Epopostruma frosti

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Epopostruma frosti
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Attini
Genus: Epopostruma
Species: E. frosti
Binomial name
Epopostruma frosti
(Brown, 1948)

Epopostruma frosti ANIC32-003763 side 25-AntWiki.jpg

Epopostruma frosti ANIC32-003763 top 25-AntWiki.jpg

Specimen labels

This species has been collected in mallee, dry sclerophyll, dry sclerophyll on a ridge with much low heath scrub and tall gums on a hillside. Specific collection sites or situations include sugar baits late in the evening and at night, honey bait on tree trunks on a cold, moonless night, diurnal and nocturnal foragers, under logs, under a mossy limestone rock with the nest in carton material, and nests in soil and leaf litter. It is known to occur in southern South Australia and Western Australia.

Identification

This species is immediately recognisable by the sharp angles or small teeth immediately above the eyes.

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.

  • frosti. Hexadaceton frosti Brown, 1948e: 120, fig. 2 (w.) AUSTRALIA. Wheeler, G.C. & Wheeler, J. 1973c: 211 (l.). Combination in Epopostruma: Taylor, 1973: 26. See also: Shattuck, in Bolton, 2000: 60.

Type Material

  • Hexadaceton frosti Brown, 1948: Holotype, worker (No. 27838), Gomersal (as Neu Mecklenburg), South Australia, Australia, Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Description

Area immediately above the eye forming a sharp angle or small tooth. Pronotal spines present, elongate. Posterior section of metanotum and dorsal surface of the propodeum forming a continuous surface. Posterior face of propodeum between bases of spines and propodeal lobes with thin flanges. Petiolar spines present, elongate. Anterior face of postpetiole indistinguishable from the dorsal surface; sides of postpetiole expanded laterally in the form of distinct sharp teeth or spines; in dorsal view the anterior and posterior teeth approximately the same length; posterolateral margin of postpetiole (immediately anterior of gaster) flat to weakly concave. Dorsum of petiole, postpetiole and gaster short erect hairs. First gastral tergite smooth. Body colour yellow-red, head. legs and sometimes gaster slightly lighter than mesosoma, petiole and postpetiole.

(n=7): TL 4.7-5.6mm, HL 1.14-1.29mm, HW 1.21-1.43mm, CI 103-111, MandL 0.57-0.67mm, MandI 47-52, SL 0.66-0.74mm, SI 52-56, PronW 0.64-0.81mm, ML 1.14-1.36mm.

Type Material

Brown (1954) - Through the courtesy of Mr. F. E. Wilson and Mr. N. Tindale I have been able to locate more precisely the spot at which the type was taken. This "N. Mecklenburg" was a German colony before the first war, and the name has now been changed to Putpayerta; the locality is in the surveyor's Hundred of Nuriootpa, on the North Para River, South Australia, and is agricultural country at present. Originally, it is presumed to have been covered with low rainfall vegetational types, such as mallee scrub and savannah woodland. The original collector was J. O. Tepper.

References