Epopostruma alata

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Epopostruma alata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Epopostruma
Species: E. alata
Binomial name
Epopostruma alata
Shattuck, 2000

Epopostruma alata holotype ANIC32-015340 side 50-AntWiki.jpg

Epopostruma alata holotype ANIC32-015340 top 50-AntWiki.jpg

Specimen labels

This species has been found in habitats including dry sclerophyll, dry flat sclerophyll on black soil, swampy dry sclerophyll without grass and dry sclerophyll and paperbark. Collection sites or situations include in soil, pitfall trap, in dry bank of earth, under rock, under log, in hard soil at base of Eucalyptus, nest in compact soil at base of Eucalyptus, in soil under Eucalyptus globulus, in hard laterite clay soil, tiny hole in lump of soil, and in clod of damp soil at base of gum tree very close to orange-brown Pheidole nest.

Identification

Posterior section of metanotum forming a distinct angle with the dorsal face of propodeum so that the junction of these plates forms an obtuse angle. Sides of postpetiole expanded laterally in the form of thin, solid wings. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with numerous erect hairs.

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Australasian Region: Australia (type locality).

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

While Epopostruma can be fairly common they are often overlooked. Workers are slow-moving and most lie motionless when disturbed. Their nests are small, with up to about 100 workers, and are found in open soil or in soil under rocks, logs or small sticks. They also nest in cracks in large rocks. When nesting in open soil they are often found near the bases of trees. Tree-trunks are clearly an important substrate for foraging workers.

Almost all species forage at night although one species is known to occasionally forage on mallee stems during the day. They are also regularly found in leaf litter. Workers have been attracted to honey baits on trees in the late evening and at night. Their elongate and specialised mandibles form a type of snap-trap which is used to captured soft-bodied prey such as Collembola.

Castes

Nomenclature

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

  • alata. Epopostruma alata Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 56 (w.) AUSTRALIA. [Note that alata Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1973, above, is a subsequent misspelling of alinodis Forel, 1913g: 179 (now in Colobostruma) and therefore does not enter into homonymy.]

Type Material

Holotype Specimen Labels

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

Description

In full face view the lateral margin of the head between the eye and the posterior corner with an indistinct angle. Pronotal spines present, short. Posterior section of metanotum forming a distinct angle with the dorsal face of propodeum so that the junction of these plates forms an obtuse angle. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with thick flanges. Petiolar spines short, sometimes reduced to blunt, angular projections. Anterior face of postpetiole continuous with dorsal face and inseparable from it; sides of postpetiole expanded laterally in the form of thin, solid wings, their lateral margins flat to weakly convex; posterolateral margin of postpetiole (immediately anterior of gaster) varying from flat medially with a weak convexity laterally to weakly concave. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with numerous erect hairs. First gastral tergite smooth (including area immediately behind attachment with gaster). Body colour yellow-red; dorsal surface of head uniform yellow-red; gaster slightly lighter in colour than body and generally with a weakly infuscated band across centre of first tergite.

Measurements Holotype worker. TL 3.3mm, HL 0.74mm, HW 0.71mm, CI 96, MandL 0.36mm, MandI 49, SL 0.43mm, SI 61, PronW 0.49mm, ML 0.84mm.

References

  • Shattuck, S. O. 2000. Genus Colobostruma. Genus Mesostruma. Genus Epopostruma. Pp. 31-67 in: Bolton, B. The ant tribe Dacetini. Mem. Am. Entomol. Inst. 65: 1-1028 (page 56, worker described)