Epopostruma avicula

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

Epopostruma avicula holotype ANIC32-015342 side 50-AntWiki.jpg

Epopostruma avicula holotype ANIC32-015342 top 50-AntWiki.jpg

Specimen labels

This species is known from a limited number of wet forested sites in south-east Australia.

Identification

The distinctly bicoloured gaster combined with the solid wing-like extensions on the postpetiole will allow separation of this species from close relatives.

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.

  • avicula. Epopostruma avicula Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 57, figs. 59, 71, 86 (w.) AUSTRALIA.

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, distinct. Posterior section of metanotum in approximately the same plane as the dorsal face of propodeum, the junction of these plates a shallow depression, the dorsal face of the propodeum convex. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with flanges. Petiolar spines varying from indistinct and essentially absent to short, indistinct angles. Anterior face of postpetiole shorter than the dorsal face and separated from it by a broadly rounded convexity; sides of postpetiole expanded laterally in the form of thin, solid wings, their outer margins flat or weakly convex; posterolateral margin of postpetiole (immediately anterior of gaster) flat to weakly convex. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster with numerous elongate erect hairs, the majority of which are bend near their tips. First gastral tergite smooth; gaster immediately behind attachment with gaster with a very narrow band of short longitudinal rugae. Body colour yellow-red to brown with yellow-red mandibles and legs; dorsal surface of head slightly darker than body when body yellow-red, similar in colour to body when body brown, sometimes with a small infuscated spot in central region; gaster with anterior one-quarter to one-third yellow, contrasting with the dark red-brown posterior section.

Measurements

Holotype worker. TL 3.8mm, HL 0.82mm, HW 0.83mm, CI 101, MandL 0.42mm, MandI 51, SL 0.49mm, SI 59, PronW 0.52mm, ML 0.99mm.

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 57, worker described)