Dorymyrmex elegans is a crepuscular-nocturnal species which also emerges on cool or overcast days. It nests in xeric woodlands and later post-fire successional stages of scrub vegetation. Nests are often located near clumps of the scrub hickory, Carya floridana Sargent. The nest entrance is usually surrounded by a small crater of subsoil of strikingly yellower color than the whitish sand of the surface. Workers have a peculiar slow, jerky gait, quite unexpected considering the length of their legs, but they run in unbroken dashes when threatened. This species has low tolerance for disturbance of its habitat, though it sometimes nests in footpaths. Males were aspirated from the nest entrance in early October, but flight habits are unknown (Trager, 1988).
Worker clear yellow, slender, elongate, with proportionally small, narrow head and long, slender appendages; trunk narrow flattened, mesonotum flat or weakly concave in profile (Trager, 1988).
It seems unlikely at first glance that this species is closely related to any sympatric forms, and the only species similar to it in proportions and thoracic profile known to me is Dorymyrmex goeldii (Forel), a Brazilian species. Based on biogeographic and other considerations, the two species are probably independent derivations of the slender, elongate form. Occasional flattened, elongate, and lightly infuscated and sculptured series of Dorymyrmex bureni can be difficult to distinguish from D. elegans until one examines the scapes, and it may be significant that such samples of D. bureni are often found near the range inhabited by D. elegans. Comparative studies of allozyme, nucleic acid, or secondary products chemistry, or cytotaxonomy of Florida Dorymyrmex could be interesting and illuminating (Trager, 1988).
This species is endemic to the scrubland of south-central Florida, exemplifying (in perhaps its most restricted form in animals) a distributional pattern well known in plants, but also seen in reptiles, and even in some other insects (Trager, 1988; Deyrup & Trager 1986). Though the known range is of D. elegans is restricted to a few square miles, it is abundant within this area. Since much of the area will be preserved indefinitely in its pristine state at Archbold Biological Station, the species does not seem to be in danger of extinction, though virtually the entire surrounding area is being converted to citrus groves, cattle pastures, or housing projects (Trager, 1988).
Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists
Distribution based on AntMaps
Distribution based on AntWeb specimens
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The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.
- elegans. Conomyrma elegans Trager, 1988: 21, figs. 3, 10 (w.q.) U.S.A. Combination in Dorymyrmex: Shattuck, 1992c: 85. See also: Johnson, C. 1989b: 191.
- Holotype, worker, Archbold Biological Station, Highlands Co., Florida, United States, Florida State Collection of Arthropods; Nest in opening in scrub on Red Hill.
- Paratype, 119 workers, Archbold Biological Station, Highlands Co., Florida, United States, American Museum of Natural History, Florida State Collection of Arthropods , Museum of Comparative Zoology; Nest in opening in scrub on Red Hill.
WORKER. Measurements and indices: HL 0.79-0.95 (0.88), HW 0.61-0.80 (0.70), SL 1.10-1.30 (1.20), EL 0.19-0.23 (0.21), FL 0.95-1.17 (1.05), WL 1.23-1.50 (1.36), HTL 2.02-2.45 (2.24), CI 77.2-84.2 (79.5), SI 162.5-180.3 (171.4), OI 22.7-25.3 (23.9), FI 115.8-123.5 (119.3), TI 131.0-158.0 (154.5). N =22.
Head broadest across upper 1/3 to 1/2 of eyes, straight-sided to weakly convex-sided both above and below eyes but a little more strongly convergent toward occiput; posterior dorsum of pronotum weakly convex and at low angle to mesonotal dorsum, or flatter and forming nearly flat plane with latter in profile; propodeum, except for cone, always low and at most weakly sloped upward from metanotal impression; gaster relatively small and compressed; head and trunk flattened and compressed relative to other species, and scapes and legs very long and slender, yielding a generally elongate, delicate appearance.
Sculpture as in C. bureni but pubescence shorter and more widely spaced; thus a little shinier than most C. bureni. Color without exception in several hundred live or pinned workers studied, clear yellow with last two gastric tergites weakly infuscated; head never infuscated.
D. elegans (Latin for exquisite or graceful) was the name originally selected for this by Buren (personal communication), referring to the elegant appearance of this gracile, yellow ant, especially when alive.
- Johnson, C. 1989b. Taxonomy and diagnosis of Conomyrma insana (Buckley) and C. flava (McCook) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Insecta Mundi 3: 179-194 (page 191, see also)
- Shattuck, S. O. 1992c. Generic revision of the ant subfamily Dolichoderinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 21: 1-181 (page 85, Combination in Dorymyrmex)
- Trager, J. C. 1988a. A revision of Conomyrma (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from the southeastern United States, especially Florida, with keys to the species. Fla. Entomol. 71: 11-29 (page 21, figs. 3, 10 worker, queen described)