Echinopla cherapunjiensis

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Echinopla cherapunjiensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Echinopla
Species group: melanarctos
Species: E. cherapunjiensis
Binomial name
Echinopla cherapunjiensis
Bharti & Gul, 2012

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Holotype Specimen Label

Echinopla cherapunjiensis (holotype) was collected from the high altitude range of North-East Himalaya. The species inhabits the areas with wet atmospheric conditions and high annual rainfall. It is not obvious whether the species is arboreal or nests in the soil but the specimen was collected from a branch of a broad leaved tree.

Identification

Zettel and Laciny (2015), Philippines - This species can be characterized by tuberculate sculpture of head and mesosoma, whereas the gaster tergite 1 is polyporous, by black trunk with yellowish legs, scape, and mouthparts, and by white pilosity. It shares the position of eyes with Echinopla tritschleri but can be easily distinguished from this species by relatively low pedestals on head and mesosoma, the polyporous sculpture of tergite 1, the almost vertically positioned frontal lobes, and a longer and lower, polyporous petiolar node. Bharti and Gul (2012) stated that the mesometanotal suture is obsolete in the holotype of E. cherapunjiensis. However, a re-examination of the type by Professor Himender Bharti revealed the presence of a narrow suture covered by the dense hair (Bharti, in litteris), as in our specimens from Laos and Malaysia, and as in E. tritschleri.

Bharti and Gul (2012), India - Echinopla cherapunjiensis is significantly different from all known species of this genus. The species is well distinguished by the distinct sculpture (sinuate sculpture, spikes, excavations) of body, shape of mesosoma (flat dorsum, sutures obsolete), sculpture, shape and number of teeth on petiole (surface excavated, scale transverse, 7 teeth). The shape of mesosoma is a trait somewhat unique to this species. It is remarkably different from Echinopla senilis the only species reported from India and can be easily separated from it, as in E. senilis the body is striped and the pro-mesonotal and meso-metanotal sutures are distinct, which is not the case with Echinopla cherapunjiensis. The species shows some resemblance with Echinopla melanarctos but can be reasonably differentiated, as in E. melanarctos, the short spiky blunt elevations are distinctly present on head, mesosoma and gaster, the mesosomal dorsum is strongly convex in profile, the head is flat on posterior margin, while in Echinopla cherapunjiensis, the gaster is only excavated without distinct elevations, the mesosomal dorsum is flat, posterior margin of head is convex. Additionally, the setae in E. melanarctos are very dense, thick and much longer than Echinopla cherapunjiensis.

However, the species comes most close to Echinopla pallipes but can be easily separated, as in E. pallipes, in profile, the dorsum of mesosoma makes a strongly convex arch (dome shaped), petiolar scale is smooth without any sculpture, only two short horizontal spines are present on petiole but in Echinopla cherapunjiensis, mesosomal dorsum is flat in profile, the surface of petiolar scale is rough by the presence of excavations and spiky elevations and petiole is with seven distinct teeth.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Zettel & Laciny (2015) - Bharti and Gul (2012) described E. cherapunjiensis based on a single worker from Meghalaya, northeastern India. Liu et al. (2015) published a new record from Yunnan, China. Antweb (2015) illustrated the holotype and an “Echinopla cn01” specimen from Guanxi, China, that apparently belongs to this species. Our first records from Laos and West Malaysia are a considerable extension of the known distribution of E. cherapunjiensis.

Zettel & Laciny (2017) - Echinopla cherapunjiensis was first described from India (Bharti & Gul 2012), and later reported from southern China (Liu & al. 2015, Xu & Zhou 2015), Laos and West Malaysia (Zettel & Laciny 2015). First record from Myanmar!

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Indo-Australian Region: Malaysia.
Oriental Region: India (type locality), Laos, Myanmar.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Distribution and habitat. This species is rare in Himalaya and was found only once in a single locality of Meghalaya during the intensive surveys. The species was found under the cover of a rain forest nesting inside a hollow twig and was collected by hand picking.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • cherapunjiensis. Echinopla cherapunjiensis Bharti & Gul, 2012: e-53, figs. 1-3 (w.) INDIA.

Type Material

Description

Worker

Holotype. TL 6.6; HL 1.70; HW 1.90; WL 2.16; PW 0.75; PL 0.60; SL 1.49; GL 2.14 mm. Indices: CI 89.47; SI 78.42; PI 125.

Head. Head more or less globose in full face view, broadest just behind eyes; lateral sides convex; posterior margin of head feebly convex; eyes very prominent, with approximately 21 facets in its greatest diameter, positioned behind the midline, towards lateral sides of the head; clypeus weakly convex, with its anterior border more or less straight; frontal lobes much raised over the antennal sockets; mandibles short, stout armed with five prominent teeth; antennal scape slender, short, extending up to the posterior bor- der of head, funiculus with first joint a little longer than the following six, which are of about equal length, last joint about as long as the two preceding taken together.

Mesosoma and petiole. In profile, mesosomal dorsum more or less flat; in dorsal view, the sides of the mesosoma narrowed to the base of the propodeum; promesonotal and mesometanotal suture obsolete; scale of petiole transverse, armed with seven teeth, which are almost equidistant, except for the dorsal two teeth, where the distance is max- imum between the two; propodeal declivity more or less straight; gaster subglobose, broad in dorsal view; the acidopore at the apex of gaster, covered by long bristles. Sculpture. Head, mesosoma, petiole coarsely sinuous and excavated; gaster only exca- vated; whole head and mesosoma and basal part of the gaster interspersed with spiky blunt elevations placed in great regularity over the entire upper surface making the surface rough, each elevation having a long setae at its apex, the elevations longer on the mesosoma and relatively short on head, petiole and gaster; mandibles, legs and scape smooth.

Pilosity. Head, mesosoma, gaster, petiole and legs covered with hairs, more abundant and curved on head and mesosoma, sparse on gaster and legs, straight and plentiful on petiole; pubescence more dense on antennal funiculus, sparse on legs; entire surface of the body, including legs and scape, covered with more uniformly placed long setae. Color. Mandibles, antennae, eyes and legs light brown to dark brown; head, mesosoma, petiole and gaster black; mandibles, antennal scapes, legs and ventral part of gaster shiny.

Type Material

Holotype worker. India, Meghalaya, Cherapunji, 25.2988° N 91.7086° E, 1200 m a. s. l. 02. i. v. 2009 (coll. Irfan Gul). Holotype deposited in Punjabi University Patiala Ant Collection (PUPAC), Patiala, India.

Etymology

The species is named after the type locality, Cherapunji.

References