.
    • Wadeura junior synonym of Cryptopone: Schmidt & Shattuck, 2014: 182.

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

Description

Schmidt and Shattuck (2014):

Worker

Very small to medium sized (TL 1.7–6.1 mm) ants with the standard characters of Ponerini. Mandibles triangular to subfalcate, usually with a small basal pit (absent in Wadeura) and without a basal groove. Anterior margin of clypeus broadly convex. Frontal lobes small and closely approximated. Scapes flattened. Apical segments of antennal funiculus often distinctly clubbed. Eyes greatly reduced or absent (in Wadeura). Metanotal groove reduced to a suture. Propodeum with a distinct dorsal face which widens posteriorly. Propodeal spiracles round to ovoid. Mesotibiae armed with stout traction setae. Metatibial spur formula (1p) or (1p, 1s). Petiole surmounted by a thick scale, its posterior face convex in dorsal view. Helcium sometimes projecting from near midheight of the anterior face of A3. Gaster with a moderate girdling constriction between pre- and postsclerites of A4. Head and body finely punctate, with some smooth and shining areas on the sides of the mesosoma, and with scattered to abundant short pilosity and dense pubescence. Color usually testaceous to orange, rarely black.

Queen

Similar to worker but slightly larger, alate, with ocelli and larger eyes, and with the other thoracic modifications typical of alate ponerine queens (Brown, 1963). See additional details in Ogata (1987).

Male

See descriptions by Brown (1963) and Ogata (1987).

Larva

Described for various species by Wheeler & Wheeler (1952, 1971a, 1986b).

References

  • Ashmead, W. H. 1905c. A skeleton of a new arrangement of the families, subfamilies, tribes and genera of the ants, or the superfamily Formicoidea. Can. Entomol. 37: 381-384 (page 382, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Bolton, B. 2003. Synopsis and Classification of Formicidae. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 71: 370pp (page 161, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1963a. Characters and synonymies among the genera of ants. Part III. Some members of the tribe Ponerini (Ponerinae, Formicidae). Breviora 190: 1-10 (page 6, notes)
  • Emery, C. 1893a [1892]. [Untitled. Introduced by: "M. C. Emery, de Bologne, envoie les diagnoses de cinq nouveaux genres de Formicides".]. Bull. Bimens. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 1892:cclxxv-cclxxvii. (page cclxxv, Cryptopone as genus)
  • Emery, C. 1893h. Voyage de M. E. Simon à l'île de Ceylan (janvier-février 1892). Formicides. Ann. Soc. Entomol. Fr. 62: 239-258 (page 240, Cryptopone described as new. Type species not Amblyopone testacea, unjustified subsequent designation by Wheeler, W.M. 1911:161, repeated in Emery, 1911:88])
  • Emery, C. 1895l. Die Gattung Dorylus Fab. und die systematische Eintheilung der Formiciden. Zool. Jahrb. Abt. Syst. Geogr. Biol. Tiere 8: 685-778 (page 767, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Emery, C. 1911e. Hymenoptera. Fam. Formicidae. Subfam. Ponerinae. Genera Insectorum 118: 1-125 (page 88, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini [subtribe Ponerini])
  • Forel, A. 1917. Cadre synoptique actuel de la faune universelle des fourmis. Bull. Soc. Vaudoise Sci. Nat. 51: 229-253 (page 238, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Schmidt, C.A. & Shattuck, S.O. 2014. The higher classification of the ant subfamily Ponerinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), with a review of ponerine ecology and behavior. Zootaxa. 3817, 1–242 (doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3817.1.1)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1910b. Ants: their structure, development and behavior. New York: Columbia University Press, xxv + 663 pp. (page 135, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Wheeler, W. M. 1922i. Ants of the American Museum Congo expedition. A contribution to the myrmecology of Africa. VII. Keys to the genera and subgenera of ants. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 45: 631-710 (page 650, Cryptopone in Ponerinae, Ponerini)
  • Wilson, E. O. 1958g. Studies on the ant fauna of Melanesia III. Rhytidoponera in western Melanesia and the Moluccas. IV. The tribe Ponerini. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 119: 303-371 (page 357, 360, Key to Melanesian species; Type-species not Amblyopone testacea)